Why Do You Remember?

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday


There either is or is not, that's the way things are.
 The colour of the day. The way it felt to be a child. The saltwater on your sunburnt legs. 
Sometimes the water is yellow, sometimes it's red.
 But what colour it may be in memory, depends on the day.
 I'm not going to tell you the story the way it happened.

 I'm going to tell it the way I remember it.
Charles Dickens ~ Great Expectations

My husband and I had a conversation recently about first kisses. He doesn't remember his. 
I'll pause for a moment and let that sink in. 

HE DOESN'T REMEMBER HIS FIRST KISS!

How does that happen? He couldn't even with confidence remember the first time he kissed ME!*

*Disclaimer: I am married to an amazing man who supports me fully in everything I do. I can forgive the fact that he has let a moment on Sept. 21, 1997 at approximately 10:14 pm while slow dancing in my apartment to a local country station playing from my mini-stereo slip his mind.*

His explanation was that he "didn't catalog the information for future reference."
Then, he mumbled something about women never forgetting anything

But, my mind was already working. Why do I remember so well? 
I'm sure part of it is about being a girl and living for those kinds of moments, but I believe there is much, much more. 

I don't just remember my first kiss. I remember everything about it. Where I was standing, the butterfly army in my stomach, praying my mom did not choose that moment to walk into the kitchen. Everything. Just like I do so many other tiny but huge moments in my life.

But, I wonder how much of it is because I'm a writer. I love the story of each moment. I love hearing how other people met and fell in love. I love passing those emotions on to my readers and sharing the experience of moving through it together all over again. 

So, tell me your story. 
Do you remember the tiny but huge moments of your life with vivid detail? Were you cataloging it all for future reference? 

If you're in the mood for some nostalgia, you can check out this post about Remembering the Good Old Days (It's worth the click just to see my 1989 hairstyle!)






Help! I'm becoming a PLOTTER!

Thinking about Thursday

In my Confessions of  Plot-First Writer  post, I confessed that I am a "die-hard pantser".  If you aren't into writing, that means I like to write without planning it out first. I just sit down with a blank page and start pouring out a story.

That is how I have always worked. I love the excitement of feeling the story unfold as it is playing in my mind. I don't really know any other way.

But, lately, I've been having these...urges. Feelings that I don't understand.

I want to lay out Storyboards  and make sure I have a proper character arc.

Who AM I?


I can tell you it all started with my shiny, new WIP (work in progress). Actually, it isn't that new. It is my NaNoWriMo for this year and it is already over 53,000 words. But, it is still shiny and I still like it. But, there are so many characters! And, they all keep tapping me on the shoulder and saying,

"Hey, I want to do ____ . Can you make that happen for me?"

The weird thing is in "real life" I am very much a planner. I have  a color-coded Google calendar that rules my world. When I used to plan workshops, I would walk through every step in my head from the minute the participants arrived until they walked out.

One of my favorite self-talk phrases when I am stressed is, "Okay, Dawn, take a breath and put it order. What needs to happen first? Then, what? And, after that...."

Does that mean I have been denying my true nature by writing without a plan or have I have been using my writing as freedom from my normal (over)scheduled life?

As long as I'm confessing,  I might as well admit that I wrote a synopsis before I started my last three manuscripts... Please don't think less of me.

So, it is possible to be a pantsing-plotter? If I dabble in a few story arcs or w-plots, is that a gateway to stick notes and whiteboards? Will that eventually take me to *shudder*outlining? If I go to the dark side, will I ever return to the exhilaration of my pantsing ways?




 


Confessions of Plot-First Writer

Thinking about Thursday

This post first ran last  March. While I have finished the revisions mentioned, I am now smack in the middle of NaNoWriMo and realized my "Plot First" tendency has yet to be cured.  


I was three chapters into my NaNo before I realized my characters possessed supernatural powers. I figured this out shortly after one of the main characters blew up a car with his hand.  I literally had the thought, "OH, he's a superhero!"


How does that happen? 
Please read below.


