Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Writing Conference

How do you choose a writing conference to attend? Time? Money? Distance from home? Quality of the Speakers?

There are so different things writing conferences offer. This year I have a problem. In Montana, there are few conferences offered. I want to attend SCBWI. I want to attend Authors of the Flathead. I hoped to attend Romance Writers.

Well guess what. All the conferences happen the SAME weekend. The only conferences in Montana all happen on the same date. Are you kidding me?

If you haven't attended a writing conference you must! Find a way - figure it out. My amazing writing group happened because of a conference. What you'll learn is invaluable. You'll be super inspired by all the other creative people with a passion for writing.

If expense is the reason you've held back, attend virtual WriteOnCon conference. I love this conference, too. It isn't the same as being at a live conference, but I learn something each year. This will be my third year attending.

Wish me luck deciding which conference to attend. I'll need it.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


One of my favorite bloggers, is Janice Hardy. She gives so much back to other writers. Her writing advice is always right what I need, when I need it. She is clear, concise, and great at giving examples. Recently, she ran a fun, generous contest.

Criteria: Write a 250-words or less opening that includes three critical details: An exotic setting, a world in economic decline, and character who has recently suffered heartbreak. 

Well, I should've been meeting my daily work count goal but ... it sounded way too fun to skip. I knew immediately what I wanted to write. Yes, it is a bit of an idea I've had on the back burner in my mind. I love while writing when the details just pop. I'd just read a bit about using dialogue from Pamela Fagan-Hutchins, a guest on Janice's blog and applied that too.

I never expected to win. The joy was in the challenge of creating a specific snippet. (My word of the day, according to my students.) After writing, I was filled with that sense of fulfillment from the energy of creation.

Remember, it is okay to take a break from your writing and write something completely different. At times I deprive myself from writing anything except for my WIP, but I've realized how therapeutic that release can be. Give it a go and write something different - just for the fun of it. Isn't that why we write any?

Here is my winning opening:

Her graying chicken nest hair stuck out at odd angles. Deep wrinkles lined her dark skin, but the way her milky, unseeing eyes stared straight into me, bothered me the most. I wiped the grime and sweat off my peeling, sunburned cheeks.

“He be cursed, child. Nottin’ gonna save him.” She cackled and tapped her crooked walking stick into the white sand.

“Please. Bring him back.” I grabbed for her bony arm, but she slapped me before I touched her. “I agree,” I swallowed hard, “to your terms.”

The turquoise waves of what used to be paradise lapped the beach behind this voodoo queen’s skirt, swaying with the balmy breeze or the devil’s fingers, I didn’t know which.

She stirred a pot strung above a fire, waiting…maybe considering. “There be no goin’ back.”

I rubbed at the chafed skin beneath my tattered sundress and nodded. “I understand.” I eyed the black pot. My stomach growled like a lion.

“You be starving, but you still be youself. He not be worth dis.” She scooped up a bowl and placed it in my shaking hands. I sank down and positioned the remnants of my dress beneath me.

The stringy meat sank in the thin broth. It could be rat. I guzzled it down and scooped the last of the gristly meat up with my grubby fingers.

Her shadow fell over me. A smile twisted her cracked bleeding lips. She cupped her skeleton hands and blew white powder into my eyes. Her face morphed and blurred.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012

Sorry to have not posted for so long! My goal was to post once a week, but it always takes me awhile to get back into the swing of school.

I attended two amazing writing conference. Remember if you haven't attended a writing conference, really find a way to make it work.

I attended the SCBWI conference in Montana. The 320 Ranch hosted the event, and the setting couldn't have been better. Other than the fact that it was nearly eight hours from home.

Next, I attended the Authors Flathead Writing Conference. I am always amazed at the quality of the speakers we draw for a small area. I learned so much and can hardly wait to give it all a try.

If you've never heard of NaNoWriMO, it is National Novel Writing Month. I've always thought participating sounded both fun and daunting. This year I really wanted to give it a shot. As a teacher, I really thought it would be great for my students as well. Over seventy of my students will be taking the challenge in November through the Young Writers Program NaNoWriMo. It even meets Common Core requirements.

I am in the planning stages for November. I am an absolute panster, but I am trying a little outlining this time. I am attempting a reform. We shall see how I do with it. I am completing the Young Writers Workbook of completely non-lame lessons along with my class. I didn't want to ask them to do anything I hadn't tried first. The lessons have been fun and really helped me focus on my character.

Consider challenging a friend to write a new novel in November too! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Write On Con

I strongly recommend attending writing conferences.  

The conferences I attended convinced me to revise my novel, again. Thank goodness I did.

I know it is difficult to get away - trust me. My life is crazy. The price of the conference and travel can be expensive, but it is completely worth it. Really find a way. Look for a local writing group in your area or conferences offered by Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators There are national and state conferences.

If you truly can't attend a conference, attend a free conference online. You can participate in your pj's. The 2012 line up looks great as always. Your time will be well spent. If you can't attend all, choose a couple of events you're interested in. You can also go back and read through afterwards. This is not as much fun!

The conference is August 14th and 15th. There are things to enter in advance and sign up in the forums, so visit soon.

Write On Con

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Photo of the Day

I couldn't resist sharing this beautiful sunset at Swan Lake.

Swan Lake July 2012

Great Contest!

For those of you who don't know me well, I am always on the lookout for contests. I love contests. The why is easy, but multifaceted.

1. Contests are exciting.
2. Huge bonus -You meet and interact with other writers! I learn different things from each writer.
3. Your craft improves.
4. Your work advances.
5. You could win an awesome prize like a critique or book.

YA Highway is having a great contest. Stop on by.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Exercise and Writing

Do you like exercise? Really, does anyone? I guess some people do. I have a crazy niece that loves it. I am NOT one of those people.

I've been visiting some other writers' websites, and I noticed a common theme. Many writers are unhappy with their weight. Duh? Right?

As writers, we must sit and type. I don't know of any other way to make writing work. I have tried Dragon Fly, but it drove me crazy. I might have given up too soon, but you still need to be close to your computer with little noise. Another problem is that it's easy to have a snack to fuel your brain. Calories...calories.

I too am the unhappiest I've ever been with my shape. I decided that this summer I AM EXERCISING. I've decided this in the past too, of course, but my bikini has never looked so unappealing before. My motivation is huge.

I made an amazing breakthrough.
If I listen to the same music I listen to while I am writing (I must drown out life), I can run on my Elliptical and plot my book. My unconscious must have been working on problems in my WIP. I am rarely quiet enough for my subconscious to draw much attention. My even better breakthrough is that while I run, all the problems in my story come out. I literally find all the holes in my story. Things I've forgotten - like one of my character's shoulder was sliced, but then I forgot to deal with it. 

Running and plotting, who knew? One of the added benefits is that it makes the running go by so much faster. Maybe by the end of summer, I'll look great and my plot will be all the better for it. Bonus.