"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Elusive Ending

I'm struggling with the end of a piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago. The first draft flowed right out (total pantser here ;-). In one sitting, I had a completed story line - with the exception of the perfect ending. I feel like the rest of the story is nearly perfect in the first draft form, but I can't seem to find the right combination of words to tie it up nicely.

As is, the ending seems too abrupt. It's like I've quit too soon after the climax. The emotional space devoted to bidding farewell to the characters is awkward, although I feel the emotional closure is almost complete. I feel I need just the perfect sentence or two to finish it, but for some reason, the muse has left me hanging.

Does this happen to you? How do you find your "perfect ending"?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Last of the January Submission Opportunities

Spirit First is pleased to announce its Meditation Poetry Contest 2015. Poetry submissions may be of any length and any style but must have a theme of Meditation, Mindfulness, Silence, Stillness, or Solitude (we are referring to peaceful solitude and contemplation--not loneliness). First Prize $200. Free to enter. Deadline: January 31, 2015. For more information and how to enter, see our website at www.SpiritFirst.org. We can accept up to 3 poems from each poet. Last year we received 1,752 poems from around the world, and we look forward to another amazing gathering of poems in our 2015 contest. Thank you, poets, for your beautiful writing--we wish you the very best in our new contest.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses - This will be our third book for nurses with coauthor LeAnn Thieman.We all know that times are tough in healthcare today. Nurses are dedicated and caring professionals who are doing more... with less. We are looking for true stories that will inspire, support, motivate and nurture those in the nursing profession. These true stories can be serious or humorous. They should be heartwarming and uplifting stories that will make our readers laugh, cry, sigh or just say, "Wow!" The deadline for story and poem submissions has been extended to January 25, 2015.

READER'S DIGEST POETRY PRIZE http://www.rd.com/poetry NO ENTRY FEE. The simple rules are to craft a compelling poem, in fewer than 16 lines, that the judges deem as the best. The finalist will receive a cash prize of $500, plus publication. Deadline January 31, 2015. Open to U.S. residents ages 18 and over.

NELSON AGREN AWARD https://algren.submittable.com/submit NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 31, 2015. Limit 8,000 words. Fiction only. One grand prize winner will receive $3,500. Four finalists will each receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $500. Limit two entries.

THE JAMES WHITE AWARD http://www.jameswhiteaward.com/rules OPTIONAL ENTRY FEE. The James White Award is a competition for original short stories of not more than 6,000 words by non-professional writers. The closing date for entries to this year's competition is midnight (GMT) 31 January 2015 The winner will be announced at Dysprosium, Eastercon 2015 (3-5 April, 2015) during the BSFA Awards ceremony (details to be confirmed). This year's prize is £200 plus publication in Interzone. The competition is free to enter but we encourage authors (and others) to support the competition by making a donation, if they can. Deadline January 31, 2015.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories about the Christmas Season Our holiday books are very popular. We do a new edition every other year and so we are now collecting stories for our Christmas 2015 book. Share your special stories about the holiday season - including Chanukah and Kwanzaa - from inspirational and joyous, to heartwarming and humorous. Remember all of the stories in our Christmas books are "Santa Safe" - we don't want to spoil the magic for children. The deadline for story and poem submissions is January 31, 2015.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

What Can Go Wrong?

I do most of my writing just after lunch, or late at night. I have to wake up early to get the kids off to school, and the morning hours are spent running errands or making appointments. Just after I eat lunch, I get a short burst of energy which seems to offer a renewed concentration. Unfortunately, a couple hours later, I leave to pick the kids up from school and the evenings are spent cooking, completing homework, and various other lifetime achievement awards.

I love my family, and they will always come first, but this doesn’t seem to help me create a stable work schedule. Activities and other demands invariably pop up during “writing time”. I suspect I’m not the only writer who suffers from this condition. There are a lot of advantages to working late at night -- it’s quiet, and few interruptions can arise then.

Just as these “interruptions” occur frequently in our lives, so to must they occur in the lives of your characters. With each chapter you write, ask yourself, “WHAT CAN GO WRONG?” Then let that happen. These hiccups to your characters can be something as small as “the dog escaping the house as they lock up on the way to an important meeting” to something infinitely more troublesome such as “becoming a murder suspect.”

These situations can prolong the conflict. The added tension will help increase reader interest, and the smaller interruptions can lend both believability and likability to your characters. So, the next time something aggravates you, or doesn’t go the way you want it to, ask yourself what your character would do in a similar situation. How would they handle it?

