Walk the Spooky Plank!

Although I don’t participate in Hallowe’en, writing challenges are a different matter! This month’s Walk the Plank challenge from the YA Buccaneers has a “ghost story” theme. The challenge is to write a 200-word (or fewer) piece of flash fiction with some spooky, creepy, ghoulishness to it. As usual there’s a drawing for a prize, and you can earn bonus points by:

  • Writing exactly 200 words
  • Including the opening words “It was a cold Halloween night…”
  • Including the closing words “I screamed.”

So, without further ado…

It was a cold Halloween night, but I needed to get out of the house. The music was too loud, and there were too many people, like Jake invited half the school. I thought maybe Kaylee Cooper would turn up. Hoped. Not that she would be looking for me.

I sat on the front steps, wishing this Doctor Frankenstein lab coat was thicker. My phone buzzed. A text message:

jeremy. look right

I looked right. The street light picked out a girl in vampire costume at the edge of the house. My heart skipped.

“Hi, Kaylee—”

She turned and ran behind the house.

“Wait!” I said, running after her.

She headed toward a wooded area, then disappeared into the trees. I followed, hoping she wasn’t too far ahead. Soon I came to a clearing, with what looked like a stone altar in the middle. Kaylee lay on top, black cloak wrapped around her, eyes fixed on me in an icy stare, a line of blood drooling down her chin.

Then I saw the blood around her neck.

And the pool of blood under her head.

I reached into her cloak and pulled out her cold, lifeless hand.

I screamed.

Want to try the challenge? Visit the YA Buccaneers blog for details.

What’s Up Wednesday

Time for another round of What’s Up Wednesday, brought to you, as always, by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Check out their blogs to find out what it’s all about. After last week’s enormous post, this ones’ much shorter:

What I’m Reading

I’m still working my way through THE GOSPEL AND THE GREEKS (see last week). My reading has slowed a lot since I’ve been concentrating on trying to finish revisions to the WIP. I’m sure my writer friends understand. It’s a bit frustrating because I have a number of good books waiting in the wings. Patience, my friends, patience!

What I’m Writing

As I just mentioned, I’m still revising the WIP. I’m close to 60% through, so while there’s a ways to go yet, I’m making good progress, I think. Also, yesterday I posted a piece of flash fiction for Robin Moran’s Gruesome Giveaway. There are four ways to enter (flash fiction being one), and she’s offering a book to the winner of each category. Check out the contest page for details. Since my post this week is relatively short, take a moment to go to yesterday’s article and read my story. I’ll wait for you. Done? Thanks! Okay, moving on…

What Inspires Me Right Now

Those of you who left nice, encouraging comments regarding the snippet of my WIP that I posted last week. I didn’t post it to fish for compliments, or really to get any critiques, but the fact some of you seemed to genuinely like it spurs me on to finish it. Especially given the struggles you know I’ve been having over the voice, the comments really helped–so thank you, guys!!

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Nothing strange or startling. Just life, and life’s good, so I’m not complaining.

How about you–how’s your week been? Visit Jaime’s blog to find out how to join the blog hop!

What’s Up Wednesday: Book of the Month for September 2013 Edition

It’s Wednesday, and time for our weekly check-in on how things are going with me (and all the other What’s Up Wednesday participants), courtesy of Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. This week, since it’s now October, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you the book that I consider my favorite read for the previous month. Without further ado…

What I’m Reading & My Book of the Month for September 2o13

First, I’m currently reading THE GOSPEL AND THE GREEKS by Ronald H. Nash. The book essentially evaluates the oft-cited claim that the New Testament writers borrowed from the thought and worldview of Greek philosophy and pagan religion. This used to be a popular argument against the Bible until some years ago, when experts in the fields of ancient history and theology pointed out that while the pagans and the Christians may sometimes sound alike, their worldviews were a million miles apart. Unfortunately, the message hasn’t got through to everyone, and many still recycle these old claims. Nash’s book revisits the arguments and reasserts the uniqueness of Christian theology over against Plato, Aristotle, Philo, and the Mystery Religions. There’ll be a Goodreads review when I’ve finished it.

Probably no surprise to anyone, but my pick of September is A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini. Though I read some really good books last month (all 5-star, I believe), Hosseini’s book just eclipsed the others. It’s well-written, easy to follow, absorbing, and full of atmosphere and well-defined characters–everything you want in a good novel. I’ve already said a lot about it, and I’ve said more on Goodreads, so I’ll leave it at that.

