Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Foreshadowing

I fell down a rabbit hole in the form of a saver box last night. Kindergarten mementos, my baby hospital bracelet, pictures of my husband and I when we first started dating, this box held it all. Also tucked in the bottom were some of my earliest bits of writing. Character sketches, bits of stories I never finished.

But there was one completed work in there. I wrote it when I was about 11 I think? A very short story entitled Homecoming. In foreshadowing of the rest of my life, it is a military story about a girl whose brother Michael returns from the Gulf War. Interesting because I have a cousin Michael who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, years after I wrote this story.

So as a bit of nostalgia, I've included the story below. Completely unedited, as you can tell by the fact that this soldier returns from war on a commercial airplane. Enjoy!


Coming Home
                Tears streamed down Alex’s face. They weren’t tears of sadness, but ones of joy. She had just received the best news of her life. Her older brother Michael was coming home that weekend. To some people it might not seem important, but it was to her. Michael had been fighting in the Gulf War and there had been question whether or not he was alive. Her family was going to pick him up at the airport the very next day!
                Today had been Alex’s last day of school before spring break. She was extremely excited about this. Not just because she was off school, but because she could spend the whole week with her brother.
                Ever since Michael had gone to Kuwait, she felt as if part of her was missing. Now that part was coming home.
                “Oh no!” she cried. “I’ve got so much to do, in so little time. I have to get his room ready, buy him a present, call friends and family, plan a surprise party. For that I’ll need streamers, food, a banner…”
                “Honey, slow down,” interrupted her mother. “We talked to Michael this morning and he said that he didn’t want a big homecoming. Don’t call the rest of the family either; your father and I already did that.”
                “Can I at least get his room ready and buy him a present?”
                “Yes, but let me help you with his room. I think if you did it by yourself it would take you until next week!” her mother replied.
                Both Alex and her mom started to laugh uncontrollably. They knew her mom’s statement was right because his room hadn’t been cleaned since he had left.
                “I’ll make a deal with you. First we’ll clean up his room. Then you, your dad, and I will buy him a present and go out to dinner. How does that sound?” her mother asked.
                “Great! Can I tell Dad?” asked Alex.
                “Sure. You tell your father about our plans and I’ll meet you in Michael’s room.”
                “Okay, when I get upstairs, we’ll tackle the war zone,” said Alex. Her mother started to laugh as she walked up the stairs and Alex went and told her dad the news.
                When they finished that night, they felt tired but successful. The next morning, Alex awoke at 6:30 a.m. It may seem early, but Michael’s plan was due to arrive at 8:00 a.m. Her family ate a quick breakfast and then headed out to the airport. They arrived at 7:50 a.m.
                “Only ten more minutes until we get to see Michael!” Alex cried excitedly.
                “Announcing the arrival of flight 17 from Kuwait,” said the announcer.
                The doors were opened and the passengers walked into the crowded airport.
                “Do you see him yet?” asked her father.
                “Yes!” cried Alex. “There he is! He’s over by that group of chairs.”
                Alex, her mom, and dad hurried over to where Michael was. Just as they got to where he was, he turned around. Alex, Michael, and their parents all gave each other a big hug because they were so happy that they were together at last.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Eliminating Filler Words

Every time I'm editing one of my novels, I'm always on the lookout for 'filler words'. These are words that are really unnecessary and just cloud my writing. Truth be told, I'm not as good as catching as many of them as I would like, despite how many times I read and reread each novel.

But I've finally stumbled on something that makes it SO much easier to tighten up my writing {hi, welcome to four years later}. Never too late though, right. So if you need a little help like me, just click on the 'find' icon on your microsoft word home tool bar. A search bar will come up, and you can type in any word you want. Then, a list will come up with every time you include that word, or group of letters in your document. Let's just say I was completely surprised at just how many times I used the word 'absolutely' in this current WIP.  Life changing!

Below is a list of the words I either tried to eliminate completely or change to a stronger word, or use as sparingly as possible.  Let me know in the comments if you need clarification or have any questions!

Filler Words
really/very
that
down/up
start/begin
sudden
just {apparently this is my favorite word in the English language}
almost
rather
-ly words
actually
finally
though
said
so
felt
always
still
then
be able to
seem
sense words {felt, touch, taste, look, hear, smell....use a stronger word or description. Instead of "She felt dizzy" say "The floor rose up to meet her"

What are the filler words you use most in your writing?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Not yet..

If you know me at all in real life, you know that my biggest obsession right now is the TV show Timeless. {If you haven't seen it, go check it out on Hulu!}

But that's not really what this is about. Well, not really. Bear with me.

So there's an episode in the first season called "The Last Generation". In it, Agent Christopher is talking to Wyatt and he is frustrated that the one thing he wants seems completely achievable, no matter what he does. Her response to him is: "Maybe the universe is saying there is something you have to do first."

