Happy New Year 2015!

Bring on 2015! Are you ready for it? I am so ready. I’m ready to say goodbye to the old and in with the new. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. 2014 was a good year, but I’m a sap for new beginnings in any shape at all. That’s why I love January so much. I love starting fresh. I love taking showers first thing in the morning. I love making fresh tracks in the snow. I love watching the sunrise. I love new notebooks and new sharpened pencils. I love making plans. I love making lists.

So here’s a list of what I have planned for this website and blog in 2015.

More books highlighted in the Book Nook

More books listed in my To Be Read Pile

More short stories posted in Writer’s Showcase

More participants in our Critique Corner Rounds

More posts about getting published on the blog

So here’s the thing. I’ll take care of the Book Nook, Writer’s Showcase and the blog, but all of you can help me with Critique Corner. Please. Pretty Please! Help me spread the word about our virtual critique rounds. I’d love to reach as many writers as I can. That way we’ll all make our writing better.

Our next round is at the end of January. What better way to ring in the New Year than to submit your work and let the rest of us help you polish it up? I’m accepting submissions right now, so get yours in! The details can be found on the Critique Corner tab and right here.

And new for this round, I’m bringing in a special guest to provide feedback too! My amazing new critique partner, the Fabulous Melyssa (aka Mel) will be critiquing all the entries! Believe me. You want her to critique your words. She and her purple highlighter have done wonders with my manuscript. On the merit of her middle grade manuscript, Mel was one of the chosen participants in last fall’s PITCH WARS on Brenda Drake’s website. Yeah. She’s good. 🙂 I’m so excited to have her help. Thanks, Mel!!

As far as the blog, I’m going to be posting more about the process of getting published. Query Letters. Submitting. Agents. There’s so much to getting published and based on feedback I’ve gotten on the blog, I think some posts on this subject might be helpful to many of you. So stay tuned!

January is a time to start fresh and who knows what the new year will have in store for any of us. The unknown can be exciting though and I’m choosing to embrace that fact. Happy New Year and cheers to all of us. May we all make each day this year all kinds of amazing!

Manuscript Monday #18

Manuscript Monday is a series of blog posts which chronicle the life of my manuscript. It follows the journey I take to turn my week old baby story idea into a fully grown, polished novel. Take the journey with me. 🙂

My 18 week-old manuscript:

There’s a lull between Christmas Day and New Years Day that leaves me feeling in limbo. I’m still feeling the high of celebrating with family, but also attempting to organize the house after said celebration before the next celebration hits- on much less sleep than normal. The kids are home from school which means more activity. We have more family events which means more late nights. We have more hockey games which means well, more hockey! I think you get the idea. In fact I’m guessing many of you may be in the same boat as me this week.

With several days free of work and school though, I do feel out of sorts—in limbo. I’m not sure where to focus my free time. I have all these plans of what I’d like to do this week. Visit with friends. Have dinner with my husband. Host sleepovers. Finish up projects leftover from a fall bedroom remodel. Critique pages sent to me months ago from one of my long ago critique partners. Update the Book Nook. Read a book. Revise my manuscript. Polish my query letter. Write the synopsis. Go for a run…

And then there’s this 18 week-old manuscript.

When I think of it all, my head starts to spin and I have to slap myself to make it stop. Breathe. Breathe. Breath. One thing at a time. Enjoy the moment.

To combat these days of extra time and way too many high hopes for what I can realistically accomplish, I’ve decided to pick one thing at a time and just begin. That’s it. Just start the activity. Give myself a block of fifteen minutes and just start. Chip away at each thing little by little. That’s what I had to do to get this post written for today. And that’s what I’ve had to do to get any words written on this new manuscript. I sit down. I tell myself to just write whatever. Whatever. That’s it. Even if it stinks or doesn’t really go along with anything I’ve written before. And this new limbo strategy has worked for me. This is what I do:

I sneak over to my computer. I open the document. I take a sip of coffee (caramel swirl with Italian Sweet Cream creamer). I scroll down to the last word written. I look at the clock. I instruct myself to write without stopping for fifteen minutes. I do as I have been instructed and I write whatever—whatever comes to mind for those fifteen minutes. That’s it. Then at the end of fifteen minutes, if no emergency (aka no one calling me away from my happy place) has happened, I keep writing. Before long I don’t need myself to be a coach shouting instructions and motivational quotes. I can coach myself. I can write without it.

