Friday, December 31, 2010

Overheard #126

"I start to worry that it is sustained by wishes and fairy dust rather than plain old logic."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Thrill is Gone

Revisions are stalled, every word seems trite, and the entire premise seems mediocre. Is it time to give up? Not yet. This is what I’ve been doing to get back in the groove.

Step away from the computer. Every relationship needs a break sometimes.

Have fun with the manuscript. Yesterday I had a writing day with some friends and fellow writers. TimInMich brought a brilliant exercise that involved describing our protagonists from other characters’ points of view. Yes, I’m sick of my main character, but focusing on some of the secondary characters is lifting me out of this rut.

Take a different approach. One member of my writing group is outlining her novel with poetry. Hmm, I wonder if I could come up with a synopsis in Haiku.

Do the creative thing. One of my writing friends gets her best ideas during bubble baths. Another claims that housecleaning inspires her. (Honest) I prefer long walks.

What do you do to makeup with your manuscript?

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Last winter my Sunday nature series was frosted over. Remember picture after picture of ice formations? So far this year, my hunting expeditions have not yielded great photo ops, but while I tromp through the snow, I’ve been thinking about the weather conditions that make the best ice photographs.

1. Moving water – like a river or a fountain. No splashing – no stalactites.
2. Temperatures just below freezing. This year we had a hard freeze right after the first snow, and the Red Cedar River crusted over.
3. Sunshine. Yeah, it’s all about light. Unfortunately in this part of the world, when the temperatures warm up to freezing, the sky is often overcast.*
4. Lower water level. As the water freezes, the river level goes down, leaving ice formations high and dry.

I’ll keep searching.

*To be honest, that sentence should read: Unfortunately in this part of the world, the sky is often overcast.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joy and Peace

I am thankful for every person who stops by this little corner of the web to read my musings and see my photographs.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Overheard #125

"I wish I could play in your brain for a while."

Sunday, December 19, 2010


a partridge in a pear tree

afternoon sun slanting through ice

misty crabapples in the background

Friday, December 17, 2010

Overheard #124

"Able was I ere I ate the ebelskivers."

In case you’re hungry for ebelskivers, here are some links for general info, recipes, a cookbook, and an ebleskiver pan plus a video on how to make them.

For purists: Æbleskiver is the Danish spelling, ebelskiver is the plural form and ebelskive is singular. But hey, let’s relax about that.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Do You Stop Reading a Book?

Almost every novel I start to read then reject* has the same flaw.

The protagonist doesn’t care about anything or anyone.

The novel may have a killer voice, and a beautifully twisted plot, but if the main character is devoid of passion, I don’t care about the book. Some people argue that the teenage experience is Brownian motion. (Actually, since they were English majors, they used a different term.) I’ve never met a teenager who cared about nothing. It may be buried too deep to see at first, but I have to believe it’s there. Even characters at the pit of depression need a flicker of hope to lead them out. If a protagonist is indifferent to everything, why write a book about him? After all, passion is the bottom line.

Why do you give up on a book?

*The exception to the rule is any book that has a vampire in it. Uh, uh. No way. I won’t read it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Contest Alert

Check out a cool contest on Debbie Diesen’s blog. It promotes Michigan authors and reading good books. Plus it has a PRIZE.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The temperature was hovering around freezing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Overheard #123

"This week’s assignment requires no ideas whatsoever."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Three Wise Guys

Check out Darcy Pattison’s post today. Her analysis of We Three Kings as a model for telling an effective story is positively brilliant.

Perhaps unfortunately, it got me thinking ...

The well-worn parody of We Three Kings can be viewed as a model for writing humor. So, with apologies in advance for taking the sublime and turning it ridiculous, here I go.

We three kings of Orient are
The setup gives a frame of reference. The audience may not yet realize a joke is about to be told.

Trying to smoke a rubber cigar.
By now it's clear a joke is in progress. Rubber cigars are funny. The rhyme is unexpected and humorous. People often laugh at impropriety.

It was loaded.
The build up.

It exploded.
The payoff.

We three kings of Orient were.
This line is a callback to the setup. The song’s minor key makes it particularly effective.

And that’s it. The joke doesn’t drag on. In comedy, timing is everything.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shave and a Haircut?

This bear decorates the local barbershop.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


miniature garland: snowflakes caught on a spider web.

When I took this picture, I didn’t think it would work. The web was whipping in the wind, so focusing was problematic. Specialized equipment (including a microscope objective) is required to take great photographs of snowflakes. Last week The Guardian ran a short article on snowflake facts.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bridge May Be Icy

This mystery photo contest was so much fun. I loved every answer. Three cheers for all the guesses involving frost. Those little white furry things are hoarfrost growing between the planks of a wooden bridge.

Thanks for participating.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Overheard #122

"You can’t do anything with a metaphor unless it’s properly mixed."