Monday, September 29, 2014

A Book Shout and Stimulate Your Writing: My Newest Writing Project

I'm excited to share the news of my brother's new book, Our Savior Jesus Messiah. This is a major non-fiction work (the first of three volumes) that has taken him three decades to research and put together--and he's practically giving it away! You can have your own copy about the most important person who ever lived for the cheapest price Amazon will go. Great gift idea too. Click here to read a sample or get yours. Check it out!

Some days I switch writing projects that I'm working on, especially if I get stuck on one of them. A change of pace can be revitalizing to one's writing. Writing something as short as a letter or a blog post can get those creative juices flowing, get you in the writing mode, and before you know it, a task is accomplished. Check mark. 

Recently I was asked to write my own 2,000+ word life sketch for a family project. Ugh, one more thing. Sounded daunting at the start, but what fun to have old memories surface! If you need a break or some stimulation, try a small-scale personal history. There are online worksheets using fill-in-the-blank questions for the basics, and ideas for fleshing out more details. Or just write as the memories flow. Your family will love having these recorded. In fact, you may wish to do your own history or that of an elderly loved one to give as a holiday gift.

Suggestions to Stimulate Writing: 
   Do ten minutes of writing by hand. It stimulates the creative side of your brain. 
   Start with a writing exercise, letter, or blog post--anything to get writing. 
   Clean up your work space and get a comfortable chair/pillow. Put distractions out of sight.
   Set a timer for 15 uninterrupted minutes. Ignore the phone and, if possible, settle the kids into a do-it-yourself activity. 
   Get inspired by reading someone else's writing, a writer's conference, or your critique group. 
   Set a small goal or two that you can realistically achieve today. Be sure to write goals down so you can check them off later. (That part feels good.)
   Reread the last few paragraphs of what you wrote last so you can get into the story again. (I use this one all the time.)
   Adjust your attitude. Be excited that you get to write today! Even 100 words is more than you had yesterday.
What works for you?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Enjoy Reading Missionary Experiences?

Hey, do you have a good Mormon missionary story? I'll tell you what I mean and I'm asking for your HELP!

I love good, inspirational stories and have collected ones from around the world on the topics of bishops and missionaries, including full-time and member- missionary stories. This post is specific to my LDS readers who have a personal missionary experience of their own or from a family member, that they would like to submit (and thereby grant permission for me to use) to my collection of stories for publication. This is a project I can't do without the help of others!

The stories can be any length and any writing style and will be minimally edited as needed. You don't have to be a writer. No names will be used and the submitters will not be identified. No compensation will be given. Your contribution will add to the reading enjoyment and uplift of others, and you can remember it permanently in print. Stories can be funny, educational, cultural, inspirational, or reveal any aspect of missionary life where there is a lesson to learn or a positive ending. I want readers to laugh and cry, feel informed and inspired.

You've thought of one, haven't you? PLEASE take a few minutes to type a few sentences or a page down, or scan directly from a journal and send it to me at my.missionary.story@ Questions are welcome. And it's still not too late to send a story about or from a bishop. (I especially need incidents of bishop's interaction with youth.) I'm winding up these two projects and request your submissions by October 20, 2014. Thanks so much!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Reasons to Mark a Manuscript

Yep, I'm guilty. I just made critique comments for my fabulous new critique group and found myself inserting a few suggestions of another way I would have worded a phrase or sentence. This got me thinking about how often we change another person's words. Sometimes critiquers slip their preferences into the story. Ideas just pop into our heads. If a phrase here or there doesn't feel right, we often want to put our own word choice in. Is it an improvement? Hard to say. I ask myself why I like it better?
TIP: If you can't name a reason, leave it alone. A few specific suggestions can show/teach, but 90% of your markings/comments should suggest reasons rather than making the actual fix.
The pen is a mighty instrument. Be wise.
Add clarity, emotion, tension, description, or information. Replace weak verbs, unnatural dialogue, setting or character inconsistencies. Delete filler words and redundancy. Reword awkward phrases and sentence structure that doesn't vary, pacing that is too fast or slow. You can probably think of more.

Depending on the writer's skill level, you might need to teach with an EXAMPLE. Someone new to critiquing might not 'get it' when a marking says, "Tighten here." You might leave an example and add the reason.
Original: One of us is going to have to go home. Change: One of us needs to go home.
Reasons: Eliminates filler words and the weak To Be verb, same message.

DO mark those extra nice passages with smiley faces, stars, or words. We like to see positive markings too. Interestingly, the reasons you like them are the correct implementation of the reasons above. You might mark, "Good clarification" or "Nice description". Some writers need more positive feedback than others. Be kind. Hopefully we get to the point of understanding that a marked up manuscript means someone took the time to be helpful--if they know their reasons, that is.

Have you had a good or bad critique experience? Did their comments include reasons?
Keep writing and have a great week!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Release, Book Trailer, and Giveaway

Today I'm featuring a new book for your reading pleasure, the trailer, and a giveaway. Enjoy!

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light
 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.
The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah. “The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions Amazon  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  Wattpad  Pinterest
About the Author
"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures." -Deirdra Eden Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Triple Book Launch, Building Tension Through Questions, and Giveaway

Party Time! Three books launched at once? I think it's a great marketing ploy. Hm. I might consider something like this for myself. Anyway, it couldn't have happened to a nicer author, er pair of authors. 

Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.

And the 3 books are:
Damnation: Cassie is going to heaven—if she can get amnesty from hell in the next twenty days. 
Newbie: The housing market is crashing, and Sophie’s life is crashing with it. 
Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life: Falling in love is easy in fiction--in high school, not so much.

I picked to focus on Damnation because I was lucky enough to critique several chapters and found it intriguing. I didn't get to read it yet but when I do, you'll find my Goodreads rating on the sidebar below.
The Spotlight for Damnation:
   Cassie is going to heaven—if she can get amnesty from hell in the next twenty days.  Her assignment is to change the eternal destination of a girl in Albuquerque to earn admittance into heaven.            No sweat.
   But when Cassie returns to earth during her three-week, mostly-mortal assignment, her old habits get in the way, (apparently habits don’t die when you do), the partners assigned to help her are anything but helpful, and it turns out the girl she is supposed to help is the only enemy she made on her first day of school.            Oh, I’m so going to hell.

   Things aren’t all bad—it helps to have a hot angel on your side. Mmm-Marc. Even though he’s all about heavenly business, Cassie would like to make it personal.            Assignment with benefits.

Jo Noelle has provided us with the following guest post and giveaway:
Building Tension Through Questions
We’re looking at some ways to build tension in our stories and decided to ask a lot of questions to get us started.
Decide what the overall book question is going to be for your story. This is the overall premise you are writing to achieve. For Damnation it is:

v Will 17 yo Cassie Witlon earn amnesty from Hell in the next 20 days?

Then as you plan or revise each scene decide what questions you can plant for the readers to be motivated to learn the answer to. Here are some more we used:

v Will Cassie beat the deadline?
v Will Cassie escape?
v Will Cassie get distracted from her purpose?
These are a little cryptic but they become more detailed as we wrote the scenes. We need one question for each scene. Some authors describe this step as making sure your scenes have a "purpose" or a "goal." It's just a little easier for us to think in terms of answering a question.
Possible Sources of Conflict
v Incompatible values
v Grown up issues v. kid issues
v Competition
v Role definitions
v Different relationship needs
v Personality conflict (motives and styles for dealing with people)

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