Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Well, it is that time of year again where I encourage writers to make GOALS instead of Resolutions.

In May of 2001, I listened to Henriette Anne Klauser speak about her book, Write It Down, Make It Happen, at the "Oklahoma Writer's Federation" conference. She told of her experience with writing down goals and how that was her first step toward achieving them.

She encouraged us to write down 10 goals. Somethings on my list were to be published in Woman's World, to be a public speaker, to go to the United Kingdom and to finish a book and get an agent. I've done it all.

I also wrote that I wanted to weigh 140 lbs. Oh well, like I said, most have happened.

January 1st is a great time to write down goals instead of resolutions. Dream big. Write your goals down, and be faithful to do your part. Rarely are things handed to us on a silver platter.
The reason I've been published is because I wrote something and submitted it.

My list last year were:

1. Finish and sell my nonfiction parenting book, "Now What Do I Do?" Almost finished and will be going to the publisher early summer.

2. Get a good start on my second novel, "Shifting Shadows." Sidetracked by a request to write a "how-to" on inspirational writing, due out early summer.

3. Make enough money from my writing and speaking to support my craft. Getting there.

4. Sell my novel, "In The Elephant's Shadow" and have a contract for "Shifting Shadows." Didn't make this one. However, I am rewriting Elephant's Shadow and turning it into a historical romance--a more marketable product.

5. Write a travel column for a newspaper. Mercifully, this didn't happen. Who has the time!

My goals for 2009 are:

1. Finish my rewrite and get it into the hands of my agent before the year is out.

2. To triple my speaking engagements.

3. Earn enough money from writing and speaking to pay for my travel.

4. To help 25 people get published.

5. For INSPIRE! to go into multiple printings.


How about you? What are some of your goals for 2009? Let me know in the comment portion of this blog.

ALSO, I mentioned above the writer's conference in Oklahoma. This is seriously a great conference. This year the Conference is, "WORD BY WORD," will be held April 30- May 2, 2009 at the Norman Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center, Norman, Oklahoma. The conference features approximately 25 authors, editors, and agents offering 40 informative programs to help writers learn to write better and get published.

For more information go to www.owfi.org

Now, start listing your GOALS!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

OOPS!

That is what I said when I retyped my story from Chicken Soup for the Nurses' Soul to use in my book, INSPIRE! Writing From the Soul, due out this spring. My purpose for retyping it was to use it as an example of sense of place. But what I saw were glaring errors. You see, I wrote that story nine years ago and since then I've continued to study and learn the craft of writing.

What did I see?

Passive verbs, too many adverbs, repeated words and phrases. For example:

Passive Verb

Then: The room was dark except for the soft morning light peeping through the semi-drawn curtains.

Now: Soft morning light peeped through semi-drawn curtains, illuminating the darkness.

Then: His eyes began to mist.

Now: His eyes misted.

See how that is more immediate and gives a stronger sense of place?

Adverb

Then: Gently picking up his delicate hand, she held it in hers.

Now: She slipped his delicate hand in hers.

Again, more immediate and succinct.

Repeated words and phrases

Then: When Freddie came to check his lunch tray, she found him thoughtfully stroking the pin. He turned to her and said, “I kept my promise, look.” He had eaten a few bites off his tray. They were making progress.

Now: When Freddie came to check his lunch tray, she found him thoughtfully stroking the pin. He turned to her and said, "I kept my promise, look." He had eaten a few bites. They were making progress.

What you don't see is that I had written "lunch tray" two times in the paragraph preceding this one. Too many repeated words fatigues the reader.

What I've learned since the year 2000?

Avoid passive words, too many adverbs, and repeated words.