Showing posts from 2019

The Waiting is the Hardest Part by Joanna MacKenzie

I thought this post from Nelson Literacy Agency was very timely with NaNo, or wrapping up your NaNo and sending out query letters. 
What do you do while you wait for the perfect agent? 

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part By Joanna MacKenzie
At some point during your publishing journey, it will seem like all you’re going is waiting.There’s a lot of hurry-up-and-wait in publishing, and it’s hard to know what to do when you feel like you have nothing to do.Here are a few suggestions for how to pass the time:
1. Write Something. Ideally, something completely different. The best way to not dwell on the project that’s out with agents or editors is to get busy with new characters.Don’t write the second book in your planned series. Don’t rewrite the manuscript you just queried. Start a new project.Try out that idea that’s been kind of taking shape in the back of your head but that you think is way too off-brand for you. Even if you turn out to be right, every project hones your skills…

What do NaNoWriMo, Literary Book Gift, Cashmere Gloves have in common?

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? 
November has been declared National Novel Writing Month. Thousands of humans around the globe try to write a WHOLE entire novel in thirty days.  How many words, you ask? 50K Fifty thousand. 50,000 That's a whole lot of words, people. And it's not as easy as you think.  But it's a fantastic way to get lots of words written down and out of your head.  There are many tools someone in November can use to help. This is one such tool that I love.

#shoutout to Literary Book Gifts for allowing me to trying out their cashmere, fingerless gloves!  I LOVE them! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿงค

They are soft and warm! Perfect for cold days writing at home or in the library.  They aren't bulky or thick, so they don't get in the way of typing or turning pages. They can be kept in a coat pocket or a purse. Everyone will be jealous of not only your style, they'll be jealous of how warm your hands are as you read and/or write.

Have you ever done NaNo? 
How did you do??
Have you…

Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating by Melissa Gilbert TEDtalk

Another good TED talk to help keep our chins up!

Top 5 Fictional places I'd like to visit

What fictional world would you like to visit? Why would you visit?

Here is my top 5:

Hogwarts (for the food, duh)

Can you imagine having food magically appear every. time. you ate? YES, please! Also, the Room of Requirement!

Room with a View

I want to see the beauty of Florence described in the book. The flowers, the meadows, the hotel. And maybe the food.

Warcross by Marie Lu

I'm not gonna lie, I found this story fascinating. The game and the glasses and the future (though I don't like the thought of everyone being so connected to the media).


How fun to live (almost) like during Jane Austen era? The clothes, the walks in the park, the romance.

A Song for the Stars

I would love to time travel back to the 1700's to visit the lush beauty of the Hawaiian Islands before everyone else discovered the area.

National Novel Writing Month AKA NaNoWriMo AKA NaNo

Are you doing NaNo this year?  I'm going for it!  I'm TaffyL if you want to be buddies.

Your Elusive Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert TEDtalk

This is a great talk to motivate us on Monday!

Monday Motivation ~ Anne Rice WRITE


I am the one thing


But you have heard of me


Monday Motivation ~ John Green


Writing Dialogue by Julie Wright

Julie Wright gave some good advice on writing dialogue. There is so much great dialogue can do for a story. I sometimes forget the reader can't read my mind. We can't assume readers can read our character's minds either.
And what is the best writing mechanics to SHOW us more about who and what the characters are thinking/feeling/struggling with.
I'm just going to bullet point it all.

Good dialogue should (must do at least ONE):
Reveal characterSet the toneAlter relationships (build up or tear down)Increase tensionMove plot forward
Don't info dumpUse adverbs sparinglyDon't need cussingMake your dialogue count
There is a different between real dialogue (which is SHOWNG) and narrated dialogue (which is TELLING).

There's a great chapter in the book, SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne and Dave King.

Now, go through your first five chapters and test out your dialogue. How is it? Showing? Telling? Does it reveal the character? 
What book have…

Must-Have Moments by Jen Nielsen

Jen also talked about everything in story and how to make scenes better (using OUTSIDERS as an example):

1.Inciting Incident a.Ponyboy heads home late 2.Complication a.One wants something but the other will not or cannot give it b.Both want something c.If one gets it, the other loses d.Darry is mad. If Pony gets his freedom, Darry loses his control over brothers
3.Crisis a.Sodapop intervenes; Darry slaps Pony, changing the trijectory of the story 4.Climax a.Pony runs away, gets jumped by rivals, Johnny kills rival 5.Consequence/Resolution a.Pony and Johnny rescue kids and become heroes, one dies

Don't you dare give up...