Sometimes these sessions last fifteen minutes. Sometimes they turn into an hour. But in this week of limbo, I’ll take whatever I can get because it feels good to write—to make progress and give some love to my 18 week-old manuscript. The task doesn’t seem so overwhelming when I just sit down for a little bit to get some words down on the page.

So what about you? Have you been able to write at all during the holiday season? Do you have any tricks to share?

I guess I’m off now to stain the new window we put in my son’s room last month. The poor kid has a Buffalo Sabres blanket draped over it because I can’t hang the blinds until I stain the window. He doesn’t seem to mind but I’ll be happy to check that off my list!

Have a crazy fun week. I hope you can check things (writing related or not) off your list too. Oh and enjoy the moment. That’s a good thing to do too!!

Merry Christmas 2014!

I know not everyone celebrates Christmas. But many people celebrate something this time of year, whether it’s Hanukka, Kwanzaa, or a random winter day. And so for that reason I say Happy (enter appropriate holiday here) to each of you! I love the happiness the holiday season brings. I like to think people feel closer somehow, even through the craziness of the season.

I hope you’ll take some time to relax and celebrate with those special to you—whether they’re near or far. We all have much to celebrate after all. Sometimes it just takes some soul searching to realize what those things are!

So on that note, I’m off to celebrate with my family. They really are the ones most special to me. But…all of you are special to me too. It means a lot that you stop by so often to see what I have to say!

Happy Happy Holidays to each of you! I hope your week is full of fun and laughter and hopefully lots of love too!! *hugs* 🙂

Manuscript Monday #17

Manuscript Monday is a series of blog posts which chronicle the life of my manuscript. It follows the journey I take to turn my week old baby story idea into a fully grown, polished novel. Take the journey with me. 🙂

My 17 week- old manuscript:

During this holiday season (which is sometimes all too focused on gift giving and gift receiving), I’m finding it important to zero in on what Atria (my MC) really wants. Maybe that’s because during week 17 of writing this new manuscript, that’s all I can think about.

What is it that I really want?

I thought I really wanted to see my books in print. I thought seeing them on the shelves of small bookstores (and some bigger ones too!), would be the best gift I could ever receive. I bet that’s what many writers are hoping for too. But as I read stories of so much sadness, sickness, and violence in the news and around my own town, I realize that’s not what I really want.

Sure, seeing my books on those shelves would be supremely cool—beyond my wildest dreams, in fact. But if I’m honest with myself and dig deep enough, that’s not what I really want more than anything else.

What I really want is to have happy, loving relationships in my life—with my husband, and also with my kids. I want solid relationships with my parents, my sisters and brothers, my nieces and nephews, and my friends too. I want love in my life and I want health for all of us. Because without that, a single book on a shelf (even with my name written across the front) won’t mean anything at all. And as cliché as that sounds, that’s what I really want.

But what about my writing?

I really do want that too. But if I dig deep enough, I realize that I write because I really want to get my stories in the hands of children. I want them to feel something as a result of reading what I’ve written. That may come in the form of a traditionally published book, or maybe (if that doesn’t work out) it may eventually come in the form of a down-load from Amazon. Whatever the course may be for me, I realize that as long as I can do this for children, I’ll have gotten what I really want—especially knowing that my husband and kids will be with me when it happens!

What will you find if you dig deep enough? What is it that you really want? What is it that your characters really want?

It’s important to know this information if you’re going to have any story at all. Without it, you may have a plot—a series of actions and reactions that your character experiences, but you will not have a story. You won’t have the emotional aspect. Read my original post on this topic here.

I’ve been trying to determine what Atria really wants in her life. Getting the events of this plot down has been the easy part. Figuring out the emotional aspect of her journey has been much harder. But isn’t it that way for all of us? Sometimes, it’s hard to know which path to take in our lives, or how to react to a certain situation. I guess that’s what makes all of us, as people, stronger. Hopefully we can flesh this kind of thing out of our characters too. Creating emotionally developed characters is one of the best ways to make your story stronger—and the best gift you can give your character too.

Have a great week my friends! If you’re struggling with your story right now, take a break and go back to it later. This is one of the busiest times of the year. We all need a break sometimes. So take one. And have a Christmas cookie or two. Just don’t forget to go back to your writing. Your characters will be waiting for you! 🙂

3 Reasons I Will Not Share my Manuscript

I’ve officially decided to stop sharing my manuscript with anyone except the following people:

  1. My critique partners
  2. My beta readers
  3. My immediate family members (husband and children)

First, let me explain my list.

