My kids have one week of school left! I’m excited because I don’t have to get up quite as early, but to be honest, I’m not looking forward to 8 extra hours of bickering. I’ll probably rent a camper and park it in the backyard. Not sure if I’ll put them or myself in it.
I’m working on revising the 2nd novel I wrote. I was ecstatic about this book when I wrote it and thought I knew it all without ever reading a craft book (this is where you seasoned writers shout, “Amen!”
Can I just say…for the love! It’s taking me longer to revise than my other mss because it’s pitiful. PIT-EEE-FULL!
The plot is solid. I’m pretty good at plot, I’ve yet to be asked to revise one (I have been asked to revise numerous other things.)
For example, every key scene for my MCs were in a bed. LOL Nothing going on that shouldn’t, it’s just they ended up in the same room for one reason or another. As I was reading, I was like WTC? And the writing? First I had to go back and nail down whose POV it was going to be in per scene/chapter, because I’m a recovering headhopper (Thanks, Nora. I blame you.) Then I had to print it again and cut scenes. Some were a joke, some were great but not necessary and it was over 100K…almost 120K! I knocked out at least 5,000K
just by removing “just”. I might be exaggerating. Probably not.
Then I had to amp up the tension between the two. My main character was too perfect and I wanted him that way when I wrote him, you know before reading a craft book or studying a novel. That meant completely re-writing the first several chapters since their motivations changed. Well his did. Hers is still the same.
Then I had to cut backstory. That knocked most of my word count down. I’m at 95K now (I’ll keep it no more than 100K) I’m still hunting for the right place to enter what I think is important, but haven’t found it, so I
just highlight places it might work for when I print it, yet again. I’m almost done with getting it up to par for the kind of first draft I write now…now that I have read craft books, written more, studied more novels and read writing blogs.
I’m not frustrated. It’s been irritating at times, but it’s also been a good laugh and fun to see how far I’ve come and where my strengths and WEAKNESSES lie. And I’ve enjoyed getting to know the characters again, better.
In fact, Julie Jarnagin @JulieJarnagin and I played a #badwriting game one day and tweeted some ridiculous lines we wrote. It was fun and it was a great stress reliever. If you’re interested, tweet some of yours and use the hashtag!
Practice does make progress!
Oh! This Sunday is my 17th anniversary! I know…I look so much younger. I was a wee babe when I married. I kind of was. 19. So this year I’ve been with my husband longer than I’ve been single. We’ve been together 18 years. We’re probably just doing dinner and a movie, but that’s us. We’re simple.
Looks like we’re getting a membership to the Country Club again this year. Here’s all the reasons I don’t belong. I wrote this last summer. Top 5 Reasons I Do Not Belong at the Country Club.
I love reading the urban dictionary. It makes me laugh, and I enjoy using terms other people don’t know just to see if I can get them to use the phrase. This works well on my BFF “Jane.”
Many times, I’ve used a word in a sentence over and over until I hear her mimic it. It’s grand fun. (Ugh, you hear the Dowton Abbey coming out in my dialogue?)
So today, I’m posting 3 words with their definitions and nothing would please me more (that might be a lie) than if you would try to use these 3 words in a sentence! I will post the top 3 at a later date and we can all vote on the best one.
Winner gets a guest post on my blog or a first chapter critiqued, if you’re a writer. If you’re a reader, you get to be spotlighted with a fun interview here on my blog!
So…my website isn’t quite ready and that’s okay. But with the website comes my new tagline.
If I’ve emailed you recently, you’ve seen it.
What is a tagline? It’s kind of a guarantee. It’s the “what and who” you are or what your product is all about.
In a few short words.
Less is better.
“Coke is it.”
“Just Do It.” Easy to remember and easy to associate with the product or person. “Have it Your Way.” “The Un-Cola.” All tags to products. I bet you recognized them didn’t you?
Now, many will say our name is our brand and I agree. I know names and don’t know all of their tags, if they even have one, but when I visit a site, especially one I’m not familiar with, in a few words, I want to know what it is I’m getting or who I’m getting. That’s a personal thing–that’s me. What I want. So a tagline is important for me because I look for them.
