Sunday, November 23, 2008

Power Failure

On Thursday morning, I was working on the macro edits, when suddenly the power went out. Black screen. No electricity! It was not restored until 5 o'clock. I thought I had lost all the edits I had worked on. But on Saturday morning, when I opened the file everything was there. Whew!

Writing tip from macro experience:

Use Google maps to figure out distances between locations in your story. Your readers will want to know how far the manor house is from the village on the Devon coast of England. They will want to know how long it would take for your heroine to travel by coach from London to Bristol, for example. Time is important. Distance is also important.

Use words that express the passing of time when transitioning from one chapter to another, or from one scene to another.

The next day...
The following morning...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Little Writing Tip

(Outside my window this morning: A northern clipper has descended upon the land. A wintry sky, a chilling wind, is still as inspiring as a summer's day.)

I'm tossing in a very brief entry today. Just a little writing tip that I have picked up on while working on the macro edits, which I am about halfway finished. The deadline is Tuesday, so time is precious.

If you want to build intimacy between characters, use dialogue.

So simple. I know, I hear you saying, "I knew that". Ask yourself, if you really do know. In your work in progress, are you moving the story along with dialogue coupled with action? Are you building the relationship between your hero and heroine through their conversations with each other? Are you using the dialogue to make smooth transitions between scenes?

Post your answers to these questions in the 'Comments' section.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


(This photo was taken in 1909 either somewhere in Maryland or in Washington, DC. The couple in the middle, with the girl on the boy's knee to the left are my grandparents. On the back of the photo are all the names. It must have been a church get-together or a teen party of some kind. I will never know.)

Every morning in the Frederick News Post, my hometown newspaper, they post a few clips of what happened on 20/50/100 years ago. The 100 year ones are often humorous, but sometimes serious. They really reflect how different things were back in those days. If a person spit on the sidewalk, they'd be jailed and fined. The railroad was new to the area and a huge attraction as was the automobile. Horses broke from their hitches and ran amuck through the streets.

I've been thinking this morning about 'Time'. How quickly it goes by, how thousands of people have been born an died and past into obscurity forever. Remember the phrase, 'seize the day'. Do that today. Hug those you love, give praise where praise is due, and don't forget your Creator while you are at it.

I'm taking a brief pause from the macro edits this morning to share what happened 100 years ago in Frederick County, Maryland.

On November 14, 1908
Grace, the 3-year-old daughter of Mr. Edgar Philip Flook, residing west of Middletown, met with an ugly and painful accident Saturday, November 7, when she fell backwards from her high chair at the table and almost cut her tongue in two. Dr. Lamar, Middletown, was summoned and after putting the little sufferer under the influence of chloroform, placed eight stitches in the severed tongue.

Miss Ivy Hoover, of Basin, Montana, daughter of Prof. E.C. Hoover, formerly of Wolfsville, this county, writes a friend in Hagerstown that she had her first vote for President this year. In Montana the women have the privilege to vote.

On November 16, 1908

Mr. John Matthews, of near Emmitsburg, has succeeded in growing a new variety of corn, which for lack of a better name has been called “rainbow.” The ear is of good size, fairly well-grained with kernels of widely different color — yellow, white, black, grey and intermediate blues.

Gen. Adam E. King, of Baltimore, has been invited to deliver an address at the dedication of the monument erected on the Monocacy Battlefield to the memory of the Sixty-eighth, the Eighty-seventh and the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiments which took part in the battle at that place on July 9, 1864.

On November 19, 1908

Grant, the equilibrist, and his trained dog Betsy, and Leonard, the funny monologist, entertained another large audience at Family Theatre last night. These acts, together with life motion pictures and illustrated songs, are making a hit this week at this theatre, which is growing in popularity and is drawing larger audiences each evening.The new electric light dynamo purchased from Hagerstown Railway Co. arrived yesterday afternoon on the Frederick Inter-Urban Railroad.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Writing, writing, writing....

(Outside my window, the sky is gray and cloudy. It's rained almost all day.)

Working on edits. My editor is awesome. Writers, this is the first phase of editing you will go through .... the macro edits. Her comments and suggestions are fleshing out my characters to a greater degree, and I'm learning so much about how to change those pesky 'ing' words into a more aggressive voice.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Macro Edits

(Outside my window the sky is gray. It's going to rain. A good day for being inside and making a huge pot of soup.)

I opened my email this morning at 7:30 am. My editor has sent me my macro edits. I haven't opened the file yet. I decided, I'll finish my coffee, eat a bowl of oatmeal, take a shower, dress and then roll up my sleeves. I'm going to put a sign on my door that says 'Do not disturb. Working on edits!'

I'll let you know, dear readers, how this goes, if the file is dripping in red, oozing through the crevasses of my computer, plopping down onto my desk. It may not be so bad. Barbara's email to me was kind. She said
Surrender the Wind is a romantic, satisfying read, and that readers are going to love it. She ended saying I had done a great job and should be proud of my work.

Well, that give me hope.


I couldn't wait. I opened the file, and to my joy it wasn't so bad. In fact, the manuscript is not dripping in red. I glanced over the first through pages, and the notations Barbara has made are great, as well as important to the flow of the story.

I read somewhere recently that every writer, no matter who they are, needs a good editor. I'm on my knees thanking the good Lord for mine.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Diverting a Bit

(What's outside my window on this beautiful autumn Sunday? Golden leaves from my maple tree blanket the deck and yard. Spunky squirrels are chasing one another up the tree. The sky is cloudless and deep blue.)

I love this time of year. It's the time for sweaters, wrapping up in a quilt on the couch to read. It's an inspiring time of the year for me, and I get more writing done than in the summer months. I'm diverting a bit in this entry from the production of Surrender the Wind. I was on the subject of characters the last time, and characters, to me, are what makes a book long as they becoming living, breathing, flesh and blood people to readers.

I'm currently writing another novel entitled Beside Two Rivers. It is next in the Lion and the Eagle series of books that transport readers between early America and its mother --- England. Next weekend my husband and I are going to get up early and take a day trip out to the Potomac and the Harpers Ferry area where part 1 of the story takes place and Beside Two Rivers ends. Hubbie went fishing there yesterday morning at 5 am and said the trees were beautiful, especially the sycamores.

Anyway, I have been working on a scene in the book, and suddenly two characters popped up first in my imagination and then on paper. Rose and Lily --- twin nieces of my hero Ethan Brennan. They have added a new twist to the story --- born out of wedlock to Ethan's sister, Georgianna, who died giving birth to them. Ethan has the responsibility of raising his nieces, as well as protecting them from their unfavorable father and the scandal that could follow them throughout their lives. The heroine, Darcy Morgan, will come to cherish these children as well.

Rose and Lily are day and night. Rose has dark hair, round apple cheeks and large brown eyes. She's a bit of a tomboy at age 3. I've named her after my mother, and modeled her personality from the descriptions of her as a little girl. Bashful Lily has sandy hair, curls that tumble down to her shoulders, blue eyes and creamy skin. She is more the little miss.

This was not planned. Often my minor characters are not. They just pop up. As a writer, does this happen to you while working on your novel in progress? Please share with me.