I will share my writing with my critique partners because they are amazing. Also because they know what they’re talking about. Even if I don’t implement every single suggestion they give, I know they have the best interest of my story at heart. They are writers. They know how to write. They may not be perfect (who is?) but they understand the objectives of writing a novel, getting it published, and the struggles of the whole process. To me, they are invaluable.

I will share my writing with a few select beta readers because they are either my target audience, or they are avid readers. In either case, I am willing to share because, they will hopefully ask questions about things that confuse them or indicate places where they lost interest… or other stuff that may help me improve my story.

I will share my writing with my family whenever they are willing to read it. This is merely because after seven years of writing, they rarely are excited to do this anymore! And since I want them to understand the alternate world I live in, I’ll take whatever interest they throw my way. Besides, gone are the days they tell me everything I write is awesome, so I actually value their opinions.

I’m adding a small exception to this list—my parents and in-laws. I will share my writing (when it’s ready-ish) with them because they are sincerely interested; they ask me about my story all the time; and even though I know they will tell me it’s awesome (even if it isn’t), I can always use a rah-rah session when I’m deep in the query trenches and need a pick-me-up! 🙂

So, if you do not see yourself on this list, be aware that I will not be sending you my manuscript. That may sound harsh, but here’s why:

  1. Over the last seven years, I have sent numerous stories to extended family members (Riley and Jordan this does not include you). I thought it would bring them great joy and/ or bring me great insight as to how I can make the story better. With the exception of a few people, most of the feedback I’ve gotten has been along the lines of, “Wow, that’s a great story. How long did it take you to write it? When is it going to get published?” At this point in my writing career (if you can call it that) I’d rather send them the finished product. Who knows when that will be, but I’d rather give it to them under the pretense that it may never be published, but if you’re interested, here’s a free story to read! No pressure and no expectations.
  2. Over the last seven years I have sent numerous stories to friends. Even friends who begged me to send it to them. Begged! With much trepidation, I did hit the send button. And you know what? Many of them, never ever responded. Oh, they definitely received it, and they said they would let me know what they thought. And then nothing. Nothing! It is not a good feeling to know someone has your manuscript, but never takes the time to actually read it. To be fair, I have two very dear friends who responded differently. As in, they cried and talked at length about the whole manuscript. But they are the exception.
  3. I am constantly revising. Just as soon as I send someone my manuscript, I will find a section that requires major changes. And it completely frustrates me to think my finished story is out in the world—unfinished.

So as much as I can’t wait to have my story in the hands of literary agents and eventually young readers (or any readers) who may ultimately feel something (hope, inspiration, understanding) from reading it, I’ll refrain from doing so until it’s ready. And that may take more time. So I will force myself to be patient, and be very selective with who gets to read it. For now. At some point I’ll want to put my best work out into the world, and in order to do that, I need the right people to read it. 🙂

What about you? Who’s on your list? Do you share your words with anyone who’s interested, or are you more selective?

On that note, I guess I better get back to my revisions. I have a lot to do and maybe that way I’ll get this story out to those certain people who did make the list!

Have a great weekend. Cheers to all of you who work so hard to write words. May you find a way to make them flow and make them mean something in your story! 🙂

Manuscript Monday # 16

Manuscript Monday is a series of blog posts which chronicle the life of my manuscript. It follows the journey I take to turn my week old baby story idea into a fully grown, polished novel. Take the journey with me. 🙂

My 16 week- old manuscript:

This week, my drafting progress consisted of adding just under five hundred words. All week. Yeah, that’s it. But… at least I added some words! So instead of focusing on how many words I was not able to add to this manuscript, I’m going to focus on a few other accomplishments:

One, I was able to keep my head in the story most of the week. For me, that’s important. It takes a long time to get started once I stop drafting, so if I can keep thinking about my manuscript, even when I’m not getting words on the page, then I’m more successful when I have the opportunity to write.

Two, I revised the opening of my other manuscript this week. This exercise will certainly make my writing stronger, so even though it wasn’t direct work on THIS manuscript, it was work that will benefit it eventually.

Three, I read a book. Not a whole book, but some of a book. Taking time away from writing to read, is one way to improve writing skills, and that will definitely help me when drafting later. Besides, it’s a perfect winter night activity and so yeah, there’s that.

