• 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

NaNoWriMo September

Who’s up for NaNoWriMo in September?  Well, it’s not exactly NaNoWriMo, there isn’t a set word count, the only “rule” is to have whatever project you’re working on done by the end of September.

I’m doing this for myself as a bit of a kick in the proverbial pants.  I’ve been outlining and developing all year (and procrastinating, lots of that), and I wanted to have at least one draft done before 2015 rolls around.  This is a kick starter.

NaNoWriMo September (my creation of it anyway), is for anyone who has a writing project that needs a little push.  Whether you’re editing, writing or outlining, it’s a motivational spur on along with accountability to meet your goals.

I and  a small handful of friends and fellow writers are doing it together, it’s going to be awesome.

Not to worry, I will finish the fantasy series (and hopefully start working on another soon…), I’m just switching priorities for the moment.  Refocusing goals and what-not.

So what about you?  Do you need a little push to start/finish a project?  Join us!

To the Frustrated and Frazzled Writer – It’s Okay to Walk Away

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We’ve all been there.  Your story is just not working, but you’re on a deadline!  You have to get the last 10 chapters done in the next two weeks, you just have to!  But the more you try to force creativity, the worse it gets.  Now all you’re doing is beating against a mental brick wall that refuses to budge.   It’s big, it’s in the way and it’s size mirrors the enormity of your frustration.

Deadlines can be a blessing and a curse.  Some writers flourish under the pressure of deadlines, others crack, while some are 50/50.  Deadlines are good, they help us achieve our goals, but they can also become looming specters casting shadows over our work and peering over our shoulders, striking us with anxiety.  When plot holes begin to swallow you and you’ve run down so many bunny trails you’re head is spinning it may be time to get up, put the story aside and walk away.

Everyone’s creative process is different.  Some can whip out the stories.  It’s as easy has mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Each new batch brings out dozens of new and amazingly satisfying ideas.  Plot holes are foreign to them, woody characters don’t exist and they’ve never head of this mysterious ailment known as “Writer’s Block”.   Others are constantly plagued by creative blockage and instead of delicious chocolate chip cookies, they’re stories look more like old Swiss Cheese.  Then of course we have those who are in between.  They deal with plot holes, but it’s not too difficult for them to full.  They may burn a few batches, but in the end they have a nice gooey batch of chocolate chip goodness.

I’m of the second group.  Writing is my passion, it’s something I feel at home doing, something I was made to do, but it is also the hardest taste I have ever undergone.  I love developing new stories, it’s my favorite part of the creative process and it’s also the most frustrating.  I’m constantly falling into plot holes, frantically looking for new and better ideas to fill them.  When I first started writing I got into the bad habit of blazing ahead and writing rough drafts even thought half my outline was empty.  As a result I created more work for myself later on in the form of a cliched pile of Swiss Cheese instead of a golden chocolate chip cookies.  It frustrated me to no end.  (I’d rather of cookies then cheese any day!)

I blazed ahead because I wanted to have written.  I wanted to be the person who when asked how many books I had finished, I could proudly proclaim “Oh, fifteen or twenty.  I’ve lost count.”  As writers we tend to look at the amount of things we have finished as our status.  As Michael Kanin put it, “I don’t like to write, but I like to have written.”  Walking away is not an option, WE HAVE TO FINISH IT RIGHT NOW.

Walking away may be the best thing you ever do for yourself and for your story.  It was hard for me to finally admit this it and to actually take action on it.  It’s okay if your writing process is slow, if it takes more than a few months or a year for a story to rise to it’s true potential.  It’s okay to walk away from the draft, deadline or not.  In fact, it’s okay to walk away from writing all together for a time if need be.

Whether it’s walking away for a day, a month or a year it’s okay.  Walking away doesn’t make you a failure as a writer, it just means you need a break, a breather, some time to give your imagination a time to recuperate.  Find a good book, spend some time enjoying nature or family.  Ideas come from life and the stories we read.  If you’re lacking ideas, take a break and look around you, the answer may be hidden under an old dusty cover or in a moment with a loved one.  Where ever it is, you’re not going to find it by staring at your computer screen.

Don’t Just Write

After posting A Page a Day, I came across a fellow blogger’s post about not writing everyday and realized I needed to expound of that point.  To be a good writer it is important to write and write a lot, but there so much more to it than that.  Practice makes perfect and writing everyday is good practice, but there is more to that practice than just writing.