I am swimming in a sea of revisions right now. So, much I am dreaming about my WIP (Not in the way Stephanie Meyer dreamt of Twilight and made a bazillion dollars. More in the way, I wake up feeling like I never slept and I still only have a  twenty in my pocket.) Working through this round of revisions with my awesome crit partner , I had some revelations about myself.

  • I am a "Plot-First" writer. This great post by Claire King  titled Layers Not Lines is a prime example of how I plot. With one glaring exception:
  • Remember, I said. "Plot-first"? That means, I don't think like this:
 "There is a woman, feeling heartbroken and lonely. She tries to hide this by acting strong willed and aloof, but is truly afraid and insecure." 
       
            I think like this:

"There is a building that burns down. Okay, what kind of building? Oh, it's an art Museum. Yeah, like the Kimbell. Someone, hmm, maybe a woman named...whatever, I'll name her later. She burns it down to hide that she stole several pieces of art. But she had to steal them because the bad guy.... for now, we'll just call him BG. He made her steal them or he was going to...." 


  • Why is this a problem? It has been politely pointed out that my "writing process" can leave my characters lacking introspection and depth. *Ouch*. During an eye-opening workshop with Anna DeStefano, she showed us how to "plot through characters." It is a fascinating, seemingly simple, yet truly complex process that she stated she could do for weeks. WEEKS! I'm not sure I heard much after that because my vision blurred and the room started to spin. I don't even spend weeks laying out my plot. ( I am also a trying-to-be-reformed Pantser, but that is a post for later.)      

  • So, how do I help my poor puppets characters? I give them faces, thanks to Google Images. I try to give them a bio and a theme song. I try, honestly, I try to fill out those character sketch forms. I am not criticizing them. I know they can be useful, but my brain protests. It screams, "What does her favorite flavor of ice cream have to do with her blowing up the art museum?
        So, where do you fall in the Plot vs. Character spectrum? If you are like me, how do make sure your characters aren't underdeveloped? If you are a "character writer", do you struggle to keep your plot moving like I struggle to keep my characters arcing? Is arcing a word?  



  

Maybe God doesn't want me to be a writer

 Thinking about Thursday
*This was originally posted in September of 2009*


Maybe God Doesn't Want Me to be a Writer

I have a passion for writing. A deep, sincere calling. I always have. I have written many stories the others will never read, simply for my enjoyment. In the past year, since I have truly started to consider the option of becoming a published author, I have prayed...often. I am believer in Christ and a believer in prayer. I am also a believer that sometimes, God likes to toy with us.

At the end of the last school year, I was finishing up what I consider to be my best work to date. The characters and plot ricocheted around my head like a song you can't stop thinking about. I HAD to get it on paper... or at least on the computer screen.

During the spring, I am blessed with some free time at work. I was using every minute of it ( shh~ don't tell!) to get this story finished. The problem? Every time I would get "in the zone" so to speak. Some thing would happen to remind me I was a teacher.

At first I thought it was coincidence. I start writing and my classroom phone rings to inform me a parent is there to pick a recommendation for a former student. This particular parent, whom I love dearly, took the time to tell me what a talent educator she felt I was and what a positive impact I had on her son's life. That is a great feeling.

Then it happened again, I started writing and a former student, home from college for a weekend visit popped in. And it happened again! Another student from TWO YEARS before stopped in to say hello , let me know he had joined the military and would be leaving for Iraq soon.

I love these people. I truly, truly do love them. They have impacted my life every bit as much as I impacted theirs. I began to question if God was trying to show me that education is where I belong... where I should stay.

I wrote often this summer. But not as much as I could have... After all, I do still have two children who need attention and taxiing to various activities. I started a new manuscript ( I am trying to get in the habit of calling them that... Story seems too trivial). Parts of it are really good, but parts of it still need much revision and I am no where near the end yet. As of yesterday, it had not been backed up anywhere. The only copy was on my laptop.

You think I would have learned my lesson when I lost the first 25 pages of a new manuscript during a hard drive crash. But I didn't. The 45 pages of my latest were here on this computer. Completely vulnerable. A chance I was willing to take.... until my youngest spilled an entire 32 ounce cup of water on to the computer.

