Baking for a Baker – #14

Jenna’s an average baker. Nothing too fancy or complicated works for her. And she doesn’t really need to do much baking because Jim’s Bakery is downstairs from her apartment. Jim and his wife Rosa are of the same Slovakian descent as Jenna, and they’ve pretty much adopted her as their own since Jenna’s parents live…

Writers on Vacation

Even the most passionate, dedicated writer needs a break. Perhaps you’re in between projects, feel a bit bogged down by the process, or don’t have a clue where the plot of your story is headed. A vacation is a good way to step away from the writing process and give your mind a well-deserved respite….

The Shawl – #13

What do you do when something as seemingly unimportant as a shawl materializes in your mind and tells you it has a part to play in your story? It not only knows the place, it shows you. It leads you to the exact scene, and as it settles in, tells you of its significance going…

Dog Day Rescue

In the dog days of summer, it’s tempting to want to relax a bit and let your story drift along on its own. Like you (perhaps) imagining yourself floating aimlessly on an inner tube on a lake somewhere – right? Trouble is, those scenes are going to read like they’ve succumbed to the summer heat…

Centuries Apart – #3

In the first two blogs, I shared information focused on the geographic locations of the story and the general timelines. I told you a bit about the main characters, but I thought you’d like to get to know them a little better. New York City – present day: Jenna Hickson is 32 (an only child),…

I’ve Never Been There!

The world you create for your readers has to be a place they can picture in their minds. It has to be believable, even if it’s a fantasy world. It’s like a base camp; your reader needs to be able to settle there and feel comfortable as they acquaint themselves with the characters you create…

The Castle Chose – #2

My novel-in-progress takes place in two, distinct locations and time periods. I’ll use two, significant characters to help explain. Jenna Hickson lives in present-day New York City, and Sophia deKeith is living in 14th century Scotland. You may wonder how there can be a connection between the two, but there is. And… just in case…

Just a Name?

Names are how we identify things – people, places, things, etc. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to concentrate on the names we give to the characters in the stories we write. I have found that choosing a name is quite an undertaking, and it’s one that should not be taken lightly! A…

It’s All in the Details!

Details breathe life into a story. The senses are awakened and heightened, transporting the reader into the world created by the writer. But there’s another, powerful purpose to small details that brings an added dimension to a story. Don’t Overdo If you choose to give an enhanced role to a small detail, choose wisely and…

Research, Your BFF!

If you’re going to write a credible story that your readers will want to invest in, it must be believable. And to be believable, you have to research, research, research! I know it can be tedious, and I sometimes wonder if readers would notice if something is a little “off.” Trust me, they will! There…

Valentines – Give and Get?

February is the month of love – Valentine’s Day and all. I listened as a mother told me she had to deliver valentines for the entire class at her daughter’s school. That got me to thinking about my own school days and the fact that we didn’t give valentines to everyone. It was a life…

The Surgery Window

There are times when part of a set becomes a fascinating, compelling part of a story. I noticed the window in the first few episodes of Season One of Outlander and followed it along as it played a captivating role in the dramatic impact of the scene where it appeared. I was struck by how…

Hurricanes and Rowboats

It’s a feeling I am familiar with. Anyone who’s finished writing a story might feel the same. I felt lost, like I was adrift in a boat with no oars or motor. The story had come to an end, but this time it was magnified. It was the end of a series – the cumulative…

Conquering the Messy Middle

We’ve all heard of (and endured) the “messy middle” of a story. When I get there, I start to feel fatigued; perhaps my characters do, too. They also seem uncertain, hesitant, and fearful of what’s to come. They hold back with good reason – the middle of my stories contains the low point, and what’s…

Don’t Diss the Details

I love a story with details. I think they have the power to bring a story to life, make it believable, and put the reader right where you want them – hooked, immersed, and with the feeling that they are actually there with your characters. But I would caution against meaningless detail. You want those…

This Writer’s Toolbox

Writing is a process of total immersion into the world around me. It is not limited to the actual task of writing – pen, paper, computer, etc. To create a believable and inviting world for readers, I must first create one for myself, as a writer. I create this world by seeking out and using…

Broken Promises

She spoke softly with a mix of sadness and anger. I couldn’t see her face, but sensed the tears filling her eyes and felt them spill onto the Earth. “You gave me your word; that you would not let harm come to her. You promised to care for and nurture her.” “I did what I…

Trust Your Inner Voice

Every writer welcomes and treasures those times when the writing comes easy. The scenes pretty much write themselves – all you have to do is put your hands on the keyboard and they settle themselves into your story with ease and grace. What happens when that inner voice guiding you goes silent and the writing…

Mixing It Up

I have evolved as a writer in that I need (not want) to write every day. It’s woven itself into the fabric of my very being. If I find the day slipping by and I haven’t written in one form or another, unease and guilt seeps into my soul. To relieve my self-imposed angst and…

Story As Tree

Now that spring has arrived (for the most part), I thought it would be interesting, and hopefully of some help, to create an analogy between a story and a tree. I think it will work; I’m exploring as I write, so hang in there with me and we’ll see where this thing goes. Before any…

Outlander: Back to the Beginning

I thought it would be fun to go back to Season One, Episode One (“Sassenach”) of Outlander and look at the foreshadowing/interesting bits that would show up in later episodes/seasons. The first time I watched it, I had no way of knowing what details would be a clue or a strategically placed bit with a…

Chocolate Sampling

There are those who say it’s bad manners to take a bite of a chocolate candy and put it back in the box. I would respond by buying them their own box, because those partially eaten chocolates have a role to play when it comes to my writing. Sure, there might be a guide on…

Story Sandwich

Can you think of your story as a sandwich? Have I lost my mind? Probably. But it’s been a while since breakfast. Let’s think about the two pieces of bread as the beginning and end of your story. They need to be appealing, satisfying, and somewhat sturdy if they are going to support whatever fillings…

Three

I bought this little grouping and gave it to my mother on the first Mother’s Day my daughter was alive (1977). I felt it represented the three of us, three generations of women in our family. When my mother passed from this life (15 years ago today), I took it back and have it in…

Not Available in Stores

In this season of gift-giving, I look back with a grateful heart and mind at those I received that had a direct influence on my present status as a writer. I had no notion in those early years, but now I see that my family was (perhaps unknowingly) planting the seeds that would lead me…

Dimmer Switch Request

An image on Facebook prompted me to write this blog. The post read as follows: “A writer is working when looking out the window.” “That’s me!” my mind shouted. (I would have shouted out loud, but I was at work and being on Facebook during office hours is frowned upon.) Conscientious employee that I am,…

Where is This Going, Anyway?

There are times where I need to write, and I have no idea where the inspiration is going to come from. What I have learned from these short pieces, is that they’re about so much more than what I thought or originally intended. I’ll provide a couple of examples – you can read the entire…

Changing Hats

The image of the peddler with the stacks of hats in “Caps for Sale” by Esphyr Slobodkina seems to ring true for me these days. I’m not selling hats, but I am wearing a lot of them (figuratively speaking). They’re not colored, like the peddler’s checked, gray, brown, blue, and red. I guess they could…

When You Have to Kill Someone

Let’s clarify something right away. I’m talking about killing in our story. Please don’t call the cops or report me to the FBI. I don’t want to go to prison or be added to the no-fly list. Now that we’ve that put to rest, I want to tell you how hard it was for me…