Must-Have Moments in Your Novel by Jennifer A. Nielsen

I've decided it doesn't matter what Jennifer Nielsen is teaching, I NEED IT.

There are the acts in a story:

ACT I Intro
ACT II Mayhem Ensures
ACT III Resolution

ACT I 1.Intro to the world (like the intro to the Shire) #1 key moment ~ intro to the voice
2.First clash with the antagonist
3.First decision (leave the shire) #2 key moment ~ The hero’s fatal flaw
4.Intro subplot a.It needs a purpose b.Works into the resolution c.Could be conflict, info, parallel plots, suspense, etc #3 key moment ~ subplot must have a purpose
5.Hero confronts THE conflict (I’ll take the ring) a.Is it unexpected? b.Is it a turning point? c.Is the hero wildly unprepared? #4 key moment ~ Does your reader know what both your hero and your villain want? #5 key moment ~ Are the stakes high??

Keynote speaker Jason Wright #Betheone

Jason Wright was the keynote speaker at #storymakers19. He talked about being the one. Whatever that means to you #Betheone  Be the one to open the door for someone else, take the time to listen to a friend or stranger, show kindness #Betheone  ALSO, what if...your book changes YOUR life? 2019 Keynote Speaker, Jason Wright Jason Wright is a New York TimesWall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author.
Jason is also a regular columnist for Fox News and the Northern Virginia Daily. Articles by Jason have appeared in over other 100 newspapers, magazines and web sites across the United States including The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Forbes.
Jason is also a popular speaker who speaks on the miracle of opening doors, faith, failure, the Christmas Jars movement, the lost art of letter writing, and many other topics. He has been seen on CNN, FoxNews, C-SPAN, and on local television stations around the country.

Slow Burn Romance by Kasie West

"There’s so much more to a kiss than the kiss. We’ll discuss how to craft a story that will have your
readers begging for the HEA. We’ll discuss elements such as conflict, characters, history, tension,
emotion and how to use them to build a perfect romance. And then, of course, we’ll talk about crafting the perfect kiss."


In order to know the future of your characters, you need to know their past
You need to know their personal history
You need to know their relationship history


Check each chapter for conflict
What are your characters goals?
What are their obstacles?


Throw your love interests together often, so they can learn more about each other
Show them being vulnerable


Chemistry comes through dialogue!


Accidental touching
Build up the physical contact
How does the contact make them feel? (Sometimes you show this, sometimes you tell)

The Kiss

There is usually a BEAT right before the kiss
The kiss is more powerful writing from the emoti…

You ain't Shakespeare

Basically...write YOUR story.
Stop stressing about perfection in your writing.
You ain't Shakespeare.

Only love will truly save the world DIANA


The Magical Muse by Jennifer Nielsen

To say Jennifer A. Nielsen is amazing is a HUGE understatement. There are so many positive adjectives I can use to describe her! It would take up this whole post. She's an influencer, teacher, writer, friend, listener, centered, true-to-self, best friend anyone would beg to have. She's kind, sweet, funny, smart, insightful, witty...did I say amazing yet?
(I know, I know, fan girl much?)(I truly want to be Jen when I grow up).
When you're with her and talking to her, she is laser-focused on you and you alone. She proved to be the one with sound advice for a friend in need over the weekend.

We learned a lot about being creative!

First, ask yourself:
Where am I creative?

WATER is the #1 element to creativity.
WHY Water?
It supports the body, so the body relaxes and the brain relaxes and creates a cocoon.
The relaxed brain creates DOPAMINE, which creates peace in us.
(I was totally skeptical about this. I mean, when will I get to a waterfall or sit in a hot tub?? The next mor…

Blessed, honored pioneers!