At first, everything seemed fine. I dried it all. The computer booted up and all was well. Until I started viewing some pictures.Then, after a quiet buzzing noise, the screen went blank and the computer would not reboot.

I spent the next two hours cleaning the house. Moving from room to room, putting away clutter, toys and laundry... praying I had not once again lost everything on my laptop. Allowing the doubt to creep in... Maybe God really does not want me to be a writer.

I wrestled with this thought the whole time. I even had a flashback to story I wrote when I was in the sixth grade. I was proud of this story. So proud, I took it every where with me for the week after I wrote it. I am not sure why, but I know it must have made since to my 11 year old self. I was riding in the back of my mom's Beretta, my dad was driving. For some reason, I had put the story in the back window. He rolled down the passenger window and the wind grabbed it.

It was gone. I still remember screaming and looking out the back window as the papers scattered over the highway. Then I cried.

That was before computers. The story was handwritten on spiral notebook paper. There was no back up. I never rewrote that story. I can barely remember the plot now. But I remember the devastation I felt. I got a fresh taste of it yesterday while staring at a blank computer screen.

Today my computer is fine. My latest manuscript is still here and now has been copied to a back up DVD.

I am still leery though. Maybe God doesn't want me to be a writer... or maybe he just wanted me to get off my butt and clean my house.

So, what you you? What has led you toward writing? What had led you away from it? 

Let Summer Begin!

Thinking about Thursday



It is FINALLY, and I mean, FINALLY the last day of school! I have never been so ready for summer in my entire teaching career!

The first few days of summer are like Friday nights to me. There is such anticipation and possibility. What is going to happen? What can you get done? Then, you blink. It's Sunday and you haven't accomplished half of what you intended.


With that in mind, today I am thinking about my goals for the summer. You can read about the goals I set for myself last summer here and how well I did or did not do with them here.

Dawn's Goals for Summer 2011
1. Finish revisions on Story #1 (with help of wonderful crit partners Teri Anne Stanley and Genevieve Wilson)

2. QUERY, QUERY, QUERY. I am going to do it! You heard. I wrote it down. HOLD ME TO IT!

3. Complete the writing boot camp I am currently enrolled in, but have not had time to read the first lesson for yet.

That's it. Short, simple and to the point.

So, what about you? What goals have you set for this summer?

FIGHT! Guest Post By Rayne Hall

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
 
FIGHT! 
Today, We have a great guest post from 
Rayne Hall. 
Rayne  writes dark fantasy and horror. She has published more than twenty books under different pen names in different genres, and her stories have earned Honorable Mentions in 'The Years' Best Fantasy and Horror'. She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing, and teaches online classes.

Even if you've never wielded a weapon, you can write an exciting fight scene.
Rayne will show you how, in her workshop on 
which starts on 1 June 2011: 
You can find out more about the class here


The Final Showdown
How to Write a Great Fight Scene for the Climax of Your Book

Does your novel climax with a big showdown between the hero (or heroine) and the villain?
Here are techniques to make this fight powerful and memorable.

* The fight scene during the novel's climax is longer than the other fight scenes in the book. It is also the more violent, and the more emotionally rousing.

* Raise the stakes as high as you can. The climactic fight is almost always to the death. In addition to the hero's life, something big is at stake, something he's prepared to die for: the freedom of the slaves, the lives of the innocent, the future of Earth. This big cause is probably what the hero has been pursuing throughout the novel.

* State the purpose of the fight, that big cause for which the hero is fighting. Spell it out, and keep it in the reader's mind. The more you emphasise the purpose, the more the readers will root for the hero.

* Use an unusual location for the fight, preferably a dangerous place, such as burning house or a sinking ship.

* Stack the odds against your hero (who can, of course, be a heroine): Give the villain the better weapons, better armour, better preparation. Make your hero vulnerable: he's unarmed or poorly armed, without protective armour, maybe even injured or exhausted. The more you stack the odds, the more the readers will root for the hero.

