Friday, November 29, 2013

Overheard #267

"It's dark enough to be scared. I tried it."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Okay, so I recycled last year's picture.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Few More from a Cold-Fingered Photographer

Sometimes the ice shines blue, when the sun is at the right angle.

Friday, November 22, 2013

On Blogging

Today while visiting Sarah Aronson's blog, Beyond Revision, I found this quote:

"As you teach, you learn. As you learn, you write. As you blog, you get to goof around."

Have a great weekend. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013


the first snow

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Adding Details

Nothing beats firsthand experience for writing authentic sensory details. I know of two authors who walked barefoot in the snow, one who slurped raw turtle eggs, and another learned how to fire a flintlock rifle. 

In my novel, my protagonist must crawl through a tunnel while wearing a long skirt. The scene needed details. I considered crawling through a plastic tube on a kids’ climbing apparatus, but those tunnels are significantly bigger than the one in my novel. I constructed a small tunnel by balancing a sofa cushion over a chair arm and an end table. I put on my one long skirt and made the crawl. My first discovery was I couldn’t make it through on my hands and knees. I had to drop down to my elbows. My protagonist’s sleeves would get wet and dirty. Then my lower back hit the top, so I had to slide forward in almost a combat crawl. Her poor outfit! Then the knot I’d tied in the skirt to keep it out of the way came undone. Of course my furniture construction project was a cushier option than the stone tunnel facing my main character, but the details still helped me improve the scene. 

What have you done to make your novel realistic?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lantern Reprise

We had another sunny day, so I took more pictures of my Japanese lanterns. This is my favorite.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The First 250 Words

This morning on the SCBWI Blog, I found a link to the Fifth Annual YA Novel Discovery Contest from Serendipity Literary Agency. Contestants are requested to submit the first 250 words of their novel. 

I opened my manuscript and selected a bit less than a page then checked the word count. After a few tries, I discovered that 249-words landed at the end of a sentence. Then I copied and pasted that section into a new file and tried to imagine myself as an agent or editor reading it cold. I asked these questions. 

Is opening compelling?
How many characters appear in the first 250 words?
Is it clear who these characters are and what their relationships are?
Is the reader given a clue about the novel’s main problem?
Is the genre of the novel obvious?
Can the reader tell where the scene takes place? 

This is a lot to be answered on a single page. Certainly the most important consideration is having a compelling opening. 

My answers are: 
The first paragraph still needs work.

I haven’t decided if I will enter the contest.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Need a Critique?

Deborah Halverson is having a contest on her blog, The winner gets a free 10-page critique. The contest is for any type of fiction.

Deborah's presentation at the fall SCBWI-MI retreat received rave reviews. I wish I'd been able to attend.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Not Me

I never do NaNoWriMo. Most Novembers, I use the excuse that I'm in the middle of revising, but I have other reasons.

First, I trust my process. I write by working every day, unless I’m ill, traveling or extremely busy. Writing every day is a luxury, and I cherish it. Churning out a specific word count daily would make writing a chore. 

Second, there are good and bad writing days. In the end, word counts are irrelevant. One great sentence can make a good writing day. Cutting a few thousand words can make a better one. 

Third I’m not much of a joiner. I wish all the participants of NaNoWriMo luck, inspiration and great writing days. It’s just not for me.