Four, I tried something new. We all know that having new experiences can inspire great writing. A few nights ago, I went running with my husband at 9:00pm at night, in the cold, in the dark, over snow covered roads. This was new for me because I hate the cold and snow! And though I like running, I prefer the treadmill this time of year. I mean, it’s COLD outside!! But I gave in and my husband introduced me to a world of running I hadn’t seen before—a winter wonderland full of snow covered trees, twinkling lights, and a night so still I could hear the snow crunching beneath my sneakers. I can’t wait to see what story ideas develop from a simple night out in the winter cold!

So even though my progress this week may not be tangible, I’ll still take it. Writing a novel is hard. It’s time consuming. It takes work and patience. And for me, it’s especially hard to do during the holiday crunch time. But I’m still plugging away! Hopefully you are too!

Thanks for checking in this week. I hope your writing is going well. Remember, if you haven’t checked out the details of our next critique round, click on Critique Corner. It’ll be here before you know it!

My Go-To Book for Writing Craft

Way back when, I created this website with a major objective in mind: I wanted to pass along information I had learned from other writers and industry professionals when I was just learning to write. Around the time I began receiving rejections on my very first manuscript, I stumbled across a book on self editing. I absorbed the information like a sponge and eventually saw that I had several problems with my writing. It was the springboard I needed to improve. This amazing book should be in every writer’s box of revision tools.

SELF EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS, by Renni Browne and Dave King.

It teaches writing craft, focusing on such skills as dialogue, voice, point of view, exposition, how to eliminate unnecessary words and dialogue tags, and so much more. In a nutshell, it teaches the mechanics of writing—how to write professionally. Many times a manuscript sounds amateur- ish. That’s probably because the writer is not as skilled as they need to be.

This self editing book also gives specific examples, checklists, and exercises to check for understanding. I found it to be so helpful, I took notes on each and every chapter, and to this day, I still refer back to it often. Beyond that though, it’s an easy read and actually pretty entertaining! If you’re struggling with the mechanics of writing (or wonder if you’re writing is strong enough), go get this book. 🙂

It doesn’t, however, focus on plot issues, world building, or character development. That’s a whole other part of the revision process. Before you tackle those issues in your manuscript though, you need to be sure your writing is spot on. I was thrilled to find this book and I’m sure you will be too. Even the best writers forget the basics sometimes. Reading this book is one way to stay on track!

For an excerpt, go to http://www.selfeditingforfictionwriters.com. Renni Browne shares a fantastic page from the chapter on voice, which we all know is so hard to develop! This sample will definitely help.

You may have your own tricks or books that have helped you. If you do, feel free to comment. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would benefit from knowing what works for you. 🙂

Speaking of revisions, click on the Critique Corner tab. I’ve set up the details of our next critique round and hope you’ll join in on the fun. I know many of you have new manuscripts in the works. This will be a great chance to get fresh perspectives on your words. And if you can, tell your fellow writers too. The more the merrier! Hmm. How fitting that sounds for the holiday season!

Have an amazing weekend. I’m planning to make cookies, wrap presents, and probably shovel the driveway. We’ve got some snow coming! And though I hate driving in it, I do like watching it turn my yard into a winter wonderland! (Don’t get me wrong…I’d rather be hanging out by the pool with those of you lucky enough to live in warmer climates, but I’m trying to show gratitude this holiday season, and I’m guessing winter bashing is not showing gratitude.) So, bring on the white fluffy stuff! Maybe I can sneak in a few minutes of writing by the fire as it paints my neighborhood sparkly white. Hmm…now that I would be very grateful for!

Manuscript Monday # 15

Manuscript Monday is a series of blog posts which chronicle the life of my manuscript. It follows the journey I take to turn my week old baby story idea into a fully grown, polished novel. Take the journey with me. 🙂

My 15 week- old manuscript:

Like most writers, I have several ideas tucked away, waiting for me to turn them into a story. In my case, these ideas are scribbled in a notebook. Every once in awhile, I open it up and skim through the jibberish. This week, while working on my draft, one of these ideas popped into my head. I’m not sure why, because I already have too many stories competing for my attention. I’m certainly not about to begin writing another!

But as the week went on, this idea (that really is nothing more than a situation) kept lurking.