What I’m Writing

Still editing the WIP. Since I’m sure you’re getting bored of me whining about it, I’m going to share a brief excerpt. Pearl, my alien girl, is at a large manor house where she’s helping the servants in exchange for somewhere to stay. In this scene, Pearl is talking to Lucy, the scullery maid, while helping her with her chores. Their conversation turns to the daughter of the house, a rather stuck-up sixteen year old who is disliked by the entire serving staff:

“Why is she so snappy and hard? Earl Tregellis seems like a nice man. Did he not teach her how to be nice?”

“I don’ know,” said Lucy. “P’raps it’s ‘cos she’s been born into priv’lige and she always gets what she wants. P’raps it’s because she ain’t got no siblin’s to keep her ‘umble. Maybe she’s jus’ a bad’un.”

I listened to Lucy’s reasons, and understood very few of them. I worked out that “priv’lige” meant being part of a “family” that lives in a big house, has servants, and can buy whatever they need. But there was one word she used that really confused me.

“What do you mean by ‘siblin’s’?”

“You know, brothers and sisters,” she said.

“Brothers and sisters? What are those?”

Lucy stopped scrubbing for a moment. Then she laughed.

“I forgot; you don’ speak English naturally. Not sure what you would call ‘em in Swedish. You understand Mum and Dad, yes? Parents?” She was watching my face, and saw my look of I-don’t-know-what-the-spak-you-mean.

“Thems that raises you, looks after you?”

“Guardians?” I said.

“Yeah, I suppose that’ll do,” said Lucy. This was exciting because I was wanting to learn more about “parents,” but something about Lucy’s words told me this is something I should know if I’m from Earth, so I had to be careful about my questions. Now I knew that “parents” are like our Guardians—but the way Lucy said “that’ll do” told me that wasn’t all.

“Well, your guardians… you know,” she said, making her eyebrows wiggle like I should know, but I didn’t know. Her face turned a bit red. “Uhh—and then out comes little ‘uns. Boys are sons, girls are daughters, and sons and daughters together are siblin’s.”

You know?”

“Yes,” Lucy said. “You know.” She wiggled her eyebrows again.

“No, I don’t know,” I said. “What is this you know?”

“Jus’… you know—like when a man and a woman…” Lucy was becoming more red in the face. “Oh, it was hard enough ‘splainin’ it to me brother, let alone a foreigner!”

“Splainin’ what?”

“Never mind,” she said. “Just the guardians have sons and daughters, and these are siblin’s.”

“And Miss Caroline doesn’t have any siblin’s?”

“No,” said Lucy. “And I think it shows. All she does is sit in ’er room readin’ books an’ sendin’ for food. She don’t go out, she don’t play, she don’t see no boys—and that ain’t natr’al for a girl of her years. His lordship has tried to get her to go to balls and dos, but she won’t ‘ave it. She’s sixteen and all she does is sits and reads and talks bad to us—oh, and eats ‘erself fat.”

Okay, that’s enough. If you want to read more, I’m open to hear from people who want to be beta readers. Email me if you’re interested.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Nothing in particular, and everything in general. :)

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Since this post is already getting very long, I’ll just mention the fact that I won the YA Buccaneer’s September Giveaway! Woo Hoo! Thanks to the friendly pirates, there’ll be a book on its way to me. If you want to enter for October’s giveaway, check out the YA Buccaneers blog to find out how you can get your name in the pirate hat.

How’s your week been? To participate in What’s Up Wednesday, check out Jaime’s blog, and see the linky list to visit other WUW-ers.

 

Why Christians Must Write, and What They Must Write About

I came across this lecture by Pastor Doug Wilson, who has himself authored a fair few books and articles. He makes some interesting and useful points, so I thought I would share it. Hopefully you’ll find it beneficial, especially if you’re a Christian:

Here’s where the video originally came from: http://www.canonwired.com/featured/wordsmith/

What’s Up Wednesday

Welcome to the last What’s Up Wednesday of September! Can you believe it? September nearly done and dusted. Autumn well and truly here. Where has the year gone? Time for some cooler temps, autumnal colors, seasonal smells, and all the things that come with my favorite quarter of the year! And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that What’s Up Wednesday is a meme created and sponsored by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. By answering four simple questions, meme participants catch each other up on their reading, writing, and life in general.