What are some of your favorite situations gone wrong?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sarcasm, Snark & Sass Blogfest

Today is the "Sarcasm, Snark & Sass" blogfest. Hosted by LG Keltner, who is celebrating three years of blogging, today is the celebration of some of our favorite witty (or downright mean) statements.

Want to join in the fun? Check out her page and sign up on the Linky list here.

One of my favorite authors, Jane  Austen, is well known for all three of these qualities. Her books are full of sarcastic, witty, and sassy comments.

Below are just a few of my favorites.

What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year, New You

It’s a new year which means most of us are setting goals – both personal and professional. One of my goals is to become more involved with other writers. I’m doing this by becoming a Board Member of two different writers groups and joining in “The Insecure Writer’s Support Group” founded by ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. He created this group with the express purpose of writers encouraging each other. To learn more about the program: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html

If you are joining me for the first time from the IWSG, thank you for visiting. I look forward to returning the favor, and sharing with you.
Curious about what goals other writers are setting or suggesting? Try some ideas by one of my favorite authors Jody Hedlund: http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/2015/01/15-ways-to-find-writing-inspiration-in.html

I’m still setting my own goals for the year - trying to decide what should stay, what might be a waste of my time, and where I might learn the most. One book has recently helped me to adapt a more positive attitude. You Can, You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner.
I have to admit that I’ve seen Joel Osteen on the television, and flipped straight past him many times. I’ve never watched his program, heard one of his sermons, or read one of his books before. Something about this one grabbed my attention, and I felt the need to buy it a few weeks ago. I’m very glad I did. His positive message was a much needed encouragement to my worn out emotions.

Practical and inspiring, this book can be a balm to any wounded spirit. The anecdotes and true tales shared here are meant to encourage you toward eight qualities: Keep Your Vision in Front of You, Run Your Race, Expect Good Things, Have a Positive Mind Set, Commit to Excellence, Keep Growing, Serve Others, and Stay Passionate.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their attitude, circumstances, or productivity.
If you’d like to read more encouragement from other writers, I suggest a copy of the FREE ebook “The Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Publishing and Beyond”. More than 100 authors (including myself) have contributed their ideas to this anthology which can be downloaded for FREE from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads.
This month I also published an interview of Ashley Weaver in Southern Writer’s magazine. Her first novel just earned her a FOUR book contract!

You can also read my article on Introducing Your Child to Coin Collecting.
No matter what you are working to achieve, goals can be an important part of your life. Set five and see how this simple act can lead to your happiness.
What accomplishments are you proud to share? Have you read the Olsteen book? Do you recommend any others?

Monday, January 5, 2015

12 Blogs Worth Watching in 2015

Jody Hedlund - This award winning Christian romance author writes for both YA and adult. Her candid blog offers authors an inspirational look into what practices help create success for authors at every stage of their career.

Goins, Writer - The blogger behind this blog is Jeff Goins. He has created a vibrant place for writers to gather.

Positive Writer - Bryan Hutchinson has created a dynamic blog with a positive vibe and has built a substantial readership in a relatively short time.

Tara Lazar: Writing for Kids - Children’s Book author, Tara Lazar, has turned her blog into a lively resource for picture book writers.

Helping Writers Become Authors - Katie Weiland’s blog is a great place for fiction writers. If you’re looking for advice on how to write your novel, this is where you can find in-depth advice.
The Write Practice - Created by Joe Bunting, the Write Practice is the place to go if you want to kick-start your writing practice.

Kill Zone - The musings of 11 top authors covering topics daily that inspire, anger, amuse, and entertain us. This blog is a doorway into the thriller and mystery writer's mind.

 Live Write Thrive - This blog by C S Lakin is a haven for writers of fiction. If you’re looking for advice about plotting, or how to overcome tricky grammar problems, Susanne Larkin’s blog is the place to search out.

Terrible Minds - Novelist Chuck Wendig’s blog is an excellent example of how to create an author platform. He’s created a lively blog with many useful tips for fiction writers.

The Write Life - The tagline of this blog is:  … helping writers, create, connect and earn. This interesting site is run by Alexis Grant;

Jennifer Blanchard - This is a zesty blog with great information. Jennifer’s blog is focused on helping writers create novels.
Fiction Notes - Experienced writing coach, author and publisher,  Darcy Pattison, has created an appealing author platform with a blog for fiction writers.

You might also want to check out this post from Writer's Digest: 50 Articles on Writing to Help You in 2015‏

What blogs or posts do you find the most valuable?