I’ve gotten much better this time around at being patient with my ideas. I realized that if they are worth developing, they will take shape in my mind when they’re ready. And so that’s what I did with this one. Originally this idea/ situation was intended to be a YA book if I ever decided to go in that direction. The mere thought of writing YA makes my hands sweat though. I’m barely mature enough to handle YA situations! How in the world would I write about them? I’m comfortable in my tween/ early teen skin, thank you very much!

But as I let the idea/ situation simmer, I thought of a way I could turn it into the backdrop of my new MG story. As it is, I only really have a bunch of characters doing a bunch of stuff. I don’t have a solid foundation or world in which they live. By incorporating this new thing, I’ve opened up a whole bigger world in which my MC resides, based on an unusual family situation.

So yay!! I drafted paged this week off some notes I found scribbled in my notebook several years ago. It’s amazing how real a few phrases can become when you place them in the right context! So far they’re working. They fit with my main idea and they firmly place my main character in a place where her unusual hobby makes sense. And I’m so surprised! An idea originally thought for a more serious YA book may just be the backdrop that works for my speculative fiction middle grade!

I’m letting this be a lesson to myself. Never scrap any idea, no matter how small or irrelevant it may seem. It’ll wiggle its way into a story eventually if you let it!

Does this happen often to you? Do you keep a file or journal full of your greatest ideas? Do you ever check back on them for inspiration? Ever use any of them? If not, give it a try. It might be the key to a scene that needs that little something extra, or a plot hole that needs fixing.

In the crazy days of this holiday season, I hope you catch some time to work on your own manuscript. Most days I’m finding it almost impossible to fit in even a few minutes to write and I’m betting you’re having the same problem too. But, here’s hoping we all get a few words in this week, and if not, at least a quiet moment to let the ideas swirl until we can get them down on paper. 🙂

Before you head off to work, or shop, or wrap, or bake, take a second to click on Writer’s Showcase. My talented, young writing friend, Mackenzie submitted the beginning of her new short story to the blog! It was so awesome for her to share her work with all of us…and so brave. I know how hard it can be for any of us to let the world read what we’ve written. It’s a great start to a story. Reading it made me remember the earliest adventures I wrote about when I was young, and definitely inspired me to open my manuscript and write something that kids will want to read! Take a look. I bet you’ll agree with me! 🙂

What Are You Trying to Say in Your Story?

So you’re writing fiction. There must be a reason why you are, that goes further than tapping letters on a keyboard and letting your imagination run free. Of course you have a story to tell. You have characters ready to be born; worlds begging to be created; problems waiting to be solved; and goals ready to be reached. But beyond on that, is there something you’re trying to say with your words?

Hmmm. Maybe, maybe not. And if you were to ask me that question, I’m not sure what my answer would be. I’m not the type of person to stand on a soap box and spout the meaning of life to any and all who will listen. That’s not my personality. I’m not outspoken. I’m not confrontational. I’m interested in politics, but I’m not one to discuss it much. I’m interested in education, but I’m not one to start a petition either for or against a new initiative. I will chat about it over lunch or perhaps sign a petition, but I’m not usually one to lead the discussion. I’m not very judgmental either. I’m more “to each their own.” (Unless the issue involves my husband or children then I’m more like a Mama Bear protecting her cubs, but that’s another story!)

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not real likely to discuss major or controversial issues in my writing. I do love to read certain authors that write fiction based on serious issues. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, in fact. But at this point in my writing career, I’m not likely to write hidden messages into my work.

Or am I?

While deep in the throes of revising my completed middle grade, I needed to get to the heart of my story. It’s important for any writer to know what the heart of their story is too.

What does your main character REALLY want? How do your secondary characters impede her efforts? Is there a message there? Is it hidden deep in your story? What about the world you’re building? Is there a message you’re trying to get across in the society you’ve built?

Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) and Veronica Roth (Divergent) both YA authors, touch on issues seen in any society, like class hierarchies, educational systems, and moral codes. Both stories make readers think. And though both authors present these issues in over-the-top stories (very well done, I might add), I’ll go out on a limb and say that you may have something you’re trying to say in your own writing too. It may be subtle. It may be unintentional, but it still may be there.

When I dig deep into the heart of my own manuscript, I see that I have some things I’m trying to say too. And though none of them were intentional, I realize that all these hidden issues are very important to me. And somehow they’ve made themselves known in my story.

I see parents today pushing their kids too hard to be something they are not.

I see schools, failing some of our kids, but succeeding many others.

I see kids who have forgotten how to use their imaginations—how to play.