* If several people are involved in the fight, arrange it so there are more bad guys than good guys, because readers always root for the minority.

* If the villain is supported by several henchmen, let your hero defeat them one by one. The villain has to be the last one to fall, in order to keep the tension high.

* Show violence. Even if you've skirted around violence in the earlier parts of the novel, this scene will benefit from injury and pain.

* Create a 'black moment' when all seems lost. Then the hero recalls his purpose, rallies his last drop of strength and courage, and fights on until victory.

* If your hero has a special skill, find a way to use it in the fight scene, preferably in a surprising way.

* If your hero has a weakness, phobia or fear, force him to face it during the climactic fight. For example, if he fears heights, the fight takes place on the roof of a skyscraper. If he has a phobia of snakes, the villain uses snakes against him. If he's terrified of spiders, he must fight in a spider-infested cave.

If you have questions about writing fight scenes, feel free to ask. I'll be around for a week and will respond. 

Thank you so much for being a guest, Rayne! 

So, tell us your story! What do you struggle with when writing fight scenes? Rayne will be around all week to answer questions. Let's give her some!   

Weekend Plot Swap

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Have you seen a news story that got your wheels turning? 
Do you have a plot in your head that would make a great story, just not one you intend to write?  
Leave it here on Fridays 
or 
pick up a plot for your weekend writing time.
Here is what I have for you this Friday: Weekend
This post brought to you late due to Blogger's little hiccup
This week I stuck on locations. Sometimes, the location itself can be a characters in the story.
 
Plenty of ideas for a suspense, thriller or paranormal

 
Great pictures. Perfect for a treasure hunting adventure story.
 
 
Pictures from all over with short narratives. 

So, swap with me! What locations do you know that are dying to share their stories with you? Have you ever looked at a scene and just known there was a story waiting for you?
 
 
 
 

What's in your WIP file?

Thinking about Thursday

What's in Your Wallet WIP File?

    Rather than risk copyright infringement with Capital One (I know their ad people are reading my blog all the time, right?) I decided to use a picture of my poor (in every sense of the word) husband after we had to buy the entire family new shirts at Sea World. That whole, "splash zone" thing is seriously a warning. Who knew?

    But it isn't our best/only family vacation I am thinking about today. Nope, today I am thinking about a little folder on in my documents file titled "Work in Progress." I always have several  WIPs going at a time. Some are new and shiny. A few are polished and refined, but most are soft and warm. Like my favorite jeans. I know them, they have been with me for years. Several will never be finished. I just love the characters too much to let them go.

   Here is a peek into my file:
  • 6,000 word completed short story tentatively titled Homecoming
  • 50,000 word completed novel in various stages of revision. Currently out to crit partner. Awaiting final polish
  • 50,000 word completed NaNoWriMo novel from 2009 in various stages of revision currently on hold.
  • 51,000 word semi complete NaNoWriMo novel from 2010 on hold
  • 22 incomplete works in progress  varying in length from 1,023 words to a 17,000 word "character sketch" that took on a life of it's own.
So, what's in your WIP file?  
Are you working on your first novel? 
Or do you have several going/finished?





                                                   

Friday Plot Swap: Favorite lines

Friday Plot Swap
Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
What's your favorite line?
In the movie Light of Day
Michael J. Fox is trying to show his nephew how you can write a song about anything. They turn on the TV and catch a snippet of a man saying, "You've got no place to go." Then, write a song based on that line.
Sometimes, that is how I plot. I get a line stuck in my head, then I start to work on the setting and the characters. What would have led them to say that. So, here are a few of my lines from three different WIPs.
"When you pick out clothes in the morning, you never think they'll  be covered in your loved ones' blood by the end of the day." 

“You are marked as a seer,”he repeated.
            “And you are marked as a traitor,”she answered. “Neither of us would be as we seem.”