Becoming a Proficient Writer

To became a skilled writer don’t just write – read, learn and critique along with writing.  If you want to learn a skill what do you do?  You read up on it, you research, you look at the examples of others along with practicing said skill.  It’s the same for writing.

Writing everyday is a good start, but if you write everyday for a year without going out and learning about writing, without reading stories or articles, without reviewing grammar rules, story structure and character studies, you’ll more than likely end up with a bunch of writing that is unusable.  Writing is a skill that’s learned.  Even for the people that it comes naturally too, they still have to work at it.  Writing is also a learn-as-you-go-along skill.  No matter how long you’ve been at it, there is always something new to learn.

More Ways to Practice

Finding Resources:

There are so many resources out there today for writers.  Books, blogs, websites.  Take advantage of them.  Go online, search through the library, materiel is out there, you just have to go find it.   Here are a few that I have used.

The One Year Adventure Novel writing curriculum – by Daniel Schwabaurer

A Writer’s Coach – by Jack Hart

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft – by Janet Burroway

Comma Sense: A fundamental guide to punctuation by Richard Ledder and John Shore

Critiquing:

One of the things that tremendously helped me as a writer was critiquing for others.  By finding flaws in other’s works, I was able to more easily find flaws in my own writing.  If you know someones else who is a writer, share your work with each other and go over it together.  Find a writer’s forum where people post pieces to be critiqued.  Start a critique group at your school.  Whatever you do, critiquing is not only helpful to the person receiving the critique, it’s helpful for the person giving it.

Review:

Reviewing basic grammar rules, sentence structure etc. is a good idea.  You might feel like you’re back in grade school, but if you want to write well, keeping your mind refreshed on the rules of writing is never a bad idea.

Read:

It’s just that – read.  Why did we want to be writer’s in the first place?  Because we love to read.  (Well, that’s true for me anyway.)  I’ve found when I haven’t read a good novel in a while, writing just doesn’t seem possible.  Books are like fuel. Out minds need them, our imaginations need them.  Keep a reading list so when you’re not sure what book to read next you can refer to said list.

Writing not only involves disciplining yourself to do it, it involves disciplining and training your mind as well.  Writing everyday will give you lots of practice putting words on paper, but studying and learning the skills will help you learn how to write well and make those words on paper came to life.

A Page a Day

I saw a picture on Facebook that read, “A page a day keeps insanity away”.  From a writer’s perspective, writing a page a day could very well keep insanity away, and it doesn’t even have to be a page of a novel.  Just anything.  A written page.  Everyday.

I know when I go a while without writing anything I can feel like going crazy!  I’ve left all these words, stories and characters trapped in my subconscious too long and they are screaming to get out! Also, I’ve learned the best cure for Writer’s Block is to just keep writing.  Anything.  As long as you’re putting words on paper.

This is one of my goals for the new year, to try and write at least a page of something a day.  Whether that’s a page of my most current novel, a page of outlining, a page of story notes, a page of free writing, or a page in some random story.  Just a page.  Everyday.

I know there will be days when I’m not going to have the chance or time to write a full page of something, but I’m going to try.   I think this is a good exercise for any writer to have.  Keeps you in writing.  Keeps you in practice.  I know from experience, the longer you go without writing, the harder it is to get back into it.  (Sometimes this is not the case, but most of the time it is.)

So, to combat writing laziness and keep working on my craft, I’m writing a page a day with a goal to keep it up as best as I can all year.  

What about you?

Writing Again

A couple weeks ago I wrote the opening to my next novel.  After almost a year of writing nothing new and months of battling Writer’s Block it feels SO GOOD to be writing again!  (And I have to say, I’m in love with this opening.)  I can’t wait to completely immerse myself in this new world and follow this set of characters on their journey.  It’s going to be epic, at least in my humble opinion. 😉

Anyone want a sneak peek of the opening? Let me know by liking this post or leaving a comment!

Writing for His Glory (New Page)

The literary world has changed drastically since authors such as Tolkien and Lewis first published their manuscripts, and it hasn’t necessarily changed for the better.

As I look through book stores at the suggestive covers and careless content of popular books I’m filled with a sense of dread.  This is what young people and adults alike are reading?

Have you ever stepped back and really looked at today’s modern fiction?  Both Secular and Christian?  Continue Reading

G-Nomes: A Clip from “Scribblings”

Here is a little clip from a brand new story to be featured in Scribblings.