My tagline was romantic suspense…overflowing hope and thus the waterfall on this blog. I liked it. But I don’t just write romantic suspense. I’m not a steam-punk, historical fiction, paranormal YA cross-over or anything like that.
You will get romance in all of my novels, but they aren’t all suspenseful (50/50). So I had to think about me. Who am I? I’m not just a writer. I’m a speaker. I need a tag that fits both.
What can I promise to audiences and readers–whether a book, article, or blog post?
I prayed about it. Beat my head against the wall, trying to come up with something clever. Waiting on God, as usual. I’m always waiting around on Him. 😉
I didn’t want to lose my “overflowing hope.” I loved that line. And that’s when I realized what I give readers. What ALL writers want to give readers. An experience.
What is an experience? Webster’s dictionary says,”the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation.”
What can I guarantee people? What am I all about?
HOPE. “A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.”
So my new tagline:
Flashy, clever, witty? No. But it’s who I am. It’s what I say. And it’s what I write.
I will also have a melt down if someone tells me, “Oh so and so has had that for 10 years.”
Okay, before we even begin, let’s all take a deep breath and push the envy down. I know. She’s gorgeous. And not just on the outside. Kimberley has one of the most beautiful insides! She loves Jesus with every part of her being and it shines like a beacon.
I rode on a plane with her to Denver last year for the Writing for the Soul conference–and never knew it! We’re from the same area. It was at the conference, where she finaled, that we met and discovered this.
Since then we’ve kept in touch and even had coffee at the fabulous bookstore she likes to write in. She’s witty and clever and so much fun to be around. I’ve had the chance to read the book that she’s finaled with AGAIN! It’s a beautiful story. Truly literary fiction at its finest. The winner will be revealed this Thursday!
***Thanks everyone for all the encouragement and questions this past Friday on my first vlog! You can watch it HERE! If you still want to ask questions or throw out a topic for me to ramble about it, email me at jrpatch(at)yahoo(dot)com, twitter me a DM, or leave me a message on FB (links at the sidebar)
***Wednesday, we’ll pick up with our series on strength! Talking about how to protect yourself from an unseen enemy.
Oh, and Happy Valentines Day tomorrow!
Today was supposed to be the grand opening of my new online home, but some unforeseen events transpired and it looks like it’s going to be later in the week. I’m not giving out another date, you’ll just have to be surprised.
WHEN my website goes up, I promise I’m still giving away prizes. I may have several just because I’ve left you all in suspense for so long. 🙂
Wow me, please. Yes! Thank you!
I’m talking about introducing the heroine and hero in a story. If you know me at all or follow this blog regularly, then you know I rarely write about writing. There are too many good writing blogs out there with people who can explain things much better than I, so I leave it to them.
But a comment left on my blog last Friday, the four books I’ve read over the last week and two days, and digging into an old ms of mine (
polishing rewriting) has me thinking about how characters in stories meet for the first time.
The comment was left by Beth Vogt and she talked about when she met her husband, in a Karate studio, and he put her on the ground–also she was engaged to someone else. Of course she hooked me right there. My heart actually fluttered.
There are a billion ways to introduce a hero and heroine, the earlier the better they say, but sometimes it may come fifty pages in. I wouldn’t personally go much further than that and some will disagree with even fifty pages. But as a reader, I think if things are moving fast…say a murder…then finding the hero a few chapters in is okay and it doesn’t bother me.
But when they do, it better be with a bang. I want sparks the minute they walk on scene together.
I finished up Love on the Line by DeeAnne Gist. When her hero,who’s working undercover as a telephone repairman, meets the heroine, the switchboard operator, sparks fly. He is demanding and she’s a woman who doesn’t want to be told what to do or what to hand over (a key and a desk) to a man. The attraction is there, but the attitude is off the charts. And it sold me. The other 2 books I read have wonderful introductions as well, but for sake of time I chose the last book I read of hers.
