• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

To Give Up or To Not Give Up

TheWriteStory

You have a story that you love, one that’s been around – either on paper or in your head – for a long time.  You’ve pulled it out several times, but each time the plot and character puzzle pieces never really fit together.  So you put it away and work on other projects until one day more of the puzzle falls into place.  Out it comes once more, you think you’ve got it.  Things are finally working and the whole things is outlined and ready to go, but when you sit down and start typing out the fourteenth rough draft the puzzle falls apart.

This is where I am (and have been) with my first novel, Heart of Hope, that I wrote back in 2005.  I worked on editing it on and off for a couple of years before finally putting it aside for I-didn’t-know-how-long.  It sat in my folders for a few years gathering virtual dust until the plot began to reshape itself in my mind.  Everything got a much needed over haul and the story finally began to grow up to a more un-cliched work of fiction.  I was excited to be working on it again.  Even though it had been a headache before, I still loved it and wanted to make it work.  I thought it was finally there, but as I began to construct the new rough draft it just stopped.  I fell once more into a gaping plot hole.  Once I finally crawled out of it I tumbled right into another even larger one.

I had lost count of how many times this had happened, of how many times I had excitedly pulled it out thinking it would finally work to watch it all fall apart over and over again.  When do I just call it quits?

Let it Go and Give it Up?

This story is nearly nine years old, it’s just a first novel, maybe it’s time to just let it go and give it up…but…I don’t want to.  I’ve been going over and over the debate of forgetting about it and moving on or just letting it sit for a while again or working on it anyway.  I know from experience that forcing it will only make things worse, but is it time to say goodbye?

I think we all have a soft spot in our writer’s hearts for our very first completed book.  It was our first baby, our first great accomplishment in our journey to becoming writers.  We love it, we hate it, we want to throw it away, but we stick with it.  We feel this way about most if not all of our stories/novels.  So what do we do when one just doesn’t work even though we’ve sweat blood and spend countless hours perfecting it?

Let Yourself Move On. 

I’ve come to the conclusion with this book that it’s time to just move on.  It’s not like I don’t have an army of other stories waiting to be written.  But part of me doesn’t want to move on because I think by “giving up” that I am failing in some why as a writer.  But that mind set is wrong.  When a story doesn’t work you haven’t failed, it’s just not working and we need to accept the fact that no matter how much we love it, it may never work.

For now Heart of Hope will be the story I may dabble with here and there when I need a break from something else, but I won’t beat myself up if it never fully works or ends up as a paper back in Barns and Nobles.  I’m still learning and I am far from perfect.  We don’t have to “give up” on a story that we love, but there comes a time when we may need to let it go and move on.  Don’t feel like a failure when that happens, even though you don’t have a workable draft you’ve gained that much more experience you can apply to another project.

Writing is hard and ideas don’t always pan out and that’s okay.  As writers we just need to keep trucking ahead one story at a time until something does work and we get to write those two satisfying words – The End.


Have you had any stories that just wouldn’t work no matter what you did?  Let me know in the comments. 

Like what you’ve read?  Check out other posts on writing and subscribe! 

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Editing: Creating Details

Precise and unexpected details, every story needs them, but when you’re writing a rough draft you’re not really thinking about details.  You’re just trying to get this story down on paper before it escapes from your imagination.  Details are something you look at when editing. Precise and unexpected details pull a reader into a story.  They don’t interrupt what’s going on, rather add to it.

For example:

Suddenly I heard something squeak.  My heart began to pound in my ears.  Someone said, “Don’t turn around.

The words “Suddenly”, “something”, “began” and “someone” pull you out of the story.  Here’s a re-write using precise and unexpected details.

A floor board squeaked behind me.  I stopped, the beating of my heart loud in my ears.  A voice whispered, “Don’t turn around.”

Words such as “floor board”, “loud” “whispered”, are much more precise.   

I’m still learning how to create these kind of details.  I’m finding it’s a lot harder than it sounds, but a must for a good story.

Here are two clips from Choices.  One is from the rough draft where I wasn’t concerned with details.  The other is from draft II where I tried to concentrate on giving those precise and unexpected details that bring a story world to life.