What I Am Reading

I finished A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini, and it totally lived up to the hype. You may be aware of the trouble Afghanistan has seen over the last 30-40 years, but through the eyes of Mariam and Lalia, these news events come alive. Hosseini’s skillful prose brought the sights, tastes, and atmosphere of this country home to me in a way that could only be improved by actually going there. But this is not a piece of journalism, nor is it a story of war; it’s the story of two women and their struggle to live and love despite their circumstances. I’ve given a full review over on Goodreads. It’s a thought-provoking, emotionally-charged novel. There’s some profanity, and some intense violence, so I don’t recommend it for anyone younger than upper YA and above. But it’s definitely worth reading.

What I’m Writing

I took some time to go back and re-read earlier in my WIP, and I realized that I have become more severe in my edits as I’ve progressed. Specifically, my alien girl’s English vocabulary has become more restricted the further I’ve gone on. What’s particularly telling, however, is the fact that the earlier parts are much easier and more entertaining to read. I think the part of me that strives for authenticity has to realize that while a 16-year-old alien girl’s English vocabulary may not be expansive, for the sake of the story, I’m going to have to exercise artistic license and broaden her linguistic range. After all, the novel has to be readable too. Finding that balance between alien and readable is just another one of the challenges this story presents. Hopefully I’m getting there.

What Inspires Me Right Now

I can’t think of anything that inspires me particularly right now.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Yesterday I posted some flash fiction for the YA Buccaneers “Walk the Plank” challenge. It’s strange but when I read what they gave for an opening line, I thought “1966.” And no matter how hard I tried to change it to something else, it kept coming back to “1966.” So I went with it… and it went to a place I really didn’t expect. If you’re interested, you can read it here. Nothing else strange or startling going on.

How’s your week been? If you want to participate in the meme, go to Jaime’s blog for details and the linky link to add your blog, and/or visit other participating blogs.

Walk the Plank: New Voyages Writing Challenge

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Every month, the motley crew of pirates over at YA Buccaneers challenge writers to come up with some flash fiction based on the month’s theme. This month, the theme is “New Voyages,” and that’s what they want us to write about. To make the challenging that bit more challenging, there are extra points for:

  • Starting with the words “It was the first day of…”
  • Ending with the words “I feel _____ about the next day…”
  • Hitting the word count exactly

They’ve given us fifty more words this month. So, in 250 words, here’s my take on “New Voyages”:

It was the first day of 1966; so said the sign on the Allied Chemical building. Seconds before we were chanting the countdown, all eyes on the ball gliding down, its yellow lights glittering against the night sky. I held Lisa’s hand while around us the crowd erupted into euphoria. My ears rang with the noise, muting all other sound; blind to street signs, buildings, and neon lights. All I could see were people dancing, jostling, holding their loved ones.

I pulled Lisa into my arms and kissed her. I didn’t care about the crowds, or our parents only feet behind us. All that mattered was being here, now, with Lisa. Tears filled our eyes. We held each other, fighting the forces that would tear us apart. But even as I pulled Lisa closer to me than skin, I could feel the draft notice in my coat pocket come between us.

Here we were, beginning a new year, surrounded by thousands of people making resolutions, planning, hoping, wishing, full of expectation and excitement, and all we wanted was to live the moment. I tried to lock every second into my memory. The smell of Lisa’s hair, the warmth of her breath, the hopeless longing in her eyes, the grip of her hand.

In eight hours I’d report for induction. In twenty-four I could be shipping out. I didn’t want this day, this minute, this second to end. I felt so alive right then. I feel numb about the next day.

If you want to take part in the challenge, you have until the end of the month (next week) to join in. You’ll find details on the YA Buccaneers’ blog.

What’s Up Wednesday

Is this really the twelfth WuW I’ve done? Hmm. I must like doing these! What’s WuW? It’s a meme. Who’s meme? Jaime and Erin’s meme. What do you do? Answer four simple questions. Why? So blog friends can catch up on what’s going on with your reading, writing, and life in general.