Minerva Teichert (1888-1976), Washday on the Plains, 1938, oil on canvas, 42 x 94 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of the Teichert Family Collection. This week we celebrate Pioneer Day on July 24, which is Utah’s state holiday. Minerva Teichert produced scenes of her Mormon Pioneer heritage in the living room of her Cokeville, Wyoming ranch home and participated in civic celebrations of Pioneer Day. Washday on the Plains conveys the resolute commitment of the pioneers’ posterity to remember the heroism and dedication of their forebearers in trekking to the Mountain West. Minerva made sure that the vital role of women in this epic was not forgotten. These industrious pioneers embody both strength and beauty in their crisp patchwork fashions.

Put on Your PANTS: Outlining Tips for Pantsers; Polishing Tips for Plotters by Lisa Mangum

The next part of Lisa Mangum's class on pantsing and plotting (continued from last Monday) was B.E.L.T. (see what she did there?)

Your characters belief system
How much pain can they stand?
What is there relationship with God?
⇨ What sacrifice does your character make to achieve their goal?

What unexpected fear does your main character have?
Are they feeling guilt? How do they atone?
What does your main character feel after defeating the villain?? Relief? Sadness? Justification?
What bring your MC closure?

Who does your character call for help?
Where does your character feel safe?
What is your character's reputation in the community?
What kind of legacy do they want to leave behind?
What DO they leave behind?

Unexpected quality in your hero?
Who is your hero's hero?
⇨ Make a list of heroic qualities and use them to measure your hero's success and failure, both internally and externally
Allude to the heroic quality in the beginning and echo i…

Every great hero...


Put on Your PANTS: Outlining Tips for Pantsers; Polishing Tips for Plotters by Lisa Mangum

Lisa Mangum is one of the best teachers and she always has an amazing perspective. I've never heard her teach the same presentation twice. She taught about pantsing and plotting or P.A.N.T.S

When you edit, go through and find out everything you learn about the character. Look for their physical descriptions, their hopes, dreams, flaws, goals, anything internal.
What's missing?

The villain is the hero of his own story. The villain needs to be smart, crafty, etc And the villain needs to know the hero's weaknesses, strengths, etc
⇒ Write a character sketch of the hero from the villains point of view
What poses an inner threat to the hero?
What will the hero lose if he fails?

What makes the hero truly happy?
Use the equation of "Nothing is more important than X. Except for Y."
Like in the Godfather: "Nothing is more important than family. Except for respect."

Put your symbols into action by using the rule of three:
1st time = …

Reading AND writing

QOTD: What are you reading this summer?

When summer hits, I envision writing All. The. Day. Long.

But that doesn't usually work out.

The biggest pluses for me with summer is the ease of a routine, a schedule: there isn't one. Even when we have tried to do Field Trip Friday or Taste Test Tuesday, we haven't lasted through summer. But I wouldn't change it for the world. I've come to understand that I need to 'chill out' during summer, enjoy myself and my down time, but most of all enjoy my family time, because it slips away fast.

One of my hobbies that I seem to be able to catch up on is reading. Reading by the pool, reading in the car (I take ginger to counter car sickness) or staying up late to 'just finish one more chapter.'

And I firmly believe reading and writing go together.

I find that I enjoy writing in the morning, have lunch, then read in the afternoon or evening. Reading opens my mind and creativity to other worlds and character…

Chuck Palahniuk on 'thought verbs'

Here is a short piece of a post from Chuck Palahniuk on 'thought verbs.'

The piece got me thinking about how I'm a lazy writer. I want to change that.

Typically, writers use these “thought” verbs at the beginning of a paragraph  (In this form, you can call them “Thesis Statements” and I’ll rail against those, later)  In a way, they state the intention of the paragraph.  And what follows, illustrates them.

For example:
“Brenda knew she’d never make the deadline.  Traffic was backed up from the bridge, past the first eight or nine exits.  Her cell phone battery was dead.  At home, the dogs would need to go out, or there would be a mess to clean up.  Plus, she’d promised to water the plants for her neighbor…”
Do you see how the opening “thesis statement” steals the thunder of what follows?  Don’t do it.
If nothing else, cut the opening sentence and place it after all the others.  Better yet, transplant it and change it to:  Brenda would never make the de…

Self Edit Like A Pro by Jolene Perry

I love NaNoWriMo! I love being able to let my brain dump out words that form paragraphs and eventually form a story. Not to brag (just proving my point), I can usually write 50k in a weekend. They aren't pretty words, but it is a story.