"Let’s name the Newfoundland, Tiny. Won’t that be cute? Everyone will think it's great.” She yanked the leash. “Yeah, great idea. Grant… Great idea… Almost as good an idea as you running off with Malibu Barbie and her Chihuahua. Seriously, I have tennis shoes bigger than that ugly rat."
Swap with me!
What's your favorite line? 
It doesn't matter if it is from your WIP,
your favorite book, movie, song, whatever. 
Share!  

 






   





Friday Plot Swap: Musical Style

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Old Country Style
No matter if you like country music or not, you have to admit they know how to tell a story.  Here are three country songs that have always sparked my imagination. 
Yeah, the stage was set when the lights went out, there was death in Tuscon town. Two shadows ran for the bar back door and one stayed on the ground. 
Both belonging to another But longing to be lovers.
Promising each other that the night will only know
Parked on some old backstreet.They laid down in the backseat
And fell into the fire down below.But they would pay for their deceiving for a deadly web was weaving.Why they picked that spot that evening Lord, the night will only know. Well within the innuendos just outside the steamy windows, the night was shattered by a woman's scream. Motionless and frightened, the grip of fate had tightened And with trembling hands they wiped away the steam

Seven Spanish Angels (Willie Nelson and Ray Charles) 

She reached down and picked the gun up that laying smoking in his hand. She said, "Father, please forgive me, but I can't live without my man." And she knew the gun was empty and she knew she couldn't win.



I know there are many, many more. 
So, swap with me.
What is your favorite story-telling song (country or not)?

 

  
 

Weird Writer Behavior

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
What is your weird writer behavior? 

I have a confession: 

I talk to myself. Pretty much all the time. Sometimes, I talk about what I am doing, sometimes I talk about what I need to do next and sometimes, I talk  about the lives of my imaginary friends. 

My favorite place to do this is in the car.  Thank goodness for the invention of hands-free cell phones! Now at the stoplights, I don't have to pretend like I am singing. 

It also keeps me entertained while cleaning. I've had arguments, first kisses and plotted murder, all while folding laundry, mopping floors and wiping down counters. 

If I ever get the opportunity to be a full time writer, my house will probably be much cleaner! Okay, probably not, but it is one of the possible benefits I keep touting to my husband.
So, Tell Me Your Story. What is your weird writer behavior? Do you talk to yourself? Follow strangers to finish hearing their conversation? Have a computer picture file of people you have never met?

 



 

Friday Plot Swap

Friday Plot Swap


Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Have you seen a news story that got your wheels turning? 
Do you have a plot in your head that would make a great story, just not one you intend to write?  
Leave it here on Fridays 
or 
pick up a plot for your weekend writing time.
Here is what I have for you this Friday: 
If you get stuck, just start making up words!

Laughter is the best...crime prevention? 
 
 
So, what is going on in your world right now? The real or imaginary one. Do you have something you would like to share with the rest of us? Any inspiration to spread? 

What's in a name?

Thinking about Thursday



What's in a Name?



My first name is Dawn because my father was a morning person and told my mom,  "I just know she is going to be as pretty as the sunrise."

No Pressure there, right? 

My mom wanted to name me Cinnamon. True story.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of starting a new manuscript is naming my characters. It is also one of the most challenging parts for me. 


I like names that mean something, even if I am sure no one else in the world knows the meaning. For example, the WIP I am currently revising has a wonderful dog named Alastair which means "Man's protector".Did you know that?


So, what about you? How do you name your characters? Do you frequent baby name sites? Name them after people you know? Find names that carry the meaning you intend? 

Do you have some names to share with us? 

These names are from a currently shelved, but completed novel.
Can you guess where they are from? (Hint: The novel was built around a theme related to the names)

Scarlett Mitchell
Amber O'Conell
Sage Lacil
Beau Byrd
Kelley Priest
Virginia Ivory 

Any ideas?

Janet B Taylor

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
 Welcome
 Janet B. Taylor

Janet  was recently named as a
quarter-finalist in the 2011 
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  
You can read her entry and leave a review here. 
I've read it. Great hook and terrific voice! 

Let's Get to Know Janet!
 