I gotta tell you, this stuck with me all this summer. I can't tell you the number of days I'd cry or grumble in frustration, never feeling good enough, wondering if this is the wrong career for me to pursue. Maybe all the rejection was trying to tell me something. Maybe I'm not meant to be a writer and I need to just move on.

But then that phrase would sneak back in my mind, and it changed the whole way I saw things this summer. Maybe 'no' just really means 'not right now'. Maybe there are things in my life I'm supposed to focus on first.

So that's what I did. Of course I spent the summer writing, querying, entering contests, constantly finding ways to further my career. None of this will get done if I sit back and do nothing.

But I felt less pressure than before. I didn't sweat over waiting to hear back, and I truly began to enjoy the season I'm in. A season where I can write when it suits me and my life, not restricted by deadlines. I get to write the stories I want, tweaking and taking my time to perfect them. Also a season where my family and friends are my priority. The summer was incredible. So many visits with friends, road tripping and day tripping all up and down the east coast. Hours upon hours spend at the pool and more time spent exploring outside than in.

How lucky I was to have these times, letting go of the worry, anxiety, and fear for just a little while. And as summer fades into fall, I want to hold close to those words still. I'm going to keep writing, keep pressing on, never giving up...but also try and enjoy exactly where I am in life right now. Hoping that 'no' just means 'not now' and that something great lies around the corner from me when the time is right.



Thursday, June 7, 2018

After All

The whole point of this blog was to share my work and my writing journey. It's been hard to share about the writing journey, when it's nothing but rejection and not knowing what to do next, fumbling around in the dark. But I know deep down this is what I'm meant to do, be a published author, so I'm sticking with it and soldiering on so to speak.

In total I've written five novels {and one of those I just rewrote completely} The second novel I wrote is different than the others. It's more college-age romance, than the women's fiction like the others. It is a story I love, but not one I have any interest in having traditionally published.

Because of this, I've decided to do something a little different and share it on Wattpad. Wattpad is a website and an app where writers can share their novels, short stories, flash fiction, and fan fiction. Readers have the opportunity to read for free, star, and comment on these stories. I'm only starting to learn about it, but it's an incredible community.

So twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays ideally, I'll be sharing my second novel After All chapter by chapter. You can follow the story here.

This is the description of the story:
Burned by an ex-boyfriend and rejected from her dream school, aspiring artist Lily Collins has arrived for her first year of college in New England looking for a fresh start. But falling face-first onto the stage during freshman assembly is not exactly what she had in mind. It does, however, attract the attention of Ryan Park. The hot lacrosse player, who already has a reputation for being popular with the ladies, is exactly the type of guy Lily wants to avoid this year. She let herself get blinded by love before and refuses to let that happen again.

But eventually, first as friends, then as more, Ryan becomes the lead in all of Lily's stories. She can't help but fall in love with him. She finds her place with him and at school, finally feeling content in life.

Until out of nowhere, it all falls apart. Lily is left to pick up the pieces and put her life back together. But years later, when she runs into Ryan again, she is left to wonder what happened between now and then, and if the questions she seeks answers to will change the past, as well as her future.

So please check it out and feel free to comment and share! 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

If you find my motivation, let me know

I seemed to have lost my motivation somewhere in the waning weeks of 2017. For writing, for reading, for taking the necessary steps in this writing thing I hope to make a career. And I just can't seem to find it again.

I finished my fifth novel and sent it out to my beta readers. An accomplishment I should surely be proud of. And I am. But it's a little harder when you feel like you've been thrust back to the beginning again. I was prepared for ups and downs of the publishing world. But coming back around full circle again was tougher than I imagined.

I'm not complaining. This industry is tough, and it should be. As a reader I really appreciate that. But as a writer, it makes me question. Is it me, or them? Have I just not found the right person to get my work out there, or am I just not talented enough? Knowing when it's smarter to give up or keep going, is a balance I'm still struggling with.

But for now, I made the decision to try one more time. To edit, query, drink copious amounts of Diet Coke waiting for the rejections to roll in. I gave myself a few weeks off to breathe. Not think about writing, or reading, or anything to do with the industry. It was good, and more needed than I realized.

But with the start of the new year, I'm ready to dive back in {or at least fake it till I make it}. While waiting to hear from my readers, I'm going to tackle my query and synopsis. I'm gonna fall in love with books again. I'm gonna remember why I started this whole process to begin with. And how days sent writing are so much better than those I don't. That I've written 5 novels. And even if no one other than my family ever reads them, that's good enough for me. And most importantly, I'll never really know unless I try. Again and again and again.

So here's to 2018. May it bring all our publishing dreams come true. Or at least remind us all why we started this in the first place!

Happy writing, and if you're ever stuck and questioning it all, remember I'm right there with you, slogging through the muck with you.

And feel free to share your most recent favorite books! I'm always looking for something good.