Monday, May 19, 2014

More Writing About Writing

            Shel Harrington (the divorce attorney who doesn’t like divorce) invited me to participate in a blog hop that asked the following questions of writers. Fortunately for me—and unfortunately for you—this opportunity comes at a time when I’m excited about some upcoming projects and possibilities. The result is a rather lengthy post, but that's what you get when you ask a writer to write about writing.
What are you working on?
Lots going on right now, and I like it that way.

I currently have several projects in the works, but probably the one I’m most enthusiastic about is converting Beyond the Farthest Star to an ebook. I’ve been contemplating this for a couple of years, and finally—with encouragement from Sarah Basore—decided to go for it. The determining factors were a couple of workshops at the recent OWFI Conference. This a revolutionary time in the book publishing business, and much of the stigma of self-publishing is vanishing. I’ve weighed the pros and cons, and lately it seems the scales are tipping in favor of the pros. Also, I think my tolerance for risk-taking has grown. Sooo, in the not-too-distant future, look for my book on your favorite reading device!
Other projects include my finished manuscript, a women’s fiction piece with the working title Crossroads. My initial experience with electronic publishing will influence the course I take with it.  I’m also just beginning a book which centers on a woman getting out of prison and beginning a new life. I’m still blogging (obviously), and I’m trying to enter more contests these days. 
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
A tough question because as the verse in Ecclesiastes states, “There is nothing new under the sun.” So I’ve taken tried and true themes and—I like to think—added fresh twists. For example, BtFS is basically about bullying, friendship, and young love—definitely nothing new in young adult fiction. But I gave it an unexpected ending. In Crossroads, I borrow on the “reversal of fortune” idea. My pitch for this story: Take the Jasmine character in the movie Blue Jasmine—or Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire—and set her in the middle of Oklahoma with no drugs and better friends.
Why do you write what you do?
First, I blog because thoughts and ideas bounce around in my head like marbles in a pinball machine. Some of those thoughts I want to share and get feedback on. Others I just want to get out of my head before it explodes. Some are serious (gems), some completely inane (gimcracks). As far as books go, I also learned at the OWFI Conference that I can classify my work as inspirational women’s fiction. I was thrilled to learn this because I’ve struggled for some time with pinpointing the category in which I write. My work isn’t overtly Christian, but it’s based on a Christian world view, and I make references to Christian beliefs. I want my writing to entertain—and hopefully elicit the occasional laugh—but I also want it to inspire, to leave the reader with a sense of hope.  
How does your writing process work?
Huh? I’m supposed to have a process? No, really, I guess I do have a process. I just don’t have a routine. I don’t get up each morning, have a cup of coffee, and devote the next four hours to writing. But, like probably 90% of bloggers, I have a mile-high stack of newspaper articles or slips of paper with thought-provoking quotations or subjects I use to generate content. Or sometimes I just elaborate on observations I’ve made as I grow older and go about my daily life. Regardless of where the ideas originate, I try to remain consistent with my posts, writing one at least every one or two weeks. Blogging regularly is good for me. It requires a modicum of self-discipline, and when you’re retired from a “real” job, self-discipline can present a challenge. Another part of my so-called process is belonging to the Inklings, a writing group. If you aspire to be a serious writer—serious being a relative term—a writing group is the best thing you can do for yourself. The group will encourage you, feed your creativity, give you honest feedback, and hold you accountable. Plus, you’re guaranteed there will always be a few people who’ll read what you wrote.
As far as my process for writing a novel, I try to write a general outline first and then write the scenes in chronological order. I also write down events on a calendar as they occur, so I can keep the time sequence straight in my mind. Not everyone adheres to this plan, but it works best for me, even though I do adjust the plot for characters who won’t cooperate.
This is probably waaay more information than anyone wanted. If you’re still reading at this point, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and applaud your tenacity.
Next Monday, the destination on the tour will be Marisa Mohi’s blog. A member of Oklahoma WomenBloggers and self-described “unprofessional librarian,” Marisa brings her unique perspective to a variety of subjects.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Perfect Way to Say "Happy Mother's Day!"

Happy Mother's Day, Mama.
I love you!
       I'll admit it: I hate picking out greeting cards. And I especially hate it when the occasion calls for something seriously heart-felt. For the most part, my family is not now and never has been into "mush." That makes it extremely difficult to find a Mother's Day card for my mother. One that strikes a good balance between syrupy sweet poetry stating what a perfect mother she is and...let's say...Maxine  issuing a warning about mixing medications. However, this year, after several minutes hours in CVS, I finally came up with an appropriate card, and I managed to get it in the mail so she'll receive it in time. (I think.)
     But wouldn't you know, just when I'm feeling very smug about my accomplishment, I actually do find a way to say exactly what I want. I can't put it in the mail, but I can share it here. And while it does get  a little mushy in parts, it tells the truth about "perfect" mothering. So Mama, this is for you and all mothers who are “lavish in love, extravagant in truth, big spenders of grace.”