On Skipping a Post, Autumn Joys, and Essential Details…

Boy, is it tough to get back into a routine, even when I’ve only missed one post. So here we go, after a week in the Deep South. Well, deep for me, anyhow! Being with my friend Patti was a joy, not to mention her family…such CUTE grandchildren! My expectations of the weather were fulfilled, hot and muggy, and that proved true of my time in Columbia as well.

But I mo tell ya, honey, the weatherman lied about the temperature in Nashville. It was nippy down there at the Nashville Book Fair! But getting to meet my publisher at Wordcrafts Press and his wife (Mike and Paula Parker), plus several other authors with this company, was worth it. Making new contacts among those who braved the cold and rain to attend the fair–doesn’t get better than that.

So now, it’s back to Iowa,  where it SNOWED while I was gone…not typical for mid-October. Today, though, it’s in the sixties, and the glories of fall are visiting us once again.

A day like this calls for some rich vegetable soup simmering on the stove. OOPS that was before I added the zucchini…

Notice the color difference? This morning our writing group met at South Square here in St. Ansgar, and one discussion point fits here…the difference one small detail can make in our creativity. The addition of zucchini in this pot brightens the whole stew…gives more of texture to the overall dish. I could add some corn, which would also have its effect.

Now that I’m hunkering down with my World War II nurse’s story again, this principle applies. In the first drafts, I may not have taken time to add all of the “small” things…the seemingly insignificant quirks about locale, habits, or sounds and sights. But these elements become vital to the overall picture for a reader.

This type of editing equals fun for me…how can I make each scene stronger, each character more vivid, each challenge more of an obstacle? On Tuesday evening, I traveled to the Nora Springs Library for a book talk, and readers reminded me of some details I’d forgotten I included in the first book of Women of the Heartland. But they remember them…those details make a difference! (Click below for a peek at the series.)

Women of the Heartland

So many readers of In Times Like These agree on one point: Harold, Addie’s recalcitrant husband, should be shot! (His personality must shine through clearly!)

Creating believable characters–that’s what writing fiction is all about, and here I am, happy to be at it again.

Renee Blare

I’m glad to have Renee Blare visiting today, and hope you enjoy reading her take on creating a novel – in my favorite line, she tells us what gave her whiplash! And if you’d like to win an e-copy of Renee’s new release, please leave a comment.

My Fledgling Leaves the Nest…Finally

Contract Signing 2

You want to write a book. In fact, you’ve started a plot line or rough draft of one already. Now what?
A book’s like a child. Different stories float around inside every author’s mind, flowing out in a way much like labor. Some authors plot, others don’t. And still others combine the process in a convoluted method. Like birth, no matter how the words eventually find their way to the page, the development of a book doesn’t stop with its first dawn.
Take my new release, To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. Five years ago, I wrote my first book in three months. The word flowed like a river from my mind and heart. It was awesome! I couldn’t believe it. God brought the plot together in a phenomenal way, and I knew it was meant to be.
I decided to take the next step. Publication. I asked myself the question every new writer asks…how do I get published? What a question…and an eye opener! Have you seen how many different ways someone can publish today? So, I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Instead of putting my new book on a shelf, I discovered how to truly write a novel.
You have to understand. I’d never penned one in my life. That’s not saying I hadn’t ever written anything before. I loved to write short stories, and poetry, and I’d read every type of book imaginable. But as far as writing one…no. And it showed. Abundantly.
I look back at that first rough draft now and realize why I’ve rewritten the thing four times. Ever heard of head-hopping? It was atrocious. I gave myself whiplash. It took me a couple of hard years to learn the rules of creative writing, but I removed all kinds of nasty little things woven in the manuscript. After that, I discovered the plot holes and restructured my “perfect” story at the advice of an wonderful editor.
Was this in the hope of landing a contract? No, I did it simply to make the story better. Did any of this stop or get easier after I signed on the dotted line with Prism Book Group? No, in fact, I believe I underwent tougher edits courtesy of my awesome acquisitions editor, Susan.
The sun has risen and set on To Soar many times to get it to where it is today. And no story’s ever perfect. As a writer, you will always continue the editing process if it’s left up to you. After all, it’s your baby, your child. You want it to be ready to face the world.
But eventually, the manuscript must leave the nest. That means trusting your work, editor…your publisher that all has been done to make it the best it can be. You’ve done your part. Now it’s time to have faith, trust the Lord, and let go. No matter the outcome, He’s in control.
It’s time to fly.

Renee Headshot2 (300x240) To Soar Cover