What I’m Reading

I just started A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini. If you saw my Top Ten Tuesday post yesterday, you’ll know I planned to read it sometime over the Fall. Given that it’s been on my shelf for a long time, I thought I’d go ahead and get started. And so far, so good. If you want the full description of the story, you can look it up on Goodreads. So far, it’s the story of teenage Mariam, who lives in Afghanistan and is the illegitimate daughter of Jalil, a rich business man with two other wives, and ten legitimate children. Mariam’s mother worked for Jalil, and it was while she was in his employ that Mariam was conceived. The circumstances of Mariam’s mother’s pregnancy were a cause for shame, so Jalil built them a small accommodation on the outskirts of town. Jalil visits with Mariam every week, something her mother doesn’t appreciate. Her mother is bitter about her circumstances, and seems to see her daughter as an unwelcome byproduct of a traumatic experience. As a result, Mariam’s affection for her father is deeper than that for her mother. But then things happen to shake up Mariam’s world. The story is set in the early 1970s, and I understand as the story progresses, events in the world, particularly the Middle East, will affect Mariam’s life. We’ll see.

What I’m Writing

Still revising the WIP. Oh revisions, to what shall I compare thee this week? My kids love creating artwork on the computer, either taking line drawings from somewhere online, or drawing their own pictures and coloring them. When they start coloring, they’ll zoom up tight on the part they’re working on, so they can be sure they have just the right shade in exactly the place it needs to be, and to make sure they don’t stray beyond the lines. After, they’ll zoom back out to make sure the overall effect of the coloring is what they intended. This stage of revision is like that up-close coloring. Making sure the words are right, picking apart scenes, going line-by-line checking for voice, description, and those details that make a story pop. After, I’ll do another read-through, “zooming out” to make sure the overall effect is right, that the story flows, that the characters feel real, that story peaks and troughs in the right places, and is generally enjoyable to read. Like the zoomed-in coloring, the current “detail” stage takes a lot longer, but I know it will make a huge difference to the big picture.

What Inspires Me Right Now

As I’m editing, I’ll sometimes read ahead to get the context of the passage I’m working on. And after a few pages, I have to stop myself because I’m getting sucked in, and if I carry on, I’ll read the whole thing and get nothing done. But the very fact I can get sucked into the story encourages me that this rough diamond is worth working on. And with a couple of rounds of editing, and some insightful comments from beta readers, it may actually be worth querying. And possibly even worth publishing!

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Nothing strange or startling. I’m chewing over the new Walk the Plank writing challenge over at the YA Buccaneers blog. Also, I was excited to read that the Chester Beatty collection of New Testament manuscripts is going to be available online in the form of high definition images. I know, I get excited about strange things. But this is particularly cool since a number of these manuscripts are very old (second, third, and fourth century AD). It’s incredible to think anyone, from scholars to amateurs (with sufficient knowledge of Greek, of course), will be able to read and examine them from the comfort of their own chair.

How’s your week been? To participate in the blog hop and/or read other posts, go to Jaime’s linky list.

What’s Up Wednesday

Another week, another What’s Up Wednesday, the blog meme created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk where we check in and let you know how things are going with us. What have we been reading? How’s the writing going? That sort of thing. So, without any further ado…

What I’m Reading

I have a confession. I’m not really into YA Contemporary novels. Not even “not really.” I mean “not.” I don’t usually seek them out, and there has to be something about a particular YA Contemporary novel that makes me want to read it. There are a lot of my blog friends who love Contemporary, and that’s great. It’s just not my cup of tea. So, it might seem a little odd that I read, and actually really enjoyed, Medeia Sharif’s BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. It’s the story of a Muslim teenager trying to respect the principles of her religion (e.g., by keeping to the Ramadan fast), while living and going to high school in Miami, Florida. There are no aliens, life-and-death struggles, murder mysteries, or anything like that. What grabbed my attention about the novel is the fact that this isn’t just an ordinary teenager’s struggles; it’s a Muslim teenager’s struggles. That’s an unusual angle, and, given my interest in theology, of course, I was curious. And then, once I started reading, Medeia’s prose  pulled me right in and wouldn’t let go. I just couldn’t put the book down. Seriously, friends–especially those of you who really enjoy YA Contemporary–if you want YA Contemporary with a twist, something a bit different, check out Medeia’s novel. You won’t regret it. I reviewed it more fully on Goodreads.