G-nomes.  That’s right; you say the “g”.  These little guys are very particular on how you say their name.  For years people of been mispronouncing it and they have become quit indignant about it.  As a result, they have called me in for damage control.  I have been hired by these little fellows to present to the public the truth about their existence and to clear the smoke of all our modern misconceptions concerning them.

Now, Gnomes do not trust very many people and it is a great privilege if they choose to let you into their inner circle.  I only managed to find myself in such a place when I discovered one of the creatures, quit be accident, trying to make off with my whole box of Kleenex.  Gnomes have very large runny noses you see, so they are always making off with peoples tissues.  It took some time, and the rest of my secret stash of chocolate, to keep the little thing from going goblin on me, but in the end, we became friends.

Scribblings © 2012 L.E.R. Jenkins

   

 

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.

Six Word Stories

College classes started for me yesterday, and I wanted to share with you all a fun exercise I did in class.

An ice-breaker/exercise my Fiction Writing professor had us all do in class yesterday, was write six words stories about ourselves.  At first I thought it would be hard to think of a six word description of myself, but once I got going, it was easy and lots of fun.

For your enjoyment, here are my six word stories.  How well do you think they fit me? 🙂

“People running through me head.  Help!”

“Lost in my own little world.”

“Lost in imagination; be back later.”

And then, one just for fun that came to me later…

“When dealing with dragons, bring candy.”

Can you think of a few six words stories about yourself?  Comment and share them with me!

Heart of Hope: The Process

It’s amazing to think how far this little story has come since it was first imagined sometime in 2005. From 71 hand written pages, to Word documents never exceeding three chapters. Then One Year Adventure Novel came along and added one full 50,000+ word rough draft and one 60,000+ word second draft.

It began as a tale about a girl named Celeste and her cousin Esten. Their village was dying of a mysterious evil plague. It was up to Celeste and Esten to find the elves, who could lead them to a tree with fruit that could save the village. But the tree was guarded by a terrible beast and only with the assistance (some person who I hadn’t named yet) could they defeat the creature and bring the fruit back. Plus, this tree was located in the middle of a maze-lake mountain range called the Kat’s Kraddel.

The very first, hand written page, of Heart of Hope.

Yes, quite the clichéd plot, but hey, it was a start. From there Celeste’s name changed to Fay and the story, though still staying relatively the same, was given some twists and changes. Celeste/Fay and Esten suddenly had to take a journey underground with their mentor named Goel. There they met the terrible creature, a giant serpent named Apollyon and his goblin soldiers. As time went on, the journey to the elves was getting a little side tracked and the hero’s were taking way to many detours, plus the clichés of the plot were driving me nuts.

Finally, everything changed for the better when my mom found OYAN and we ordered it. Once I began that, Celeste/Fay was renamed (for the final time) to Avalyn. The tree was taken out as well as the Kat’s Kraddel. A new villain was introduced, the whole plague thing was wiped out and the plot was given a complete makeover. Even after that, the story still changed. For instants, Avalyn went from having two parents, to only have one, to having none, to having one again. Plus all the little things that change while you’re writing.

The plot now is as follows…

Barita’s king has been murdered. Goel, a mysterious storyteller who Avalyn and her mother gave shelter to is said to be the murderer. Because they offered him shelter, Avalyn’s mother is arrested and taken to the tyrant now overseeing the rule of Barita. Avalyn is determined to get to the bottom of things and free her mother. Her and Esten set out to find Goel in order to set things right. (That’s how it all begins anyway.) And a bunch of other crazy/adventurous stuff happens along the way.

So things have changed a bit since the very beginning of Heart of Hope, even the title. It was first called Arcana, then I wanted to called it Truthheart. When that didn’t stick it was dubbed Arcana: Heart of Hope, ’till finally that was shaved down and it become simply, Heart of Hope.

Since that day back in 2005, the story has been changed so many times I’ve lost count, been restarted at least twenty times, (though I could be exaggerating that bit…), and has spanned thousands of words.

The process with Heart of Hope has defiantly been long and tiring, but worth it. And it isn’t even over! Oh boy…

Time to dive back into editing for draft III.

P.S.
Yes, I still have EVERYTHING from writing Heart of Hope.  Every started draft, every note, every notebook (or page from a notebook) I ever used for it, and every scrap of paper.  It’s quite the collection and helps to remind me of how far it’s all come.

https://storygirlsblog.wordpress.com/the-novel/heart-of-hope/

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