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"Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God." Psalm 102:18

"Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others." Habakkuk 2:2

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Power of a Story

I've been to the movies a few times lately. I was blessed to watch Courageous twice. I also watched Dolphin Tale and Soul Surfer. As I watch each story unfold on the screen, I continue to be struck by the power of story God builds into each of our lives. We desire to watch and hear a good story. We like to see good triumph over evil, or witness a happy ending. I feel it is something God has built into each one of us. We experience it in different ways. For me, the power of story calls me to be a writer. It's part of who I am and how God made me. It won't be long before a new story will be clamoring to be told through my keyboard. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lighthouse Saga

It's been quite a while since I've taken the opportunity to blog. My time has been comsumed with finalizing my historical romance I've been working on for almost a year and a half. I spent about 4-5 months researching, and about six months of writing the novel. Then I had a couple months break while I recovered from shoulder surgery. Next was two and a half months of editing. My goal was to be completed before September 15th because I wanted to enter some writing contests. Each of the ones I entered provide feedback from the judges.

My story is set near Camden Maine during 1878 in a lighthouse which is currently called Curtis Island light. At the time period I wrote, it was then known as Negro Island light. It's about a seventeen-year-old girl who longs to follow her dying mother's bidding to be a keeper of the light. Problem is, her brother's best friend has the same ambition - to be a lighthouse keeper and he's old enough to be considered. Hopefully one day soon you'll be able to read the tale of Abi and Jacob.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Close

Well, I'm about at the point where I'm sick of seeing my manuscript. I'm going through my novel with a fine tooth comb to pick up words that need changing, typos, etc. It's quite tedious. I'm also comparing notes from about four women who critiqued my manuscript for me. It's quite time consuming, so much so, that I'm delaying the start of homeschool until I complete my edits. Once I get through this series of edits I plan to do one final read through. Then on to writing the dreaded synopsis. I pray it will flow smoothly when I sit down to write it. The synopsis is condensing my 300+ page novel down to no more than three pages. Whew!

In the midst of trying to do all this, our monitor went out, which means I'm working off an old one that isn't real clear, and is hard on the eyes. Praise God, our new monitor should be arriving today.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Edits and Synopsis

The month of July has zoomed by, as well as half of August. I had hoped to get a lot of things accomplished.... Well, one thing I have been consistent with working on, is editing my historical fiction novel. The main bulk of edits is accomplished at this point. There still is some fine tuning to do. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be finished. I can always find a word to change or improve upon. At some point I'll have to stop and say, "It's as good as I'm going to get it." :) I've heard back from my critique group and they have enjoyed my story. Always good to hear! :) Now I need to go through all the specifics of the things they suggested to improve upon.

In the next few weeks I need to come up with a synopsis of said manuscript. In other words, condense my novel down to no more than three pages. Whew! I think my work is cut out for me! :) Oh, and then there's the thing of working on lesson plans for my son's final homeschool senior year. At some point we need to start school too. So I'm praying for strength and wisdom in the next several weeks as I finalize my novel and eventually start homeschool.

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Insights

It's been a busy month with editing my Christian historical romance I've written. I'm about half way through the process, although sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be at a stopping place. There always seems to be one more word or scene to tweak and improve. Such is the life of a writer I suppose. :)

This month I participated on an on-line course through ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers, on deep POV - point of view. I found it to be an insightful and informative class and enjoyed the personal feedback from the instructor. I've learned a lot through the course, as well as from other Christian writers. I now have a better understanding of character arcs and passive vs. active verbs. I love to learn more things about writing and how to become a better writer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Plugging Along

I've managed to work on six chapters of editing thus far. My goal is five - six chapters per week, which will take about six weeks to complete. I'm pleased with how things are going despite a slight setback with my shoulder on Monday and some continuing sciatic nerve issues. I have ice on my shoulder at the moment, and soon need a break from my computer chair! :)

I find the editing process challenging. It's difficult to see past when I know what's going to happen, to examine each individual sentence for its quality. I'm learning to have more of a critical eye, but it definitely is an acquired trait. It's taking training to discern some of the errors. I'm thankful and blessed to have some critique partners who are helping me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Observations

I started a new book this afternoon I had picked up from the library. It's called A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan. I was struck by two things within reading a few pages. Some authors have a definite knack of pulling you into the story by the words they weave. They allow you to take a small glimpse into a character's life. I can't help but feel Jesus often did this when he was teaching/preaching to the crowds. He wove a story, causing listeners to make a decision - to stay on the path they were on, or chose to follow Him.