At the moment, I’m reading THE HERESY OF ORTHODOXY by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Michael J. Kruger. This book debunks Walter Bauer’s thesis, picked up in recent times by Bart Erhman, that there was no single “orthodox” Christian faith in the first few centuries of the church. Ehrman likes to refer to “Lost Christianities” when speaking of the supposed many forms of the faith that existed in those earliest times. In this book, the authors provide evidence to show that there was, in fact, a solid strand of orthodox belief that went back to Jesus and the Apostles, and that many of Ehrman’s “Lost Christianities” were, in fact, later deviations from that foundational core belief.

What I’m Writing

I know this is going to get old, but I’m still revising/editing my WIP. I’m further along than I was last week, but I still have a way to go yet. This is my first time re-reading it since I finished it at the end of last November, so it’s fun re-discovering all the good bits. Thankfully, there are a number of good bits! I’m not sure how long this is going to take, but if I can minimize distractions, hopefully within the next month or so I’ll be done. I’d especially like to be done by November, since my Mum’s coming to visit, and I’d like to get it in the hands of beta readers before Christmas. That’s the broad plan. I can only hope…

What Inspires Me Right Now

I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone that today is the 12th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. I read this article on CNN’s website yesterday about the first man to die in the course of those attacks. His name was Danny Lewin, by all accounts a genius, an entrepreneur, a relatively young man (he was my age) with everything going for him. He was on Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. Prior to the plane striking the building, flight attendant calls indicated that a passenger had been stabbed to death. The passenger in seat 9B. Danny’s seat. It’s conjectured (we’ll never know for sure) that Danny, who had trained in the Israeli army and knew Arabic, understood what the terrorists were trying to do, and tried to stop them. Why else would they strike out at a single passenger? How can you not be inspired by such selflessness, especially by one who had everything to live for? It puts life in perspective, and makes you that much more determined to make your life count. It does for me, anyway.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Yet another week of “nothing strange or startling.” As I mentioned, my Mum is planning to visit from the UK for the month of November, so we’re all looking forward to that. One of the things I’m doing is working out a time-off/work from home schedule to maximize the time I spend with her. It’s been about three years since her last visit, so it’ll be good to see her again.

What have you been up to? Visit Jaime’s blog for a linky list of other participants, and for details on how to join the WUW blog hop.

What’s Up Wednesday: Book of the Month for August Edition

I said last week that I’d do a Book of the Month sometime around the weekend. Well, I decided to combine it with this week’s What’s Up Wednesday. I hope that’s okay with everyone. Thanks! For those who have stumbled onto my blog and are wondering what’s going on, What’s Up Wednesday is a blog meme created by writer-sisters Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to help readers and writers keep up with one another. Each week, we respond to four questions and read one another’s answers. That way, we stay in touch, get good book recommendations, and maybe get to know each other a little better. What’s up with me? Let me tell you…

 

What I’m Reading/Book of the Month for August, 2013

I finished reading THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker, and ended up voting it the best book I read in August. As I mentioned last week, the premise of the book is “what if the Earth’s rotation started slowing down”? The novel explores the effects of this, particularly upon the world of eleven-year-old Julia. Some of the effects are obvious (changes in gravity, longer days, longer nights, etc.), and some perhaps not-so-obvious (climate change due to longer periods of dark/sunlight, birds unable to fly, crop growth hampered by lack of sunlight for extended periods, scheduling nightmares as the number of hours in a day increases, etc.). Indeed, one of the most appealing aspects of the novel is the fact that it takes an abstract, speculative idea, and makes it concrete and tangible. And Karen’s prose is very good, and sucks you right into this world which is familiar, and yet growing more unfamiliar chapter by chapter. The main downside to the book for me was the way Karen handled religion, and her depiction of religious people. I think she could have been a little more even-handed, or not mentioned them at all. I’ve reviewed the book more fully on Goodreads if you’re interested.

I’ve started reading THE LOST WORLD OF GENESIS ONE: ANCIENT COSMOLOGY AND THE ORIGINS DEBATE by John H. Walton. I was intrigued by this having read Dr. Walton’s ANCIENT NEAR-EASTERN THOUGHT AND THE OLD TESTAMENT. Walton is a Christian, and I like his approach to the Old Testament, which both respects the culture in which the texts were written and the Christian conviction that these texts are inspired. I have an inkling of where he’s going to go with regard to Genesis 1, so I’m interested to see what position he takes on this age-old debate, and his reasoning behind it.