First, let's talk about the contest!
When I entered, I really had no idea what I was doing. I just thought..."Hey, a free complete manuscript contest... neat." I had NO idea I'd make it through the first round, where there were 5,000 entries, much less to the second round, where they cut it down to only 250. Now, I have my very own page on Amazon Kindle. 
 
 Now, let's talk about DFWCon
I met Dawn at the DFW writer's conference in February. (She is a lovely, fun woman~*Ahh, Jan is so sweet* ~) We'd met on Twitter before the conference, along with a couple of other girls, and it was such a pleasure having some friends to lean on and have fun with there.
 
 
 
I had a marvelous, informative time...Until.. Da..Da..Dummmm....
The Query Gong Show. Now, this is an event that took place in a huge auditorium with a panel of agents in front of a crowd of two-hundred people. 
 
I'd sent in a query back in January, and forgotten I'd sent it. The query in question had been on Janet Reid's fabulous Query Shark, and not only made it on the blog, it had made it through to yes. (You can check out her query letter here.)
Any of you who are familiar with that blog, knows that it is a big accomplishment..or so I thought. 
 
Still, I was concerned with it, and tried to pull the query, the day of the gong show. Too late.  I snuck in the back of the auditorium, having just finished up a class, and sat behind a row of some more agents. 
 
When the announcer, who sounded like the voice of God, began reading my query, I shrunk down in my chair, wishing the heavens would open up and take me away on a bright beam of light. Nope. I had to sit there and listen to the panel gong my query and tear it to ribbons in front of all those people. 
 
Thank the Lord, it was anonymous.
 
I've done some MAJOR revisions on it since, and I have to say that of all the things I learned at the conference, that was the most important--though most painful--lesson. 
 
You can read about Janet used this experience to her advantage on her blog. www.janetbtaylor.com 
 
Tell us more about yourself
   Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write? 
My best writing time is early in the morning. Since my husband and I have to be at work at 7am, I usually get up around 3:30, and write for two hours. Then on the weekends, I write till noon or so.

 Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? What is different? 
 I love, love to write. But the submission process and the query process is so much harder and nerve-wracking than I ever dreamed.

    Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life?  
Well, gotta go back to the getting up early thing, for me. I can’t stay up late, so for me, it’s all about the mornings.

 What is the best advice you have received about this journey?
  Believe in yourself. Never give up, because you never know what will hit in this business. 

  What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were starting out? 
I wish I’d had any advice. I pretty much figured it out on my own, but I have some good friends and great advisors now. I’m going to start working with the amazing author, of the wonderful book SPLIT,  Swati Avasthi this week, and I wish I’d started with her sooner.
  
    What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? 
How do combat that? I don’t worry about running out of stories, they float around in my head all the time, and I’ll stop what I’m doing and jot them down, trying to save them for a later time. I’m really new at this, so other than feeling discouraged at the rejections sometimes, I never get tired of writing.

     What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing? 
I have the hardest time with descriptions. I can see the images in front of me, but getting them onto paper with new and exciting phrases is hardest. The easiest thing for me is dialogue. That just flows naturally for me.

     Do you ever write material based on your close relationships, such as a best friend?, and how do you balance that material with the need to tell an interesting story? 
Oh yeah, I think we all use tidbits out of our own lives, you just have to punch them up a bit to make them more exciting.

     What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching) 
I love to people watch, and when I see an interesting-looking person, I’ll jot down a description of them or write down funny or strange conversations.

     What do you do when you aren’t writing? 
 I’ve been a Radiologic Technologist for 25 years, and now I’m what’s called a Quality Assurance Manager. I have to approve all the digital x-rays the technologists take, before they go to the radiologist for interpretation.

    Tell us a bit about your work in progress. 
I am beginning a major revision of THE DIM with Swati. My book about a teenage girl who must travel back to the year 1543 to rescue her mother who is trapped in time.
 
    What is next for you? 
I’ve started writing and plotting my next book, which is about Ginny-Lee, a teenager from the poorest, most white-trash family in a small Arkansas town. Her mother wins the lottery and they buy an old southern-style mansion. Her father was killed by the police for a crime he didn’t commit, and when she moves into the mansion, strange things start happening.


Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in your blog. I am truly honored, and I’m also honored to call you my friend! ~
Ahh, did I tell you she is awesome! 

She is!

In honor of Janet's Gong Show Experience, tell me your story! Have you had any "Oh, no!" moments in your writing journey? Tell us about it then pop over to 

 
 
 

Friday Plot Swap

Friday Plot Swap
Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Have you seen a news story that got your wheels turning? 
Do you have a plot in your head that would make a great story, just not one you intend to write?  
Leave it here on Fridays 
or 
pick up a plot for your weekend writing time.
Here is what I have for you this Friday: 



A troublemaking pet tortoise escaped from his terrarium in a New York bedroom and wound up sparking a fast-moving blaze that wiped out a family's apartment and injured a firefighter and three cops


Have anything you would like to share? Any ideas on what you could do with some of these? 
Have a great weekend! 

Welcome Wendy Lyn Watson!

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday


WENDY LYN WATSON
Wendy Lyn Watson teaches constitutional law to college students by day and writes deliciously funny cozy mysteries, with a dollop of romance, by night. While she does not commit–or solve–murders in real life, her love of ice cream is 100% true. She’s also passionately devoted to 80s music, Asian horror films, and reality TV. A native of Ohio, she’s lived in Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Texas, where she currently lives with her husband and four spoiled felines.


I am a fan of Wendy's Mystery a la Mode series. In fact, I have about ten pounds I blame squarely on Scoop to Kill as well as You Scream, I Scream. As I have mentioned before, the woman describes ice cream in a way that makes you swear it was almost as good as sex! The third book in the series, A Parfait Murder,  is due out this summer.

 Let's get to know Wendy
   Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write?

I don’t have a specific routine, but I’m definitely a sprinter.  I have to think about scenes—let them percolate on the back burner—for quite a while.  Then, when I sit down to write, they come tumbling out.   Doesn’t really matter where I am when that happens:  couch, desk, coffee shop … it’s all good.

Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? What is different?

Honestly?  No.  At the risk of sounding hopelessly naïve, I really thought that once you sold a book the hard part was over.  Uh, no.  Not so much.  I also foolishly assumed the money would be better, that even mid-list authors would at least make enough money to live modestly.  Again, naïve.

    Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time   and living a normal life?

I don’t know if this counts as a trick, but I’ve redefined “normal”.  I’m not magic, after all.  At the end of the day, I’m working two full-time jobs.  I had to wake up and realize I cannot work two full-time jobs AND have a vibrant social life AND be a good homemaker AND get my Christmas cards out on time … something had to give.  Giving myself permission to let the laundry pile up was the best thing I ever did.

 What is the best advice you have received about this journey?

The only thing a writer can control is the words she puts on the page.  Write well and that is success. 


    What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? How do combat that?

Every time I sit down in front of the computer I worry the words will not come.  I combat that fear by free writing.  Divorcing the writing from the task of spinning a story allows me to tap into a well of creative images and ideas.  I’m constantly amazed by what I dredge up during a free writing exercise.

     What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing?

    The first scene in a story is always the most difficult for me.  Picking the precise moment to join a life in progress, figuring out what information is necessary and what can wait … that’s a lot of pressure!

    What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching)

All of the above!  I draw on my own relationships, stories I read in the news, random people I meet in the community, snippets of lyrics … it all gets mixed up and mushed together in my head. 

    What do you do when you aren’t writing?

I earn a living teaching government to college kids.  I spend “free time” hanging out with my friends, watching movies with my husband, napping with our cats, cooking, crafting . . .

 
    What is next for you?

I just finished up the third Mystery a la Mode (A Parfait Murder).  I’ve got a few projects in the hopper right now—another cozy series, a darker mystery series, a romantic suspense—and I’m trying to figure out which is the best fit for me right now


You can find out more about Wendy on her website or her Facebook. You can also find her blogging on www.killercharacters.com 
and
www.mysteryloverskitchen.com 

In honor of Wendy's Mystery a la Mode series, let's talk ice cream! What is your favorite flavor? Favorite brand? Weirdest flavor you have ever tasted/heard of? 