But I HATE editing. For some reason, I feel like a failure because all the words in my head come out a jumbled mess on paper (stupit, right?)

At the same time, I love editing because I can make the sentences stronger and make my story better.

Jolene Perry's class was excellent on self-editing.
Here are a few of my notes:

There are a few edit rounds:

Developmental/Big picture
Fine line

Line edits help make awkward sentences better, change passive sentences, and improve flow.

When editing, it might be helpful to plug the manuscript into a plotting method, like Save the Cat and see where the story needs fixed or is missing beats. If I find myself rethinking a scene, then I just need to cut it.

One of Jolene's advi…

Be Still My (Always) Racing Heart: Common Mistakes in Romance and How to Avoid Them by Jenny Proctor

I've written at least 5 YA books. I had 3 full requests from agents for my psychological thrill. All three agents left the industry within 6 months of asking for my manuscript. LE SIGH.
Recently, I switched genres. I'm trying my hand at contemporary romance now (can you blame me??).
I love writing romance! Because of my love of writing love (sheesh), I choose all romance writing classes at #storymakers19.

One of the classes was by Jenny Proctor!

This is one piece advice I'm going to use every time I start a story:
⇒Before drafting, tell a friend (or your critique group) your story. Pay attention to the questions they ask! Use their insights and questions to fill out your story.

Know your characters!
Ask WHY for everything they do.
Allow them to make mistakes.
Know their conflicts both intelluctual (false impressions and assumptions) and emotional.
Too much 'hotness' doesn't a relationship make! If you use too much 'hotness' you don't have enough char…

Writing conferences in Utah

Years and years ago, I wrote an LDS romance. I thought it was pretty good, so I decided I needed to figure out where to send my amazing manuscript to have it published. I read about a writing conference close to where I lived and decided that is where I should start. After all, the conference title had 'LDS' in it.
The conference was smaller back then. We fit in one of the ballrooms at the Marriott hotel in downtown Provo. I'm not sure how many were in attendance, maybe 100? I got to meet so many amazing people! I'm still friends with most of them today.

I soon learned I didn't write the perfect book. That hurt my ego a little bit, which was good. I'm still learning the craft. I'm still learning I can't write the perfect book in one setting.
There are quite a few writing conferences in Utah. My favorite isLDStorymakers. I think this year there were over 800 participants and it runs for three days in May.

Life, the Universe and Everything is a fun confe…

Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Shooting Star Song

How do words affect you?
Do you her a song and connect to it and then listen to it over and over again?
I love inspirational songs and quotes. I love when they build me up or when they make me think outside of my own box.
I was watching a Hallmark show and this song came on. I immediately fell in love with it!
The song reminds me of one of my characters.

Do you have a song or songs that remind you of a character or story?


Did you see that shining
Passing by at the speed of sound
Better no blink or you'll miss out
Oh oh
Beautiful and amazing
Like a thunder and lightening strike
You'll never know till she knocks you down
But you feel it coming

There she goes like a shooting star
She got fireworks in her heart
Lighting up this world with a little smile
She's on the rise and
Oh there she goes and she won't slow down
You know nothings gonna stop her now
Flying higher, burning brighter
Keep on shining like a shooting star

There you go supernova
Glowing brighter and closer
Never …

Monday Motivation


Monday Motivation


SMOKE & SUMMONS by Charlie N. Holmberg REVIEW

I'm so excited you all are here! Charlie is one of my favorite authors. Her books are fantastic! My review: Opening line:
"Sandis had several reasons for staying."

Ms. Holmberg is making a niche for herself in the publishing world. She has this storytelling abyss in her brain and there are so many stories she has yet to write. I think she will be writing these unusual, mind-blowing stories until she's 108 years old.

Sandis is alone in the world, but she is well-fed, has a bed to sleep and clothes. Never mind that an evil man created her into a demon vessel that he can control. She's safe, right? But one day, Sandis sees a name that makes her realize she is not alone in the world and she decides to ran away.
Rone takes thieving jobs to keep his mom safe. He has a few secrets, and one is that he has found a rare relic that makes him immortal for a minute. Before too long, his actions send his mom to hell, AKA prison.
Soon, the two are thrown together, running from …