The other observation wasn't quite so deep.:) Kathleen Morgan named one of her characters Cord. It immediately struck me as a strong masculine name. It's funny how some names make you think of something right away. This name had to belong to a cowboy wearing a stetson.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plethora of Ideas

I find my edits for my historical novel have been SLOW. I don't know if it's a matter of getting my brain into rewrite/edit mode or what. But when it comes to coming up with creative ideas for additional books, I have a plethora. I already have come up with three different story ideas for my lighthouse series. Now my newest brainstorm involves a set of three books about different mail-order bride situations. Now the decision of what to work on and what to put aside until later.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Well, after a lot of procrastination, heel dragging, overcoming fear, you name it, I finally have edited my first chapter of my novel and send it to my critique partners. I've never been a nail biter, so I guess I'll be sitting here with baited breath (whoever came up with that term anyway?), waiting to hear what they have to say, and what suggestions and corrections they come up with for me. Too bad I don't have a published author in my pocket, chomping at the bit to help. :)

Each step takes me one step closer to publication, right?! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's In Your Book Pile?

All right, perhaps you have a book case instead of a pile of books on your waiting to be read list. For me, there are the overflowing bookshelves as well as a pile or two of books. My current readings include Too Rich for a Bride by Mona Hodgson. I'm reading on PC kindle, Writing Fiction for All You're Worth: Strategies and Techniques for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level by James Scott Bell. Arriving in the mail yesterday was Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier by Chris Enss and Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go by Les Edgerton.

These are just a few of the books on my reading list for the summer. What are you reading?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Slow Start

It's been a slow start with my edits, although I feel I'm making headway even though there isn't much to show for it as of yet. I've been doing a lot of reading of historical fiction lately and trying to identify what works and what doesn't. I also have been doing a bit of praying before I get real in depth with my rewriting, asking for God's guidance as I work on fixing and improving things.

The other thing I've been doing is reading an ebook on writing, as well as taking a course on POV - point of view, hoping to glean further insights into the world of writing. In fact, two writing books arrived in the mail today. Now I need more time to be able to read and edit! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Keeping Track of Accomplishments

I thought it would be fun to keep tabs of the progress and accomplishments with my writing, here on my blog. I've been praying about balance for this summer, especially the next  six weeks or so. I'm trying to work on cleaning/sorting some things around the home, as well as editing my historical novel, keeping up with my writing lessons, and also have some new story ideas rambling about in my head. So the struggle is knowing what to work on, and keeping a fine balance between them, especially since I seem to move slower than I used to! :)

Today I worked on reading/finishing/submitting a writing lesson to Christian Writer's Guild. I managed to get it sent two days ahead of schedule. It's hard to believe that I'm over half-way through a two-year Apprentice writing course already. I think I only have twenty-two lesson left before I complete it in May 2012. On a household note, I also worked my way through a pile of dirty dishes, washing a bunch and loading the rest in the dishwasher. Whew!

As for progress on my novel, it's printed off - all 339 pages and holes punched and placed in a notebook, awaiting perusal and correction. Perhaps I'll get a chance to start it this evening when I sit down to do a little relaxing. Maybe tomorrow I can get a bit more accomplished on the home front.

Monday, June 27, 2011

July 1st Is the Start

I'm in the midst of figuring out a schedule for trying to get things cleaned up around home this summer as well as editing my novel. The plan is to do a quick read through over the next few days, and then start officially editing starting on July 1st. My goal is to get it ready by mid September. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things again.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Getting Back One Step at a Time

It's been almost two months since I've been able to work on my lessons with Christian Writer's Guild. Today was my first day to get back to writing and I found it quite enjoyable. I look forward to being in that frame of mind again.

A little over a week ago I wrote my unit study article for Home School Enrichment magazine on Christopher Columbus. It will appear in the September/October edition.

Each step takes me closer to getting into the swing of writing, after being away from it due to shoulder issues that required surgery. Once my sciatic nerve issues calm down, I plan to be back on track with editing/revision of my historical fiction novel. I'm getting excited about the prospect. I can't wait to be back into the writing saddle. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back Among the Living....so to Speak

I have to admit, this year has been a rough one for me physically, and it has affected my writing. Shoulder issues ever since last September, led to surgery on April 7th. The surgeon found things a bit more complicated once he got inside to see what was going on. My road to recovery has been strewn with complication after complication. I have to admit that it's been frustrating at times.

