Monday, April 1, 2019

Just Saying...

It's true! Maybe it isn't a new pair of shoes. Maybe it's something else. But something, anything, new, will change your life. I have always been a very safe person. By that I mean, I am hesitant to try new things. I think the hesitancy stems from fear of failure. I am contemplating making some big changes in my life, but I just can't seem to make the move. Yes, what this sign says is true, but what if the new pair of shoes changes my life for the worse instead of for the better? Yeah, I know, pessimistic.

My aunt passed away, and this past week, my brother and I flew together to Chicago for her funeral. He is the polar opposite of me. He embraces change. He thrives on trying new things. He flies by the seat of his pants and has no problem adjusting to all the hiccups he encounters. This made it hard to travel with him (let's just say we are lucky we made any of our flights on time), but it also inspired me. I don't think I will ever be as carefree as he is, but I am inspired to make the changes I mentioned above. I am also inspired to try new things. I don't want any regrets.

What about you? Are you a change junkie? Or are you boring and predictable like me?

Monday, March 25, 2019


Yes, it is here. I know the official first day of Spring was March 21, but I don't pay much attention to the calendar. For me, it's Spring when the snow is gone and it's warm enough to go outside without fifty thousand layers. I love Spring. It's like a fresh canvas or a blank piece of paper. The possibilities seem endless.

I was able to get out and do a little yardwork over the weekend, and I was upset to see that one of the shrubs we planted in the fall had died. It is odd to me that only one died. It's literally sandwiched between two identical plants. They received the same amount of sun. They received the same amount of water. So why did the one die and the other two survive? It's a mystery. At any rate, I was not happy about it. But I guess I shouldn't complain. We planted 27 shrubs and 3 trees, and this boxwood is the only one we lost.

I carefully planned our landscape project before planting. I researched what plants would thrive in certain locations. I measured out exactly how far apart to plant them. I read how-to books on caring for each different type of shrub. And after all of that, I began planting. I hate to think of what a mess it would have been had I just willy-nilly started digging and planting. I think the end result would have been a complete eye sore, and we would have lost a lot more than just one plant.

So, this brings me to the point of this post. I used to be an organic writer. I would just start writing, and I'd let the characters lead me through the story. Although the writing process was way faster, the end result was always an eye sore. It was a jumbled mess of scenes that didn't fit, characters that were ambling with no purpose, and story arc? Ha! Forget that! Writing organically might work for some people. But I have learned it does not work for me. My current project is one that I had a full outline to follow and deeply developed characters before I wrote even one sentence. I'm really glad I gave planning a try. It's working out much better than flying by the seat of my pants.

How do you write?

Monday, March 18, 2019

My Dream Home

When I'm lost in my characters' world, this is where I live. It's a world I have created, and the outside world is far off in the distance. It's easy to get comfortable in this house and never come out. Sometimes I have to force myself out the door and into the bright light of my real life.

Before I took my absurdly long break from writing seven years ago, I spent way more time in my fictional world than I did in my real world. This proved costly to both worlds. My writing suffered because I lacked real life experiences. And my everyday life suffered because I was never fully present. Part of me was always back in that shoe house.

I have learned that balancing both worlds is of utmost importance. When it comes right down to it, the worlds we create come from ideas we've discovered in the real world. The fictional world cannot exist without our real world experiences. I believe that one of the biggest favors any writer can do for themselves is to put the pen down, or in this day and age, close the laptop, and get out there and live. That shoe house will still be there when you get back, and it will be a much better place because of what you bring back with you.

Have you ever been too caught up in your fictional world that you forget to live the real life you've been given?

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Season For Everything

I, for one, am ready for this season to pass. I love you, Winter. I really do. But you've outstayed you're welcome. Someone bring on the flipflops!

This is how I felt about my writing life at the end of 2018. Obviously, I didn't blog for seven years, but you know what else I didn't do for seven years? Write. I mean, I dabbled a little here and there, and I spent some time on revisions and editing, but I did not write. I missed it terribly, but just as with the weather, there is a season for everything.

I was meant to be doing something else for those seven years, and I have no regrets because they were important things. And just like Winter, I loved every second of those seven years. But Spring has arrived! I started writing again several weeks ago, and it feels like sunshine. I didn't realize how much I had missed it. I'm sure there will be more winters in my future, but for right now, I'm basking in the sun.

Has your writing every come to a standstill because you were called to do something else?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Divine Intervention

Do you believe in it? I do. I've experienced a lot of it in the last few years. The definition of divine intervention, according to is "a miracle or act of God (or gods) that causes something good to happen or stops something bad from happening."

Christian fiction is filled with moments of divine intervention. In fact, all fiction has elements of it. Don't you think? Like when the detective miraculously finds the final clue in an unexpected location just in time to save the missing child before the kidnappers kill her. The problem for me is when an author uses it to progress his story, or even worse, resolve the main conflict with a moment of divine intervention that doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the work. I recently read such a book, and I loved it. Up until the end, that is. The moment of divine intervention seemed like a crutch the author used to get his character from point A to point B because he couldn't figure out a better way to do it. It felt forced and unnatural. And it was not believable.

After I finished the book, I kept trying to figure out why this "miracle" didn't sit well with me as a reader. And I finally figured it out. The hero wasn't actively trying to solve his problem. The solution just fell into his lap. And then it was over. The problem was solved. End of story. Take my poor example of the detective above. He is actively trying to find clues. It just so happens that the he stumbles across the clue he needs in a place he isn't looking. But he IS looking. He IS doing something. And, the clue itself doesn't solve the detective's problem. It only gives him the tools he needs to solve the problem. He still has to go find the child and save her from her demise.

Miracles in novels are great. I love them. But they can't take the place of the character's actions. And they can't solve the main conflict all by themselves.

What about you? Read any books with divine intervention lately? Did it work? Did it not work? Why?