What I’m Writing

Revisions to the WIP/first draft. Still making slow progress. Imagine taking a Shakespeare play and going line-by-line, rewriting the text in modern language, or in an odd dialect. That’s a rough analogy to my revision of this WIP, and why it’s taking a long time to do. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I’m sending to betas. I love this book, but I’m ready to work on something new.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Nothing specifically. Seeing a page of revisions complete (but not looking at how many pages are still left!), or hearing about 64-year-old Diana Nyad swimming from Cuba to Florida… or even reading a story and having ideas for other stories. So nothing specifically, and everything!

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Nothing strange or startling, as my Mum says. I know it seems boring for me to say “work, church, family” every week, but trust me–none of it is boring. I’m just sure you don’t want to hear all the details. Our homeschool started back this week, as my wife once again faces the challenge of teaching our kids who range from 4th to 12th grade. And my Mum has booked her tickets for a visit in November, which means I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo this year, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Having Mum over for a visit is far more important.

So, what have you been up to this week? See Jaime’s blog to find out how you can join the blog hop, and for a list of participating blogs to visit.

What’s Up Wednesday

Dilemma! Should I do a What’s Up Wednesday post, or a RTW Book of the Month post? Clearly, I decided to do a WuW. And if you really want to know what my pick for best read in August is… I’ll blog that sometime around the weekend or shortly thereafter. For those who don’t know, What’s Up Wednesday is a meme devised by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk wherein we respond to four reading/writing-related prompts as a way of catching up with each other. So what’s up with me this Wednesday…?

What I’m Reading

I’m currently reading THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker. In the story, the rotation of the Earth has slowed, causing the gravitational pull to be stronger (with resulting effects on bird flight and baseball), longer days, and so on. In the midst of the panic and confusion, Julia, the 11-year-old main character, has to continue dealing with life–friends leaving, parents arguing, bullies at school, and so on. I’m not very far into it (my fault, not the book’s), so I can’t say much about it. I will say this: the MC’s age might be misleading with regard to genre. This is not an MG novel. I don’t think it’s ever stated, but I think Julia is narrating the story as a much older person. The things she focuses on, and the insight she brings to the events are not what you would expect of someone in middle school. In other words, the story might be about Middle Graders, but the voice is definitely not MG. I thought this an interesting observation, especially since we often ask ourselves what makes a YA or MG book YA or MG. As this book shows, it’s not just about the age of the characters.

What I’m Writing

I’m still working on revisions to the WIP. It’s slow going, partly due to life, and also partly because I wrote the first draft without much thought to vocabulary and voice. My main consideration as I wrote this novel was the story, with the occasional alien word and hints at a voice as they came to me. Now, I’m having to go through each line carefully, thinking “Is that something she would say? Does she know that word, or concept? How else might she express that thought?” Sometimes this results in a word substitution. Sometimes it results in entire sentences or paragraphs being removed or re-written. Some might argue this is where the real craft of writing lies, and I must admit, I think there’s a lot of truth to that. It took creative energy and inspiration to write the first draft. But it’s in this stage that the story moves from being a story to my story. This is where the clunky prose and half-developed ideas hopefully become elegant phrases and fully realized narrative. It where the humanoid-shaped hunk of marble becomes Michelangelo’s “David”–or something like that. And when it’s done, it’s off to beta readers, who will help me make it even better! That’s the plan anyway.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Nothing specific, except the craft of writing itself. It’s very easy to be inspired to write when you’ve just written something that, at least to your ear, sounds really good. Or when you confront a challenging passage, and you’re not sure how to express that idea, or if that idea needs to be expressed. These are the things that keep me at it. And rewards. I’ve promised myself a nice reward when the novel is beta reader ready.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Aside from the usual things in life, I participated in yet another Janet Reid Writing Contest this past weekend. I was quite pleased with my entry, and while it didn’t win, it did get special recognition for “minimalism” (see the results, and read the finalists’ entries HERE). By this, Janet was referring to the fact that I used all five challenge words consecutively in one phrase. I confess, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, so I was especially pleased it worked. I’m thinking about doing the next one (whenever that is) as a rhyming poem. Yes–I love a writing challenge! In fact, I’ve been thinking about compiling all my JRWC entries into one article. It might be interesting to see how I’ve grown as a writer over the past few years of doing these. What do you think?

What have you been up to this past week? See Jaime Morrow’s blog for details on how to participate, and to find out what’s up with other people.

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