It seems a distant, hazy dream that I completed writing my novel set in the 19th century at a lighthouse in Camden, Maine. I had planned to take a brief break before starting on the edits/rewrites. Well, I guess God had other plans, since I still haven't been able to return to my manuscript. Each day I slowly am making progress. I look forward to when I can type without having pain in my shoulder.....it's been a long time.

With this new month, comes some deadlines that should hopefully get my brain back into thinking about writing, with two lessons and an article due. I have to remind myself that God isn't surprised by my long time of continued healing. I'll rely upon Him, and seek Him, as He leads me in my writing and everything else in my life.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three Weeks

It seems hard to believe that it's been three weeks since I had shoulder surgery. The procedure turned out to be much more than the surgeon anticipated, which means a slower recovery. I slowly am getting my strength back, but still tire out easily.

Physical therapy three times a week leaves me pretty weary and sore. My pain level remains fairly high. I look forward to being able to do things again....hopefully soon. Right now the pain, limits me of the amount of time I'm able to type on the computer.

I praise God that in the midst of pain, He gives me strength for each day. I'm so thankful for the cards and meals friends have provided. It's been a real blessing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Brief Hiatus

I leave for shoulder surgery in a couple hours. I'll be taking a brief hiatus from blogging while I recover. I hope to be back in time for Easter. Blessing to each of you.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Life

Sometimes life gets in the way of our well laid out plans. I had hoped to be in the midst of edits/rewrites of my novel, but some things have happened to change that. It's been a week of not much rest, lots of pain, falling and bruising my body, and learning I need shoulder surgery to fix several problems. The combination doesn't go so well when one is trying to think coherently to work on a manuscript. Most days I'm lucky if I remember the few things that need to get accomplished that day. But I remind myself that God is not surprised by my situation and the things going on in my life. I'm thankful I can trust Him.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting Back on the Horse

It's been over three weeks since I completed my WIP (work in progress). I took the time off to rest and try to catch up with things around the house, but now it's soon time to get back up on the horse and start investing time into revising and editing. Due to various appointments and company coming this weekend, I plan to actually get started on Monday.

In the mean time, I've had fun learning about some books that are helpful to have on hand as a historical writer. Books on cliches, phrases, idioms, etc. Then I learned about several historical books I'm anxious to get my hands on at some point. Two of them I was able to download, and the other I hope to order. What were they? Houtaling's Hand-Book of Useful Information (1884); Manners for Men (1897) and A Guide to the Manners, Etiquette, and Deportment of the Most Refined Society (1879). Probably boring to the vast majority, but I find the topic fascinating because the more research I do, the better able to write historical fiction novels.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getting Into My Character's Skin

I've been reading this past week on how to revise/edit your novel. One book suggested taking a break from it for three weeks, so that's what I'm trying to do. You aren't supposed to even think about it, which I'm finding hard to do. I find myself taking notes of the things that I need to focus on, change, or improve once I get back to it again.

In between my reading of how to edit, I also have picked up a couple fiction books to read - partly for pleasure, and also for research. I find it hard to read a book without trying to analyze how the author successfully draws the reader's attention. My most recent area of concentration is how the writer gets inside their character's skin, making each one different from each other. I ask myself whether or not I've been successful pulling this off as well.

At least I find myself with a lot of food for thought before I start rewriting, editing, tweaking, etc. I think it will take a while to work through the process, but I think I'm up for the challenge.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's Finished!!!

After seven months of writing, the rough draft of my Christian historical romance is completed. A total of 88,000 words, 33 chapters, 339 pages. I pushed myself hard to finish it yesterday. Taking a few days off to rest my shoulder before starting on edits next week. Looking forward to a little time off, before back to work again.

I was blessed this morning to have the spark of another idea for the next book in the series....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The End's In Sight

It's been a busy few days with writing projects and looming deadlines. I managed to get all my assignments submitted on time - book review, writing assignment and magazine article. In between I've even been able to squeeze in time for my novel writing too. It was a good writing day with almost a whole chapter accomplished. Which means I'm down to my last chapter and a half to complete. I can hardly believe the end is in sight. There's a good chance I'll be able to finish it tomorrow or Thursday.

