Aha! Moment

It occurred to me the other day that the novel I’m working on wasn’t really…working. While I’m having a ball writing it, developing the characters, having fun with the dialogue and setting, it felt too shallow and like it was missing the mark. Like perhaps a riveting plot? Yes, that could be a problem.

While I was brainstorming and doing mental gymnastics about what to do and how to fix it, absolutely nothing came to mind. I decided to put the thinking to rest for a while and went for a run. And wouldn’t you know, in the middle of my run, it hit me. My brain connected the dots and the proverbial light bulb switched on in my head.

Aha Moment

 

 

 

 

As I continued running, the dots continued connecting, the bulb burned brighter, and by the time I got back home I had a whole new plot developed. The plot I had originally? It’s still there, but now a subplot. While it is an enormous amount of work, I know my novel will be the better for it. And in the end, that’s what I really, truly want, is to write the best novel I can write.

The books I’ve been reading on editing and revising are doing their job. (Here is where I want to put in a plug for three of my very favorites so far, Plot and Structure and Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, both by James Scott Bell, and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King.) I highly recommend all three.

In the meantime, along with this plot change came much research of several different poisons. Should anything ever happen to my husband and my computer is searched, I may be living a real-life mystery. I mentioned this to my husband and he laughed, telling me that kind of thinking is a hazard of our jobs. (We both work in the law enforcement arena.) Thank goodness he has a sense of humor.

Off to work–and re-work–my manuscript.   🙂

“There’s nothing better when something comes and hits you and you think ‘YES’!”  –J.K. Rowling

Carpe Diem

The Act of Writing vs. Being a Writer

photo (15)

A lot of people write and a whole lot more have the desire to write. If you’re writing, you are, indeed, a writer. If you have the desire to write but haven’t actually put pen to paper–or fingertips to keyboard–you haven’t crossed the line yet from dreamer to writer. That being said it’s never too late to start. Here’s proof.

I wrote a post a while ago about finally calling myself a writer. And while that was a huge step for me, this past month it has come to mean even more. Sometime in this past month I began to realize that I’m not a writer just because I like to write. That would be akin to calling one an alcoholic just because s/he likes to drink. But rather, I couldn’t imagine my life without writing. Writing is so much a part of my desires and my life, that without it, I wouldn’t feel complete.

Pen

Examples that drove that point home to me are:

  • If I don’t write–and lately that means every day, at least something–I feel empty of the positive and consumed by an intense need to release that creative energy.
  • When I’m at work or play and when I’m not writing, I find myself studying people and their mannerisms, behaviors, word choices, etc., creating characters in my head.
  • When I’m on a road trip, whether it’s five miles or five hundred, I take in the scenery as if constructing the setting of my next novel.
  • The world is my creative playground.
  • I cherish my writer’s notebook like it’s another limb and it goes everywhere I do.
  • What others say about my love of writing doesn’t matter; it’s important to me.

In Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, he recommends getting motivated by writing a statement of purpose. I chose to do that and it is readily visible on the first page of my writer’s notebook. Mine begins as his does and then branches off a bit. My statement of purpose reads:

Today I resolve to take writing seriously, to keep writing no matter what, to learn everything I can on the craft, and to strive for my words to make a positive difference to even just one person. I am a writer.

What are your writing aspirations and dreams?

Carpe Diem

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
Anaïs Nin

 

My One Word for 2015…and a Goal

Several years ago I abandoned the New Year’s resolution attempts for New Year’s goals. And three years ago I abandoned New Year’s goals for My One Word. I’m not going say one is better than the others, only that My One Word appealed to me. In fact, I think New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. Sure most people break their New Year’s resolutions because, let’s face it, if habits were so easy to change, would we need resolutions? The point is what we do with that perceived failure–give up or get back on the horse, so to speak, and try again.

Never give up

And there’s a better chance of change if there’s an awareness–preferably written on paper so it’s concrete and can be referred to easily–of what one wants to change to better his/her life than if there’s nothing at all. If you resolve to work out more or eat better in the upcoming year and it only lasts a month or two, that’s a month or two of more working out or better eating than would have happened without the resolution. Not to mention that when you realized you broke it, it’s an opportunity to try and try again.

Thomas Edison

This year after thought and consideration, I’ve chosen to do a combination of two methods. In fact the rebel in me has taken life and created a variation of My One Word. I’ve decided to focus on two words rather than one, for no other reason than I want to see significant growth in my life in both areas.

My two words are:  (drumroll…)

LOVE & RISK

We are called to love one another as God loves us and that love covers a multitude of sins.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

To act–and re-act–in love will further my spiritual journey.

And risk? I tend to get so comfortable in my rut of day-to-day living, making sure everything is within my control. That comfort zone prohibits me from experiencing life fully and using the gifts given to me to make the world a better place. How can I grow if I don’t experience growing pains? How can I positively affect others and the world if I’m complacent in my quiet, afraid-to-take-risks world? That being said, that doesn’t mean I will be jumping out of an airplane or hang-gliding anytime soon. 🙂

So those are my two words for 2015. And it will likely take me a full year to get somewhat of a handle on them.

This year I’ve decided to add a resolution as well. A somewhat vague resolution, but a resolution nonetheless. I’m resolving to study the craft of writing. Writing in and of itself is something I have to do. For me. If I don’t, I feel like I’m missing a limb and truly find myself in a mental funk. But I don’t only want to write, I want to write the very best that I can. And what a better way to do that than to study the craft from those who have mastered it. I’m part of an online book club, Book Club for Writers, and right now we’re reading the book Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. What an amazing book! I’ve learned so much already. I would highly recommend it.

And with that, it’s time to go live this life I’ve been blessed with and begin to live My One Two Words and learn how to write. 🙂

How about you? Do you make New Year’s resolutions or goals? Have you tried the My One Word concept? What resolutions/goals have you made for 2015?

Carpe Diem