• 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! 

Plot Change

I have finally written a synopsis for Heart of Hope’s new plot.  (For some reason writing a synopsis for this book has always been difficult.)

After sitting on the shelf for over two years it’s back out.  I started this book at fifteen and finished it at eighteen and it had a lot of growing up to do.  I fought with it on and off for a year or so until I finally had to shelf it, and honestly, it was the best thing I could do for it.  Now, nine years after it’s creation, Heart of Hope is growing up.   I’ve grown and matured as a writer and as a person.  I have more experience and a bit more practice since then and I’m hoping this rewrite does the trick.

Slowly but surely it’s moving from cliched first book to an adventure fantasy I’d actually want to read.  Hurry for progress!

Anywho…here is the new working synopsis.  Whatchya think?

In a land ruled by humans, elves and dwarves are looked down on as “lesser races”. If you are anything but full human, you are nothing. Avalyn is a half-elf. Her and her mother Rhea struggle to survive in a world that sees them as tainted. When Rhea is arrest and taken as a dept-slave, Avalyn does everything she can to buy her mother’s freedom.

The King of Barita is not content with the human realm, he want’s it all. Allied with an ancient power, he launches a war against the elven and dwarven kingdoms. With the dwarven kingdom crumbling, all he needs is someone of elven blood to bring him the key to the elf’s downfall and Arcana will be his.

Avalyn is given a chance to win her mother’s freedom and pay all depts, but can she betray a people who make up half of what she is? Can she see past a web of lies and see she is not what has been branded on her? Will she discover the truth before it’s too late and if so, will she accept it?

 

P.S.  Posts coming soon!

“It’s Okay to Walk Away”

“Letting Your Story Grow”

When Plans are Interrupted

I had planned to write a page a day of one or both of my current stories.  I had planned to pump out a chapter a week, but, writing is an unpredictable craft and sometimes, what you plan on writing just doesn’t work out.

The first chapters of both my stories (the rewrite and the rough draft) were going very well.  I was excited, enthusiastic, but things took a turn.

Plot holes.

Gaps.

Unanswered “why’s” connecting “what’s”.

I’ve learned from past experience, it’s not a good a idea for me to continue in a story with sketchy filler just to get from point A to point B.  The rewriting and editing becomes an extremely painful headache when I do and it takes forever to figure out.  So now when that happens, I have to stop, answer those questions, figure out the probabilities, fill in the gaps, follow a logical plot path, and then move on.

I have reach this point with BOTH my stories.

Heart of Hope is a mess, and that’s putting it lightly.  It was my first book and I used every DO NOT and cliche in existence.  There are a lot of holes.  The plot looks like Swiss cheese.  It’s come a long way, but I still have several unanswered questions and events that don’t quite make sense.  So it’s back to the drawing board.

My second (or fourth book…) book (WIP title Wren Fletcher), I’m beginning to think I rushed into writing it too soon.  Again, plot holes, gaps, more messes I don’t want to fix in editing.

This can be beyond frustrating, not to mention discouraging.  But it happens, and I’m trying to reconcile myself to it.  I’m still learning as a writer.  I’m still learning how I write, what works for me and what doesn’t.  It’s a long and hard process.  (I’m beginning to wonder if I will ever have a book to set before a publisher…)

So, what am I going to do about it?  I’m going to keep filling up pages of my notebook with plot hole fillings, outlines, and “what happens next” notes.  I am also going to lose myself in a new fantasy trilogy* (well, new to me) that my husband highly recommended I read.  (He told me it’s very inspiring, here’s hoping it will pull an idea out.)

Even though I really just want to have a publishable book done, this experience has not been without it’s lessons.  It’s shown me my weaknesses in development, what I need to focus more on before I start writing a rough draft.  I’ve learned what doesn’t work for me.  It’s proven my tendency to be scatter brained and not think something through in enough detail.   I am not a seat of pants writer, I need to have all the important details mapped out before I start writing.

It’s long, tedious, and at times I feel like tossing the pages to the wind, but I know all this will pay off in the end.  All I can do is keep writing.   

What projects are you working on that feel like they’re never going to be finished?  What have they taught you?  Any lessons of your own to share?

 

*If you really want to know it’s the Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Editing, Openings, and Snoopy

When you just can’t figure out a good opening…

326cdcb4d02ec72aba2b7087586f0078I have a novel that has been around for seven years.  Yup.  SEVEN YEARS.  I first wrote it when I was fifteen.  Then I rewrote. Then I rewrote it again…and again…and again… It’s labeled as being in it’s third draft in my documents folder, but really, it’s probably in it’s twentieth. (I just didn’t start keeping track of the drafts until later.)  This novel was my first, so it’s a bit special.  (Very special since I wrote it seven years ago and I’m still editing it… first books, what can I say.)  At least with each edit and rewrite it IS getting better…slowly

In all the years it’s been around, in all the edits and rewrites, I still can’t open the thing.  A good, grab you by the throat, opening still eludes me.  So, I’m finally going to try something I’ve done with other stories to jump start them. (Why I haven’t try it with this one yet… I really don’t know.)  Not actually start it at the beginning.  I’m going to pick a spot where events start getting interesting and write from there.  If there needs to be more back story I’ll figure out how to get it in there as I go along, if not, great!  If I need a different beginning, maybe just having the rewrite of the story started  will help clear up a perfect beginning.

I’ve heard of other writer’s doing this.  Even read that you should cut the first three chapters of a rough draft because more than likely you don’t need them.  So, I’m cutting them and starting somewhere else.  We’ll see if this works or not for me and this story.  Fingers crossed.

How NOT to NaNo: “And” is Not the Answer

“and” is a filler word, but most of the time it’s unneeded.  Usually you can get by without using the word “and”.  Next time you’re about to type out “and”, try the sentence without it first, or with a sub-word.  (Dialogue is the exception.  You can do anything with dialogue.)

