Posts Tagged With: writing

Writer Friends–the Greatest Gift Ever!!

I love my writer friends.

I have several now. Some are just twitter acquaintances who tweet little gems of wisdom. Some are well-recognized, writing world powerhouses, whose capacity to blog profoundly helpful and hilariously funny gold mines is beyond impressive. But this morning I am specifically thinking of three amazing ladies who saw me hiding in the corner at DFWCon two years ago. Call it kismet, karma, or providence, these lovelies scooped me up and said, “You’re a part of our pack.” They’ve included me in their writing pursuits ever since, and I will be forever grateful.

When I entered the labyrinth that is writing, I discovered you need people around you who will tell you the truth. Your mama is probably going to tell you your MS is genius, and she always knew, ever since your first ‘How I Spent My Summer’ essay in third grade, that you would become a world-famous author. As much as we need a mama’s love and encouragement, that’s just not going to help. It makes me think of all the people who have tried out for American Idol and made fools of themselves because their mamas said they sing like Whitney Houston, when they really sound like a dying cat (not that I have any personal interaction with a dying cat–but I can imagine).

Cue writer friends. They know what you are pursuing. They read books on improving the writing craft. They stay abreast of writing competitions to enter to help build writing experience and add legitimacy to a query letter. They tell you the truth and make you a better writer.

If you haven’t surrounded yourself with writing friends yet, you need to. They will make the difference between an interesting exercise in putting words on paper and a story that isn’t cliche, overdone, or a plot-less, hot mess. Yes, they will tell you the truth. But you CAN handle the truth, and you need it.

If you’re just starting, may I suggest a few big names to follow (not even close to a complete list but some of my faves):

The Indefatigable: Kristen LambThe Champion of Hook: Les Edgerton, The Not Safe, But Good: Query Shark

I am super grateful for Diana Beebe, Nicole Grabner, and Liza Caruthers for taking me in that day. You guys are awesome!

Categories: new author, Writing, writing support | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments


Please click on the link to DL Hammons’ WRiTE CLUB to learn about an opportunity to win attendance at DFWCON 2015.  It should be an excellent conference, and the WRiTE CLUB will be a great way to hone your writing skills.

So, pull on your gloves, and swing away!

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Quiet Thoughts

No noise in the house this morning. Hubby to work. Children asleep. This means I am on my sofa enjoying coffee and silence. I’ve always loved poems, so it is only natural I wound up writing one. Hope you enjoy it.



I love the quiet stillness of morning.

Fetal-curled, hinting at my natal beginning,

I am a child held in my Father’s arms.

No words necessary.

His powerfully tender embrace is sufficient.

I lay back my head, catch the cadence of His breath, and fall into its time —

Rhythm found only in silence.


Categories: God, morning, poetry, silence, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Rearrangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love DFWCon

I’m going to borrow Freytag’s Triangle to tell my conference story. Oh, you remember Freytag…from 9th grade…when you had to diagram out a short story’s rising action, climax, falling action… Now you’re with me.

The Inciting Moment:  I drove up to the Hurst Conference Center Saturday morning full of anticipation and anxiety. I didn’t know anyone there — just a few faces from Twitter. After checking in, I slipped into a seat at the closest empty table and stared like a pothead at the starry ceiling of the conference room. I must have looked lonely because some fellow writers joined me, snapping me out of my internal safe place and forcing me to make small talk about writing. Following the conference kickoff speech and a few announcements, I was off to learn how to be a writer.

Rising Action:  The first session was “Pitch Practice & Tips” with Jenny Martin, A. Lee Martinez, Julie Myers, and Kim Boykin. It was immensely helpful, mostly because they all seemed like real people. Of course they were real people, but I was intimidated and they weren’t intimidating. (Actually, A. Lee Martinez was intimidating but in a hilarious sort of way that made it all ok.)

Then I went to “Finding Your Writing Voice” with Jenny Martin. This workshop rocked! She had great pointers with specific examples from published works. I’m the kind who has to see what I’m learning — so this was awesome!

Then, in Kim Boykin’s “Making a Story Great With Texture,” I tweeted I was in the session hiding in the back, and a fellow twitterer said she was there, too. She turned around in her seat in the second row and told me to move up with her. God bless Rosemond Cates (children’s book writer extraordinaire). I would have hidden in the back of every class. I had no idea I was so introverted.

Later that afternoon, I gave my first pitch to an agent. She was lovely and approachable. I’m happy to say the pitch went well, really well.

Climax: Now you would have thought the pitch was the climax, right? Well, technically the climax can be a good or bad thing in the protagonist’s life (“the moment of greatest tension, uncertainty…also called the ‘crisis.'”). Yeah.

Coming off the high of my pitch, I skipped into the small group session I’d signed up for. Ten writers, with eight minutes each to read their queries and the first two pages of their manuscript, would receive feedback from an agent and an editor. I listened intently as seven of the ten attendees went ahead of me. Each manuscript was fascinating and well done. My heart pounded, and I thought I’d blackout any moment. It was terrifying. And then it was my turn. I read. They critiqued. I laughed out loud, but inside I was crushed. I thought, “What am I doing here? I can’t write.”

Falling Action:  I carried this despair and disappointment through the night and woke with it sitting on my chest the next morning. The enthusiasm that had floated me to the conference the day before had gone, and I had to drag myself to go finish what I’d started. After all, the conference was expensive, and I wasn’t going to waste my money.

My first Sunday session was appropriately titled “How Not to Suck.” I sat there hating that I did suck, but then A. Lee Martinez essentially said you had to at least suck because that meant you were writing. He said it was like a child who draws a dinosaur that doesn’t look anything like a dinosaur. The child would say, “It’s a dinosaur. It may not be a good dinosaur, but it’s MY dinosaur.”

Something in that kindled a sense of hope. And then I went to the session on “Revising Like a Pro.”

Jenny Martin and Heather Alexander explained the process of essentially tearing apart the “lego structure” of your manuscript and rearranging to make it great. That’s the point of the editing process. It’s not that what is written is bad. Okay, so it might be bad, but it can be better.

Denouement:  I’ve had a few days to digest the whole conference experience. On Saturday night I would have told you I would never write again. But now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’m fired up. I’m going to clean up my MS and shoot it off to the agent I pitched. I want to write. I love to write. I have a story to tell. And, I’m just going to get better with the more experience I have.

DFWCon was a great experience. I plan on going back!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment


I had my very first experience with pitching my novel on twitter yesterday. Talk about a challenge! Trying to make my book interesting in 140 characters was unfathomably difficult. That’s not words, folks; that’s 140 characters: spaces, letters, punctuation! H.A.R.D.

Despite my best efforts, no agent requested pages of my story for review. From 8 am EST to 6 pm EST yesterday I tweeted my little heart out and watched as my hopes were dashed hourly. I’ll be honest and say it makes me want to throw up a little and cry a lot.

Still, I learned so much, and I made some new twitter friends (some of whom are now my blog friends, too)! They stepped up to the challenge and faced it with impressive skill (and dare I say, faith). I’m so excited for those who got page requests; their pitches helped me learn how to perfect mine.

I’m not so bummed as to quit trying. I know there will be another pitch opportunity coming in June. And, I have a writer’s conference to attend in May. You can bet I’ll be flexing my writing muscles in preparation.

Kudos to Brenda Drake for making this happen. Thanks to all the agents who took a look. I’ll be watching my new writing friends careers with excitement!

Write on!!!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

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