Tuesday, July 27, 2010

You write like....who?

On one of those larks that writers pursue when they're supposed to be putting fingers to keyboard, I checked out a site called I Write Like.  Paste in a few paragraphs from something you've written and, voila, you find out who you write like.

I write like William Gibson.

So I had to Google William Gibson, since I was feeling guilty wondering if he was some 17th century English poet that I ought to recognize.  Although I can't see my writing resembling some dead English poet, but still....

Wikipedia calls him the "noir prophet" of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction.  He coined the phrase "cyberspace" and went on to write "steampunk" science fiction.  "Gibson is one of the best-known North American science fiction writers, fĂȘted by The Guardian in 1999 as 'probably the most important novelist of the past two decades.'"

OK, then.  I have used the word "cyberspace" before, often referring to e-mails and checks promised by my Nigerian great-great uncle who died without an heir.  Knowing that the internet does not lie, I'm wondering if I should re-think the genre I've chosen.

Would a William Gibson look-alike write mystery when steampunk science fiction awaits?  I'll let you know as soon as I figure out just what it is.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Those headlines

My current mystery involves a young newspaper reporter on a small weekly newspaper.  I've spent time in the field of journalism and have collected humorous headlines over the years.  I ran across a site today with more.  Here are a few:

Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Quarter of a Million Chinese Live on Water
Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped
Reagan Wins on Budget, but More Lies Ahead
Robber Holds Up Albert's Hosiery
Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should be Belted
Shot Off Woman's Leg Helps Nicklaus to 66
Smokers are Productive, but Death Cuts Efficiency
Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say
Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again
Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim
Stiff Opposition Expected to Casketless Funeral Plan
Stolen Painting Found by Tree
Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
Two Convicts Evade Noose, Jury Hung
Two Sisters Reunite after Eighteen Years at Checkout Counter
Two Soviet Ships Collide - One Dies
War Dims Hope for Peace
William Kelly was Fed Secretary

Taken from alphadictionary.com's funny newspaper headlines.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A writer's drive

Fascinating post on co-writing at The Kill Zone today but what I found interesting was Michelle Gagnon's description of a dedicated writer.  Such things as drive, daily writing, working hard to perfect the craft of writing.... that separates the wanna-be's from the writers.

I'm trying to take the path of a dedicated writer.  If you know me, you know that lions roar.  I'm not giving up on this.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A new goal

First, the 10,000 word hurdle went down.  Then 15,000.  Now I'm hoping to clear 20,000 words this month.  Thanks to ACFW's NovelTrack, which has provided the structure and the encouragement to write daily and look at my word count.

I want to continue writing like this so watch for new progress meters after July.  And now I'm wondering if I can take on NaNoWriMo in November.  50,000 words in 30 days. Sure!  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Look out!

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.  
~Henry Ford

Monday, July 19, 2010


Picking the right names for my characters can bog me down.  I want my main characters to have perfect names, whatever those are.

Recently I named a character "Ken" but after two chapters decided he really wasn't a Ken but a Mark.  So I did a find&replace.  That worked well until I re-read chapter 1 to discover that my main character had not "taken a walk" but "taMark a walk."  So be careful with those name changes.

I like to use the Social Security popular baby names page, which shows me the top names for each year.  That helps me find a name appropriate to the age of my character.

And I also found a list of most common surnames, in case I can't think of those.  That list is at Mongabay.com.

In my current WIP, my main character is named Addie.  After my kids asked, "Why THAT name?" I had to admit I had no good reason.  Who knows?  We may be doing a find and replace soon.  Or not.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

First drafts

James Scott Bell has an excellent post today at The Kill Zone about writing that first draft.  It's easy to overanalyze your work in a first draft rather than just pounding it out.  Bell lists four basics for the first draft.  Concentrate on those and edit later.  Check it out.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Scaring myself

I once heard Donita K. Paul talk about writing a scene in one of her stories that was so vivid that she scared herself. 

Boy, do I understand now.  Today's chapter was one of scariest I've ever written. So I'm chilling here for a little while.  But I got 1208 words in, so that helps offset the creepy chapter.

I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer, even in this mystery, and I've layered in lots of details that may be clues or they may be red herrings.  It makes for a rich stew that lent itself to an unexpected and creepy scene today.  I'm definitely not bored with things as they're rolling along.

BTW, I do know who did it.  Unless the clues reassemble themselves. 

A progress meter

The progress meter that I'm using on blog comes from StoryToolz, which offers several free resources for writers.  In addition to progress meters, you can tap into two kinds of story generators.  And there's a readibility chart on there as well.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What I'm learning this month...

In taking on the Novel Track challenge, I've learned these things so far:
  • I can write at least 350 words per day.
  • I can't edit a blank sheet but I can edit words and sentences.
  • The act of writing stimulates the creativity center (sometimes)
  • Good work can come on days when I just muscle it through with no inspiration.  
  • I have trouble stopping at 350 words.
  • Having over 12,000 words and the month is only half over encourages me to write on.

Mary DeMuth, who sets a standard for orderly determination in her writing, gives some excellent advice in an article for Writer's Digest.  

Write on!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Writing goals

I just cleared 10,000 words in my work in progress (WIP) tonight.  I didn't think I could write that many words in July but now I'm wondering of 20,000 is possible.

This daily writing has been wonderful and I discovered a new point of view (POV) character tonight who offers some crazy possibilities to the story.  I tend to write by the seat of my pants and these characters have been uncovering all kinds of intriguing possibilities of late.  I'm enjoying the ride!

Donita K. Paul

At a H.I.S. meeting (a Colorado chapter of ACFW) last night, I got to meet Donita K. Paul, who is a champion for the dragon sub-genre of Christian fiction.  She talked about some advanced writing ideas and then signed some of her books. 

She impressed me with her quick wit and creativity.  And her confidence in her craft.  She discussed three main points:

1)Wait For It - don't give away everything in the beginning of your story.  Plant hints but then leave them dangling for awhile.  Just be sure you eventually resolve those early embedded questions.

2)Resist the Urge to Explain - Trust your reader's intelligence.  Don't define the spices in your story; allow them to subtly flavor the story.  Don't explain but rather tickle the reader's curiosity. 

3) Flashback cautions - avoid backstory and flashbacks because those stop a story's momentum.

 And sitting among a group of fellow writers is always delicious, exchanging ideas and encouraging one another.  The writing process can be a lonely one:  just me and that computer screen.  But we're not alone and it was great to be reminded of that again at last night's meeting.

Colorado has several ACFW chapters plus we're hoping to get one started in our town.  ACFW is a wonderful organization with lots of resources and support for Christian fiction writers.  

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My youngest daughter used to love to invent her own words. A famous one was "smugged" as in, the vapor-covered mirror in the bathroom was smugged. She'll love this new writing resource just because of the title:  Wordle.  Check it out and you, too, will be creating beautiful word clouds!


In my WIP, a conversation between my main character and her pastor took an unexpected turn when he invited her to go to the cemetery with him.  They found a creepy headstone there that just put a new muddle into my mystery story.  I hadn't expected that so we'll see where it takes us.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I am currently participating in the ACFW NovelTrack challenge for July.  Although I almost missed this opportunity (didn't believe in the power of accountability, apparently), I am rushing forward at an amazing clip for me.  Watch my word counter to see my progress.  I nervously agreed to aim for 10,000 words in my mystery novel but I think I'll get well past that.  

Addendum:  I upped my goal to 15,000.

Come in!

Welcome to my writing site.  I hope to include resources, snippets of what I'm working on, reports, and whatever pops in my head.  I'm a curious writer who likes to explore. Welcome!