If you do a word search for “and” in your manuscript and the page looks like this… you need to do some cutting.

Oh. And please don’t begin a sentence with “and”… incorrect grammar pet peeve right there. (Yes, I know I just began that sentence with “and”. See my point? 😛 )

I do not know how long we song and drank, but eventually I drew weary and the friar insisted we had gone on long enough and ended the revelry and made me lay down to sleep.  He mixed some tart and sweet herbs in to a cup of mead and gave it to me to drink.  I downed it and very quickly, my spinning head settled and sleep was all I wanted.  And so I lay down and slept, all that night and well into the morning.

William and I remained with the friar for a month.  I wanted to leave sooner, but the friar insisted I was in no condition to travel and so we stayed, much to my great annoyance, and even though I quite liked the friar, I would have much rather have been on my way to Locksley instead of sitting in bed all the day long.  But the friar said it could not be helped, and I need rest and that was that, and I learned very quickly, in the hovel that was his little domain, and the friar’s word was the last word and lay.

You don’t won’t one sentence looking like this either…

The day we set out it rained, and rained, and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained until I thought William and I would be drowned by it all.

Or this…

The knight tried again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and

(Of course, it could be argued, for NaNoWroMo this is okay.  It’s an easy cut, but if you’re going for the free copy, do you really want that in there?)

 

Confessions of a Frazzled Writer

crumpled-paperI believe it’s about time I gave you all a writing update… so, here we go.

First off, Choices, Chances and Aeden book 3.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about those books and their future.  I’ve been trying to write Chances and edit Choices, and well, they just were not working.  After much thought, mental argument and frustration, I came to a conclusion I really didn’t like.  I need to re-write Choices completely and shelve the other two books.  Why am I doing such a thing?  I shall explain.

Choices is a book that is very dear and close to my heart.  It is also a very personal book and flowed very naturally when I wrote it.  Chances and Book 3 are not.  Because of how close this story and these characters are to me, it wouldn’t be right for me to force it out just for the sake having more books.  Honestly, I just can’t do that.  So for now, Choices will be a stand alone book.  Will it be like that forever?  Honestly, I hope not, that’s really up to the characters and whether a natural plot line presents itself.

As for re-writing Choices

For one, I was 16 when I wrote it.  I have grown and matured a lot as a person and as a writer since then, and the book really hasn’t.  My awesome critique group at the OYAN Summer Workshops really helped me see this.  Those sessions were very eye opening to me about the story.  I’ve grown up since Kate first met Terren, and now it’s time for them and their story to grow up as well.  So as of right now, I am going to start all over, re-outline and everything.  It took me a while to finally admit to myself I needed to do this, but, I figured if Tolkien, Bryan Davis can do it, so can I.  I truly believe this is what the book needs and the story will be better for it.  Wish me luck!

In other news, I am in the midst of creating a brand new fantasy world.  This world will include two new races, Asian unicorns, multiple dragon breeds (it’s not cool without dragons 😉 ), and (hopefully) a rich and vast history.  Right now I am working on some sort of a naming language for it.  (A much more daunting task than I first imaged, for I am no Professor Tolkien.)  So far I have at three stories I plan on setting in this new world, quite possibly more.  What’s it’s name you ask?  Well, it doesn’t have one, not yet.

Well, that’s it.   Right now I’m in the midst of wedding planning and not doing much writing.  Hopefully I will be back at it after the exciting event this fall and after I am settled in Oklahoma. 🙂

Blessings!

~Laura

Editing Continues…

Edits on Choices continue to crawl along.  Hopefully the pace will pick up later this week.  *fingers crossed*

I’ve been fighting a head cold for about a week now.  Doesn’t help when I work late on the weekends and can’t get to bed early, but a well, such is life.  Thank heavens for Young Living Essential Oils.  Without their peppermint oil to relieve my sinuses I think I just might have died. 😛

Only three weeks and four days until I leave for Kansas!  (I’M SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!!)  I’m beginning to think I’m not going to finish the eleven chapters I have left in Choices, especially if it keep growing on me.  There were only sixteen chapters, now there are eighteen, and at this current rate I wouldn’t be surprised if I have twenty chapters by the end.  But then, it’s growing for a good reason, it needed to.  Kate and Terren’s relationship has been reigned in and made to progress at a more realistic pace, so naturally the book had to grow with it.

Here’s hoping this draft will be done by fall and work on Chances can be moved to my top priorities list. 🙂

Editing Like There is No Tomorrow

Just a note to let you all know that when you suddenly notice there hasn’t been a new blog post in a week or more it’s because I ran away to the world of Aeden and am editing like a mad man.  Okay, maybe not like a mad man, but like a mad writer, yes, a mad writer.

Archie (my inner editor) and I are kicking ourselves into gear with edits on Choices and I will now be devoting all my spare time to finishing the second draft before my trip in June.  I am also concentrating on getting Chances reading for a rough draft.  So I shall be a very busy writer.

When I have a “day off” I shall remember my blog and all the readers who follow it and give you all an update (and maybe a clip 🙂 ) of what’s been going on.  And from time to time I might even write about something philosophical or substantial on occasion. 🙂

Hope you all are having an awesome week!  Until the next time!

God bless,

~The Mad Writer

P.S.
I shall try to keep producing videos for your enjoyment every so often as well.

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.

Getting There…

Scribblings is moving along!  I have one more story to finish, a couple still to revise, and then it will be time to read through everything.

So far so good!  I’m nearly there! 🙂

It feels so weird to be having a book come out in a month and a half.  Weird yet exciting.  I’ve been working towards publication for so long it feels very surreal right now.

Can’t wait ’till March! 😀

God bless,

~Laura

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