A year ago today I started on a spiritual journey. It was the beginning of a new path and direction for my life. It's been such a joy to walk in the calling God has given me. I'm excited about where He has me and where I'm going. I've had so much fun working on this novel.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Counting Down

I can't believe I've written over 75,500 words on my novel already. Five more chapters remain, which equates to 12,500 words to go. When it's finished it will likely be around 88,00 words - 33 chapters and roughly 330 pages. Ten more days of active writing should have me typing 'The End." Can't wait.....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Busy Week

It's another week of deadlines for me. I'll be finding myself often at the keyboard this week as I work on writing a homeschool article which is due on Tuesday. I have a writing lesson due on Sunday. On Saturday I need to post a book blog review and write it! :) Then there is the continual goal of writing 1200 words on my novel each day.

When I discussed my shoulder issues with my physical therapist this morning, she suggested I simply stop writing, and that would help to solve my problems. I realized this is something I'm unable to do. Writing has become a vital part of me and who I am. It's a calling I've put off through the years, but has now taken a hold of me and there's no going back! :) What a joy to walk in the area God has gifted me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Less Than Three Weeks

I admit I'm a mix of excitement, fear, trepidation and joy to realize that if all goes according to plan, I should have a completed manuscript for my Christian historical romance within three weeks. I've learned a lot in the process, and I'm sure I have a whole lot more lessons to discover along the pathway to publication.

For now, I'm thankful for the journey and path God has placed me on a year ago. I find such joy in using the gift God has given me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Plugging Along

I had high hopes for the week with a goal of 7200 words. Many changes of plans have occurred along the way. Our schedule has been busy with physical therapy three times a week, as well as other appointments thrown in from time to time. The week started out crazy with having my eyes dilated and not being able to see clearly the rest of the day - definitely not able to read a computer screen to work on my novel.

Then a wrinkle occurred while writing my novel - knowing where I want to head, but not sure which path to take. It meant stepping back from the writing process to look more into my research and consulting my buddies through 19th Century Writers for help with specifics for historical writing and time period questions. I'm satisfied with the decision I made, but it will require some minor tweaking of dates within my manuscript to keep consistent with actual history. I'm a stickler for keeping things as accurate as possible. I decided to cut myself some slack, and even allow myself to change the birth date of my main character.

Even though I've only written about 200 words this week, I do feel satisfied with the progress I've made, even though most has been minor details that only I would notice. I feel encouraged as I have the next two days to pound out words on my keyboard. I also managed to complete my writing assignment which is due tomorrow. Whew! Now I can concentrate on what matters most to me - getting my novel completed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Update From the Week

As I've mentioned before, I'm back into working on writing my historical fiction novel. My goal for this week was 4000 words. I surpassed it by writing 4175. I'm pleased with how things are progressing.

The next four weeks will be more intense with having weekly goals of 7200 words - 1200 words, six days a week. Then the last two days - February 7 and 8 writing 2300 to complete my novel. I think the day I write/type my last words of my story will be a mixture of joy and sadness.

I'm enjoying the process and this journey God has me on of fulfilling the call He has placed on my life to write for Him.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Commitment

My family teases me about being a wordsmith. Let's just say I have a way with words.... the written word, not the spoken word that is. When I speak, I have a hard time coming up with what I want to say, how best to string my words together. I seem to do best with pen and paper or typing on my keyboard. Sometimes when I write, things flow freely, but not always.

One thing I have learned in the process of writing my novel, is to keep on persevering and sticking to the commitment God has called me to do. At times it is easy to write, and at others its hard work. Today was one of those arduous days when the words didn't flow with ease, but instead with perseverance. I met the goal I had set for myself, only because I forced myself to keep going.

I'm blessed to have a group of individuals who daily pray for me and my writing. I have one friend in particular who recognizes when I need encouragement, or when I need someone to get me kick started. I'm thankful for those who commited to support me in this endeavor. May I be faithful to what God has called me to do.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting Back in the Groove

It's hard to believe we are in 2011 already. I have in mind, my goals for this year, but have yet to put pen to paper and actually record them. I spent the weekend rereading the almost 200 pages of my novel I've already started, making corrections, and noting things to change or add. I have written over 51,000 words and am looking to write about 34-35,000 more. My goal is to be completed by February 8th. It feels good to get back in the groove again after taking December off to enjoy the holiday. I'm looking forward to seeing God work.