Rough Draft

I set off into the trees.  It was so quiet, almost unnerving.  I had been in forests before, but this one felt different.  Older somehow, as if it had seen centuries pass it by and held countless secrets of years long gone.  Even the light felt different.  Greener, almost magical.  I stopped, listening, feeling the air around me. The forest spread out into the distance; huge, foreboding, and mysterious, where was I?  A thick carpet of moss stretched under my feet and away into the trees.  Sunlight filtered down through the openings in the twisted, spider webbed branches above me.  This place, though surrounded by great trunks, felt like some vast hall created by nature.

Draft II

Taking a deep breath I set off into the trees.  The forest spread out into the distance, massive tree trunks standing as centennials, guarding whatever lurked in the shadows.  I couldn’t hear a sound.  Not a bird, or the rustle of leaves.  The trees looming over my head leaned it towards me, shutting out the sun.  A little light filtered in through the branches, rays of daylight illuminating patches of the forest floor.  Leaves lay thick on the ground, piled among the trees and beds of ferns.  They were all that was left of countless autumns and forgotten years hidden with the shadow of the woods.  The air felt cool on my exposed skin, it smelled of damp earth and decaying vegetation.  I hugged myself and shivered.  Maybe I wanted my sweatshirt on.

Precise and unexpected details can also be paired with “Show don’t Tell”.  Instead of telling the read the forest was old, show them the forest is old with precise details like piles of undisturbed leaves, thick blankets of moss, knotted tree limbs and rotting logs.

It’s a lot of patient typing, but worth it in the end.

Get out Your Club: Editing Tips

I do not like editing.  I’m an outlining, brainstorming, first draft writing writer.  It’s in the beginning process of my novels when inspiration is on my side and working with me, but as soon as I begin editing inspiration seems to turn tail and run.  So, I got out my club and chased after it.  It’s taken me a couple of years, but I think I have finally discovered the editing process that works for me.

Got out your clubs and come run with me as we chase after our inspiration in editing.

If you are like me and you love brainstorming and outlining, here is a little trick I discovered.  In order to help keep that inspiration going through edits, trick your brain.  How do you trick our brains when we’re editing?  Here’s how.

Once you are done writing your first draft read through it once, only once, and after a considerable amount of time to make sure it’s fresh.  As you read make notes of things you know you need to fix.  Things like plot wholes, character inconsistencies, clichés, even scenes you don’t quote like, anything and everything.  Once that is done pick one and begin re-outlining it.  Brainstorm ideas as if you are just beginning to write this story.

Right now I am doing ALL my editing for Heart of Hope in a note-book.  I’m not going to touch the document until I have all my bases covered.  Every little detail is being reworked on paper, with a pen.  I’m pretty much re-outlining the whole thing, fixing what needs to be fixed and tweaking things that didn’t quite sit well with me, and you know what?  I am enjoying it.

This editing process mirrors the first draft outlining and idea brainstorming that I love to do.  I’m tricking my brain into thinking it’s not editing.  🙂

Català: Imatge de pluja d'idees

Image via Wikipedia

I have no idea how things will go once I begin cutting and re-writing my way through the document, but I’m not going to let that get me down.  My inspiration is once again on my side and I have never been more excited for Heart of Hope‘s outcome.

I hope this tip helps you!  Good luck!

If you have any questions, please comment.

Bryan Davis on Revision

Bryan Davis speaking at the 2011 OYAN Summer Workshops in Olathe Kansas this past July.  I thought you guys would like to see this, (even my OYAN readers who were there 🙂 ).

Having been there I can say it was the best talk on revision I have ever heard.  I still have my handout from this and refer to it constantly.  Hope this helps you in your editing endeavors.

P.S.
I’ll be posting some editing tips that I have discovered through this round of Heart of Hope edits soon.  Passing on my club. 😉

P.P.S
Can you see me? 🙂

P.P.P.S
Here is a link to the slides handout he gave us.
http://www.daviscrossing.com/PolishingYourMasterpiece.pdf

Check out Mr. Davis’ website HERE.

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