Friday Plot Swap~ The Musical

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
 
I don't write with music playing. For me, it is too much of a distraction. But, each of my WIPs have their own soundtrack. These are songs I listen to when I am stuck that remind me of the theme and direction of the story. 
For our Friday Plot Swap, here are a few that have sparked my imagination

Look at this photograph. Every time I do it makes me laugh. How did our eyes get so red? And what the hell is on Joey's head?
 
(Or Joe Eli or Robert Earl Keen)
 
They left the lawman dying. They made their get away. Got back to the motel just before the break of day. Sonny gave her all the money and he blew a little kiss. If they ask you how this happened say I forced you into this. 
 
(Yes, I know Simon and Garfunkel did it first)

Hang on to your hopes, my friend. That's an easy thing to say, but if your hopes should pass away, simply pretend that you can build them again. 
 
So, what songs make your brain start ticking or  help you barrel through writer's block? Leave us a few lyrics for Friday Plot Swap!
 

Say Goodbye

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Saying Goodbye
First, I must ask your forgiveness for the personal, non-writing related nature of this post. I have some great writers lined up for Tell Me Your Story Tuesday. I am very excited about them and invite you to come visit in the next few weeks and say hello. 

But today, I need to say goodbye. 

Monday, for the second time in less than a year, we made the decision to set one of our beloved four-legged friends free from suffering.

All I have to say about that is, sometimes, being a grown up sucks. 


These were our first two "children"

This is Attie. The picture doesn't do her justice. She was a large, beautiful Australian Shepherd with a thick coat and a love for food.  She liked to tuck one foot under when she laid down and hated house flies with a passion. When our other dogs knocked down the fence and were caught by animal control, the officer told us even though Attie was on the back patio when they caught her friends, he tried to coax her to the truck, worried that with no fence, she would go into the street and possibly be hit by a car. She refused to  leave the patio. That was exactly where we found her when we returned home hours later. Waiting to tattle  on the other dogs.
We adopted her at six weeks old in February 1999. She left us in June of 2010. 

This was her constant companion, Chase. We adopted him in May of 1999. He was already over a year old. The shelter workers told us he had lived on his own in a field for about three months before they were able to coax him into the car. He wiggled his whole butt rather just his tail and was an escape artist. He was on a first name basis with animal control in one city. When we moved to a trailer park, he found another family that he liked and would frequently go visit. They would let him come in, play with their kids and eventually bring him home. When we moved to our current house, he discovered a special place under the fruit trees in our backyard where he was content to spend the day watching the world go by.  He was with us until yesterday. 

So, tell me a dog story today. Or a cat, bird, iguana, whatever your animal friend of choice may be. It doesn't have to be about saying goodbye. In fact, I would love to hear some funny stories about their goofiness. I want to be reminded of great it is for them to win our hearts even though it hurts this much when we have to say goodbye.

Friday Plot Swap!

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Have you seen a news story that got your wheels turning?  Do you have a plot in your head that would make a great story, just not one you intend to write?  
Leave it here on Fridays 
or 
pick up a plot for your weekend writing time.
Here is what I have for you this Friday: 
So, what are you plotting this weekend? 
What would you do with these?  



Why my weekend ROCKED!

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

My weekend ROCKED because 

 I got to meet Sandra Brown!
who was awesome and friendly and someone you just want to go have a drink with and listen to her tell stories.




I hung out with these people. Who are awesome and friendly and going to all sign books for me some day!




I also got to hang with  these people. Who I already knew were awesome and friendly and going to sign their books for me this year!















And we ROCKED the DFWcon shoe grudge!
(My feet are the too-white-to-even-show-up-in-the-flash, but I had pretty toenails!)

So, tell me your story! What was the best part of the weekend for you? Who are your awesome and cool, new friends? How were your shoes?

*I know lots of people are recapping DFWcon today. I will be describing my experience on Thinking about Thursday. *