I see kids who don’t work real well with others. The concept of team is forgotten once kids get off the playing field.

I see kids who would give anything in the world for one true friend.

I see kids who are afraid to take risks.

But… I believe that kids are stronger and more capable than we give them credit for, and I believe that people of all ages need encouragement to chase their dreams. I believe that if given the right environment and support, people can do amazing things.

Wow. I guess I’m trying to say a lot of things in my story. I didn’t mean to get up on my soapbox, but I kinda did. Hopefully these messages are given in the most subtle of ways though. I’ve tried to create a story about friendships, family relationships, forgiveness, and teamwork, all the while challenging my readers to use their imagination and knowledge to create amazing things. It’s a fun story where readers will find things they never thought possible, really are possible- all because of hard work, teamwork, and imagination!

What about you? What are you trying to say in your story? You may be as surprised as I was at what you’ll find! 🙂 So come on…tell us one. It’ll be interesting for us to know what secret gems you’ve hidden away in your words!

Manuscript Monday # 14

Manuscript Monday is a series of blog posts which chronicle the life of my manuscript. It follows the journey I take to turn my week old baby story idea into a fully grown, polished novel. Take the journey with me. 🙂

My 14 week- old manuscript:

Hey everybody! Sorry for the delay in posting this today. It’s been a busy few days around here for me. I’m guessing many of you are in the same boat. It’s the holiday season after all! On top of that, my son turns 15 tomorrow! And no matter how many times I tell myself that my little boy is a now a full-fledged teen, I still can’t quite believe it. It will be a bittersweet day for me as we celebrate the mini-man he has become. And really it’s all good because you know, it’s BirthdayTime and I love birthdays. What better way to spoil (within reason) the ones we love so much?

But in the midst of all the crazy around here, I’ve been working on my draft. The challenge I’ve faced this week during my writing sessions has been basically this:

I need to get out of my own way.

Sometimes I can be my own worst roadblock in crafting my stories—or more specifically, my personality can be. So here’s the thing. I hate conflict. I hate fighting with people close to me. I hate when people are mad at me. I hate when I’m mad at someone else. I will do anything to avoid conflict, including giving in if the issue is not all that important to me. Don’t get me wrong, if it IS important to me, I will fight tooth and nail to be heard, but I hardly ever let things get to that point.

I also hate when people I care about fight with each other. I will do whatever it takes to help them settle their conflicts. I’m a peacemaker, I guess. I like things happy-happy. 🙂

Years ago, my very first critique group pointed out this trait in my writing. It was a rare occasion at our meetings when one of them didn’t say, “I like this scene a lot, but would you consider upping the conflict a bit? Can you add more tension between these two characters? Why don’t you have such and such a character disagree with your MC?”

And my first reaction always was, “Why? Isn’t it enough that my MC is trying to escape from the carriage house? Why does he have to be fighting with his best friend at the same time?”

They would shake their heads (as if to remind me), “More conflict is better!”

And I would smile sheepishly, because I knew this was going against my personality. I hate conflict. I hate when my characters are unhappy. My natural inclination is to make things easy for them. I don’t want to be the cause of their unhappiness as they strive to reach their goal.

And then I slap myself in the face and tell myself to get over it. That’s my job. I’m the writer. I’m not a character in the book. I need to create as much conflict as I can. That’s what makes a good story and that’s what makes for a better pay off in the end—when I’m finally allowed to give them a happy ending!

My new critique partner extraordinaire, Mel just gave me similar feedback on my completed manuscript. And I had to laugh and shake my head again. UGGH! How do I not realize this about my own work??

And so not only am I revising that manuscript to add more conflict, I’m working to write lots of conflict in the draft for my WIP. Lots and Lots. And then some more. I’m hoping if I add more than I need, it will actually be just right.

But it isn’t easy. I struggle with ways to create problems where there are none. I struggle to add fights. I struggle to create difficult personalities. I struggle to have my characters make poor choices. But I’m doing it! My head actually hurts when I’m done writing because it’s a really uncomfortable thing for me. I’m hoping this will make me a better writer. I’m guessing it will because my stories ARE better for it. I can see it as I re-read and revise. Funny how when we push ourselves (even beyond what feels normal) we become so much better at whatever we do.

So that’s week 14. A lot of crazy; a lot of moving out of my comfort zone; and a lot of creating conflict. But only in my writing because you know, everything else around here needs to be happy-happy! 🙂