Showing posts from October, 2011

My Dickens Confession

As a BYU English graduate, I had the opportunity last week to speak to a group of English majors. I always love speaking opportunities like that; it's quite different than discussing dialog or plotting at a writing conference. (It's also a bit weird to look out at the class, feeling like I just graduated, and realize that most of those in the audience are half my age. Ahem.)
In the intro that Brother Spotts, the academic advisor, gave for me, he mentioned that my senior course (a semester-long required class where you focus on one author) was on Charles Dickens. I was impressed; he had to research that one out.
I had a great time speaking to the class, and afterward, I had the urge to pull some Dickens off the shelf.
I absolutely loved my Dickens course. We didn't read the typical Great Expectations and such that most of us were already familiar with. Instead we read books like Our Mutual Friend and Bleak House. Our professor led fascinating classroom discussions that challen…

How I Pulled an "Anne"

Or: Maud's Influence
Like many writers (at least, I believe), I am influenced here and there by the books I read. Not in a blatant "I'm stealing this plot" sort of way, and not even in the more subtle, "I'm totally using that metaphor" kind of way, either.
If I come across a passage where an emotion comes across powerfully, I'll step back, put on my writer hat, and try to figure out how the author made the scene so effective. I watch for structure: what works well, what doesn't. Most importantly, why.
And so on.
But there was one case where a book impacted mine in a more direct way.
I won't do spoilers, so here's my attempt at explaining while being vague:
There was a case where I wrote Character A needing redemption in the eyes Character B, so A and C could be together. As I pondered the plot issue, I remembered a device in Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery (who preferred to be called Maud, not Lucy).
I realized with an aha that …

WNW: Homophones, Take 3

Time for another round of homophones that are commonly confused.
Six more pairs in today's Word Nerd Wednesday:
rise/raise Something rises on its own, like bread or the sun. Or yourself, if you're talking about getting out of bed in the morning.
A person or thing raises another object, like the curtain on a stage, or an employee's wage, or children.
Hint: The second word (raise) requires a direct object, like the curtain or the wage. It can't be alone: I raised. We raised. He raised. Nope. Those don't make any sense. We need a "what" that is the object of the raising.

everyday/every day This one has its own WNW post, but in short, the single word (everyday) is an adjective, while the two-word version describes a time period. It answers the question, "When?"
Tip: If you can add "single" in the middle, you know you need the two-word version. Brushing my teeth is an everyday thing. I brush my teeth every (single) day.
fair/fare If something is just …

My Current Writing Life

Thought I'd post a few pictures of what I've been up to lately.
In September, I went up to the League of Utah Writers Round-up conference. Due to mommy commitments, I wasn't able to stay the entire time (next year, I hope!). I did some one-on-one manuscript critiques for Precision Editing Group. At the hotel, Josi, Heather, Julie and I wrote, laughed, ate snacks at a bakery, and ultimately buckled down to go over mutual scenes from the Newport Ladies Book Club series to make sure they all match.
(We had to finish that over the phone Saturday night, since I was no longer at the hotel.)
Saturday morning before my critique sessions, I spent some time with my laptop. I literally kicked off my heels and typed away. Unbeknownst to me, Josi snapped a picture.
I believe this is the only photo in existence where I'm drafting something involving the military wives from Band of Sisters. Here, I'm working on the sequel (as yet unnamed). The book is about the re-entry time after t…

Come! Learn to Write About YOU

A lot of people tell me they aren't writers. And in the sense of writing for publication, maybe they aren't. But then they say they "can't" write, and I want to blow a raspberry at them and say that yes, they can too write.

Everyone should write, if nothing else than to experience the power of the written word and of creating the written word for yourself and your family. That doesn't mean it's up to you to write the Great American Novel or anything like that.

It can mean blogging. Journaling. Family history. It can also mean writing a personal history.

About a year ago, I attended the funeral of my aunt Eleanor, my father's older sister. As I listened to her daughter, my cousin Becky, relate Aunt Eleanor's life sketch, I couldn't help but think about the day (many, many years hence, I hope) when my father passes. I sat there thinking that I didn't know the kinds of stories about my dad that Becky was telling about her mother. And I wan…