Monday, June 28, 2010

WATCH OUT! SOMEONE'S ABOUT TO BE MURDERED!

FAMILY IS EVERYTHING . . .
So no new post this week. My very handsome son
and his beautiful wife
are in town after being out of country for 5 years!
With three gorgeous grandchildren to get to know again,
my priorities are definitely on family this week.
Once they've gone, look for a long and very
boring post as I sit behind the screen, crying,
sniffling, and trying to figure out a way to put my
emotions into a new story.
WATCH OUT, SOMEONE'S ABOUT TO BE MURDERED!
Yup . . .
IT'S SO-O-O CATHARTIC!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What on Earth was God Thinking?

And therein lies the answer...
He isn't on earth. Or of the earth. But we are. And so we have questions: why was my son born without arms, why did Grandpa forget who I am, why did my son die in Iraq? So many questions without answers.
Talking to one of my critters today...
Discussing how we question what God is thinking in certain circumstances. Oh? You never did that? Welllllll....I have. And so have most of us, even if we think "we've arrived" spiritually. The questions are part of who we are. They make us examine our faith from time to time. Make us step out and do things we shouldn't and/or do things we should, even when most people won't.
How about your characters?
Do you allow your characters to have frailties?
If you don't, you're missing out on a wonderful opportunity to create a fully dimensional character. Without doubts, without spiritual questions, how will the reader know where your character stands, or what to expect from her/him in certain situations.
Will a prostitute usually be in church on Sunday?
If you have a character questioning the life she's leading, you just might find her there soaking up the love and forgiveness like a sponge-sorry about the cliche but it really fit here.
Opportunities as abundant as rain in a thunderstorm...
Give your characters a gift. Give them the freedom to question, have doubts, have spiritual strenghts and on occasion, experience an epiphany-aha moment.
Your story will love you for it...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

FEAR AND DEEP PSYCHOSIS!


Have you had an event, so frightening, that you just had to sit down and put the frightening experience to paper? Suspense! A terrible, wonderful, scary thing to waste.

My experience was on a dark and stormy night.

Oops, wrong story. Let’s try again.

Snow battered the wiper blades, the wind howled, and my twelve-year-old daughter had a birthday sleepover. Already, the roads were nearly impassable as we crawled at a slo-mo pace. This better be some birthday party, I thought.

Sliding around a corner, we saw the house. Huge. Birthday balloons waved hello in the front window and a couple balloons were slammed hither and yon on the mailbox by the wind.

We unloaded my daughter’s things, but as she turned from the car, the color drained from her face.

“Mom. I forgot my pillow.”

“Okay, well have fun.” Had to get out of there before she could say… .

“Mom, I can’t sleep without it.” Too late.

I realize I was never nominated Mother of the Year. (Although I’m sure some shrink somewhere, if he talked with my kids, would nominate me for some kind of mother, but I digress).

“All right, all right. I see the writing on the wall. I’ll—be—baack!” Drove home through almost a foot of snow now. Wind still howled, snow still yada, yada, yada.

When I returned to her friend’s home. I stared at the house this time. The trees’ gnarled branches gave the house a creepy look. As if giant arthritic hands surrounded it. I gulped. What did I know about these people? They were veritable strangers and
THEY HAD MY DAUGHTER!

Okay, reality check. I knew their kid, had met them at a school function, and hadn’t heard on the news of any bodies found in their back yard. NOT YET!
And anyway, if she had a problem, she’d call in a Michigan second (ours are different from any others, you see).

Left the pillow in the hands of a grateful daughter (remember that, Rachel, when the shrink asks) and started the engine so I could battle at least 18” of new snow. (I might exaggerate just a bit from time to time).

As I drove away, car sliding side to side, I couldn’t help wonder, what if Rachel were only five? What if she couldn’t call if a problem arose? What if I couldn’t get to her in the storm? What if I’d missed the mug shot of those people on American’s Most Wanted? What if . . . oh why did I ever leave that tiny baby in the hands of those felons!!??!!

Arriving home, sweat speckling my forehead, heart rate somewhere near five hundred, I sat down at the computer, and BLOW OUT THE CANDLES AND SAY GOOD-BYE was born:

In Toledo, Ohio, five small girls huddled together, tears their only comfort. The van imprisoning them drove away from a recently emptied house. One girl couldn’t stop shaking, another continually wiped her nose on her coat sleeve, and two clutched at each other with clawed hands, never taking their eyes off the couple in the front seat. Anger vaulting to the surface, the fifth girl, brave beyond her years, dug fingernails into her hand until the tender skin bled.
The vehicle wasted no time heading for Chicago where, once again, the wheels of corruption would turn another truckload of frightened five-year-olds into pure gold.


Use those rare opportunities when unbelievable, heart-stopping fear strikes to hit the keyboard and write suspense. You only get the opportunity to encounter really creepy a few times in your life.

Anyone with a similar experience that forced you to hit the keyboard?


Thursday, June 3, 2010

JUDGING RESULTS: TAKE TWO ASPIRIN AND REVISIT IN THE MORNING!

It's that time of year again.
Daphne and Genesis results!
I've received a few notes from friends who
were discouraged with the outcome of their
contest entries. Some grumbled,
Oh! The judging!
Another said,
That's it, I'm done writing. Enough already, I'm
not as good as I thought I was.
Allow for the human element...
Judges give up their own time to take on dozens of other
peoples' work. No pay, no thanks, for the most part,
and no time to work on their own projects.
Okay, sounds noble, huh? Let's allow for the human aspect.
Some "might" do it because they think they're REALLY good.
Others, just to be encouragers. Others yes, because someone
did a bit of arm twisting followed by a dose of guilt. And they
felt obligated.
Did you get a bad crit? From one judge or all?
The same comments from all?
Take two aspirin and revisit
your work in the morning.
Don't make any rash decisions or quick changes.
Think about the judging comments, any that were similar,
roll over in your mind and decide if they really apply
to you. Be honest, be open-minded.
If two or three judges loved something and one was
having PMS at the moment, then put aside the one
negative and concentrate on the constructive crits of the others.
Step away from the crits for a couple days and come back.
BUT DON'T QUIT WRITING.
YOU ARE A WRITER WHEN YOU HAVE TO WRITE
AS SURELY AS YOU HAVE TO BREATHE!!!!
If the judges were spot on, then start taking some of the
wonderful free classes in cyberland.
ACFW offers plenty and so does Faithwriters.com.
You have free writing help at your fingertips.
Learn and rewrite. Learn more and rewrite again.
Soon you'll be a pro at POV and Show and Tell and
you'll be getting offers for partials and fulls.
JUST DON'T GIVE UP!!!
Judging is subjective. Learn from it, move on, and work
your way to publication.
YOU'RE BETTER THAN YOU THINK!