In Save the Date, (another book I just finished) by Jenny B. Jones, the hero was mean to the heroine in the past and she hasn’t forgotten, but she can’t deny that he seems different and it helps that he’s delicious to look at it! The witty, and super sarcastic, banter between the two right off the bat…sold me!
When there’s ZERO tension between two characters–when they’re both nice to each other but otherwise unavailable, nothing moves in me. It’s boring. Sadly, I have read a few books where the beginning is much like this. Some I’ve pushed through simply because I hate not to finish a book. A couple picked up about halfway (but really, shouldn’t we start off that way between two characters?) and the others never did pick up and as bad as I hated it, I dropped the books. But I don’t want to talk about books that failed, and honestly, it’s not like I’ve read dozens that have. So…
I missed you! Hope you a wonderful Christmas and NYE!
Today is a repost from last year (but I had maybe 10 followers so you probably haven’t read it), anywho, since I haven’t accomplished any of them, I’m giving it a go again! On Wednesday, I’ll be posting a more serious plan–as in ONE WORD for the year and tying it into a devotional so don’t miss it! Today? Enjoy!
Well, a year has come and is about to be gone. Profound, I know. I’ve been hearing lots of New Year’s resolutions. The same ones I hear every year. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Spend more time with family. Those seem to be the top three.
I don’t make resolutions. I make plans. Maybe they are resolutions. I just call them personal plans for the new year.
This year, I’m going to work on a few that involve the debilitation of being a writer. You writers may get to shout a few amens in agreement, and those of you who are not…this may explain my eccentric and sometimes morbid behavior.
Here are a few areas I need to work on.
1. FOCUS AND LISTEN
I have a hard time NOT daydreaming up new plots and storylines, like when I’m at church. Pastor is preaching and delivering the word and I watch the sweet elderly lady who passes out handfuls of candy–throwing it really–and all I see are members of the congregation, dropping like flies because the candy has been poisoned. The old woman is shocked when she finds out, declaring she didn’t do it as they drag her poor soul off in cuffs. I look around and find a single mom sitting two rows back and use her to refuse to believe old lady “nameless” has poisoned the church. What motive does she have? She enlists, I look around and find a young widowed man, ah him, yes!… and together they investigate. (and fall in love duh!) At this point I’m jerked back into reality as our Pastor says, “Answer me when I ask you a question.” I don’t know if I should holler yes, no, or amen. Have I just missed a word for me? What was that reference again? My husband scowls at me…knowing. My best friend leans over and asks, “Who did it? The Royal Ranger teacher or the Youth Pastor?”
This may be the hardest goal for me. I can find a story in anything! Just two days ago, my friend shared with me about her nephew and some of his nefarious behavior. Immediately I explained to her why he was a narcissist sociopath, on his way to becoming a homicidal maniac, and then instead of offering to pray for him…I asked if she could get me about thirty minutes alone with him to pick his demented juvenile mind and test my theory. Yep. I really did. I was seeing backstory all over the place!
I’m constantly eavesdropping in restaurants, movie lines, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, anywhere I can find crowds of people. I zone out of the conversation at hand–the one I’m supposed to be involved in, and find out that some stranger’s sister stole her boyfriend and she found out from the Hispanic gardener by slip of the tongue. She’s now dating the Hispanic gardener.
2. KNOW WHERE I AM AND WHO I’M WITH
My husband and I took a trip to Rhode Island last year, he was marrying his cousin! I love saying that! (He’s an ordained minister.) It was beautiful and it happened to be the setting in a book I was about to write. We sat on the bench at a pier overlooking the water, and he talked and talked. Then he said, “Isn’t this place just beautiful, Jess?”
“Yes, I can see why Scarlet loves it. No wonder Noah can’t leave.” Sigh.
My husband cleared his throat, “Jess,I’ve gotten used to you living in a fictional world, but please tell me you’re at least holding my hand!”
“Hmmm…oh, of course. Definitely.”
