Thursday, November 26, 2009


I thankful for you. Readers who give me feedback, who encourage me to keep writing, who tell my when my writing has encouraged them. I'm thankful for this world that prepares us for the next. I'm thank for Jesus who has gone to prepare a place for us. I'm thankful to God for revealing His beauty and His plan.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Changing Tense to enliven a scene

Finished 32: 56,894 word count

Writing Tip: My character walked up to a pond and rather than just say that the water wasn't really brown, but looked like it was, I chose to say that the character knew if he held the water in his hand it would be almost clear with some floaties. After I finished the chapter I re-read and discovered the character needed to move out of "he could have," "he would have," and "he knew that," into action. So he dipped his hand in the water, observed the exact color and noticed the floating debris. Must more "in the scene," and much more satisfying for me and, I hope, the reader. The reader is now sharing an action rather than a reflection.
By the way, I think the name of this book is not the Wandering Artist anymore, but Dragon Guard.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Woot! Passed 300 pages!

Finished chapter 32; 56,766 word count

Writing Tip: In this passage, I did something I usually avoid. I like telling straight out tales, and I stick to that in most cases. But this chapter is a turning poin,t and I picked up the challenge of creating image within image.
The country is being invaded, and ordinary men are going to be called into extraordinary circumstances. One young man realizes this, and he contemplates the serenity of the moment he is presently in, knowing that all that is about to change. He picks two things from nature, a dried leaf and a handful of dirt, and looks more deeply into what they are. He doesn't vocalize any great metaphor, but in his analysis of what these things are, the reader should be able to make deep comparisons.
Now, a lot of readers will zip through these two pages and not bother to make the connections. That's okay. But perhaps some English teacher, somewhere , sometime, will torture a class into really thinking about dead leaves and decomposing stuff that makes dirt. And maybe some philosophical reader will mull over these things without the threat of a C- if he doesn't come up with something profound.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Anchor lines

Finished chapter 31 and made a big dent in 32 ; 55,851 word count.

Writing Tip: I've been reading Donald Maass' Fire in Fiction book. One section talks about the importance of the first line and last line of every scene. We all know we want to hook the reader on the first page, but I wasn't aware of the concept of these anchor lines in each scene. I'm experimenting with it to see if it works in my writing. (By the way, there are so many ideas about craft, it would be ridiculous to try to implement them all. If one appeals, give it a test run. It may or may not work with your voice, or it may or may not work in this particular piece you are writing.)
The first line of chapter 32:
Fenworth did not take the plate Bealomondore offered him.
And the last:
She grinned as she chewed.
The first one raises a question. Why didn't he take the plate?
The last one gives a concrete image to hold on to. Of course yours is nebulous because you haven't read this section and don't know who she is. But, if you had, you would have a tight grasp on how this scene moved the character who is grinning.
Anchor lines are fun when they work.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm back!

and raring to go.
Almost finished chapter 31 tonight; 55,063 word count

Writing tip: When you are published, don't read your reviews. One person says you copied heavily from Tolkien and Lewis; another says your work is refreshingly different from the traditional rip-offs of Tolkien and Lewis. One says your descriptions stink; another says your descriptions are the only thing that saves your hollow plot line and depthless characters. Sigh. Ignore both sides of the criticism. Chances are you aren't that great, but you aren't that bad either.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Really Writing!

After a non-productive week, it feels very good,
Still on chapter 30; word count 54,078

Writing Tip: don't repeat words and don't forget contractions in dialogue.
Tears surprised Tipper, running down her cheeks. She swiped at them but not before her kimen guide saw them.

Got to get rid of them twice. She swiped at her cheeks? No, cheeks is in the previous sentence. Leave of the second them? No, the sentence ends too abruptly. Running down her face. She swiped at her cheeks? Better. Maybe I'll keep that.

"You are tired and hungry. I will bring you a cool cloth and you can wash your face. Then you are to lay down and rest."
Better: "You're tired and hungry. I'll bring you a cool cloth. You can wash your face, then you're to lie down and rest."

Got to fix lay to lie. Lay/lie always traps me. And Kimen have a short sentence pattern. Plus this kimen is bossy, so I rearranged the syntax a little bit.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Chapter 30; 53,085 words

My new computer is wonderful. I am rapidly becoming acquainted with its bells and whistles.

Writing Tip: Never, ever, take a break. I'm really joking, but it seems to me that if I write steadily every day, then every day I write steadily. But if life, circumstances, or a sudden bout of laziness keeps me away from the keyboard, then it take several days for me to find my rhythm again. I am glad to be back with Tipper and her dragon. Now I need to pick up some speed.

By the way, we have decided to rename this book. Something with dragon in the title. Wandering Artist will be called something with more of a fantasy ring to it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Laptop!

I am home from Sam's with a new laptop. Now this technologically challenged author must try to get it out of the box.

Overworked Mac

My computer died on Tuesday. Wednesday I took it to the Apple Genius Bar. The genius on duty said I'd have to spend $300 to $1200 to have it fixed. No can do.

So I am off to do some computer laptop shopping.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh dear, Oh dear

I am chagrined. I've been going over the first 29 chapters and beefing up the tension. I beg your pardon for not posting and not writing anything fresh. Sigh. I knew this blog would be good for me. Thanks to those of you who have been encouraging me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Exciting Work Today!

Today we got the first preliminary sketches for the picture book, The Dragon and the Turtle. This book will come out in June of 2010. Our job was to give more suggestions to the artist, Vincent Nguyen, and trim more words out of the text. In picture books, tight is right. We'd already trimmed by quite a bit, so when Evangeline and I got that message, we kind of groaned. Evangeline Denmark is my daughter who has children of her own and is in that phase of her life where she is, out of necessity, an expert on picture books. She's paid attention and knows exactly which books she is going to have to read five times during a week of bedtime rituals. If you'd like to visit her blog it is Breathe In Breathe Out.
So we went through the picture book mock-up and commented on the pictures we loved and made a few suggestions. Then we took a pencil and drew straight lines through text. It wasn't really as hard as we expected. With the pictures in the background, much of the narrative plummeted on the importance scale. We had a ball, and we can't wait to share this project with you All.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Who's Thinking?

Started chapter 29 in earnest; 52,169 word count

Writing Tip: When writing a novel in several POVs (points of view) it is important to tell the reader whose head you are in from the very first lines of the new chapter.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Bec." Lady Peg patted his feathered back. "Did that hurt?"
"A twinge," said Sir Beccaroon, squinting his eyes and refusing to utter unkind words to Tipper's mother.

This scene is in Sir Bec's POV because we are told his thoughts. He's thought something unkind and chooses not to utter them. Lady Peg had the first action, but it was something felt by the grand parrot. We don't know what she is thinking other than what we can surmise from her words and actions.

Where Are You?

Your turn.
Hound me.
Bug me.
Crack that whip.