3. PAY ATTENTION TO MY KIDS MORE
“Mom, I have pretend people in my head too, but I don’t sit in front of the computer all day and play with them!” My son Myles expressed that after he’d asked for a glass of milk about two hundred times. At least that’s what he said…I never heard him. I’m a master of tuning out what’s going on at home. I stick my skull candy in and I’m off. When I look up, my house looks like a tornado hit it. I’m going to pay attention more and find better balance between writing and spending time with my family.
4. GET OUT MORE (other than to research)
Before long, my friends are going to stop asking me to do anything!
“You want to come to my jewelry party?”
“You wanna get lunch?”
“Hey, let’s go shopping!”
Right now, they may be plotting an intervention. Every free opportunity I don’t HAVE to be somewhere, I’m at home. In my chair. On my laptop. Writing. Yeah, I need to rekindle my social life.
Have you ever made plans only to have them unexpectedly and forever altered? Me too. I didn’t think I was alone. One of my favorite Christmas movies is Christmas Vacation. And one of my favorite scenes is when Clark Griswold has been expecting a big, fat bonus and then when it finally comes…it’s a jelly of the month club. He falls apart and loses some sanity for a few moments.
That’s happened to me before. I’ve been making plans. Good ones. Nothing over the top. Working toward them. You probably have too. I mean after all, putting in a pool for the fam isn’t exactly a bad idea for summer fun, and that’s what Clark was planning.
I can think of several occasions I’ve felt like I’ve been given jelly when what I was expecting was a nice big fat bonus–to bless me with putting that “pool” in. I love what Clark’s cousin, Eddie, says. “That’s the gift that keeps on giving…”
Even unexpected good gifts, promises, dreams can feel like jelly because they still come with some cost.
It reminds me of Mary. A young girl, and by young I mean she could have been 13 or 14 when she was betrothed. Nowadays we put men in prison for asking the hand of a girl that young. But then, it was customary.
Imagine the great, and unexpected news she was given. I imagine she was filling up her hope chest and preparing for Joseph to come, like a thief in the night–since that’s how the bridegroom came. I wonder if she was thinking about children, teaching them how to bake bread, sew, whatever it was they taught them…preparing her heart for life. All good plans.
And the angel Gabriel came and interrupted her preparations, her plans. Oh, it was wonderful news, but I think it may have felt a little like having jelly at times. It came with a price, like anything God conceives in us. A beautiful promise, gift, dream…it grows….
And with that we have to grow, stretch, and feel things move inside us. Pain comes as we move closer to that fulfillment.
No doubt Mary was the talk of the town/s.
“Did you hear Mary was pregnant?”
“Mmm…hmmmm, you know who the baby daddy is?”
“She says, God, but…I saw her with that guy down by the watering well.”
Her own husband was going to divorce her quietly. No one probably believed, except her cousin Elizabeth…because she had her own miracle growing inside her! Thank God when we have a wonderful gift growing inside us, that He planted, He always makes sure to supply us with at least one person to encourage us, to believe in us.
Mary believed. She had child-like faith, probably because she was a child, really.
The stretching will be painful, the labor–strenuous. At times, you might not even be able to catch your breath. Pant if you need to. It won’t come without sweat, fatigue, and some grunting. It takes time. The time may seem to tick by slowly. But it will be born. God will see it to fulfillment.
I’m drawn to the witty, clever, and funny exterior with a warm, gooey and deeply spiritual inside. And that’s Melissa Tagg in a nutshell. Okay, not a nutshell, but in real life. (refer to Wayne’s World.)
I have no idea how I stumbled upon “Tagg’s” blog. I call her that. I don’t know if she likes it or not. But it doesn’t really matter, now does it? No one ever asked me if I liked being called “Little Oz” “Ozzy” or “Short Oz.” I digress. My point is, Tagg’s personality and fun writing style caught me up and she’s one of the very first people I hunt down on MWF. Yep, I enjoy her blog that much! Go see for yourself.
JP: I tend to gravitate toward dark haired males myself. Okay, I’m so fanning myself right now. 🙂 What would your characters say about you if they had the chance?