Quote of the Weekend

“What-e’er my God ordains is right:

Holy his will a-bideth;

I will be still what-e’er He doth,

And follow where He guideth:

He is my God; though dark my road,

He holds me that I shall not fall:

Where-fore to him I leave it all.

– Samuel Rodigast

(This is one of those great hymns that is unfettered by time.  We all face moments, some of them very long, where our road is dark.  It is then that we need to be reminded that He Holds us!  He holds our souls and we will not fall, but by His grace, endure.)

Peace on Earth

I kneel not in humility,
Nor bow overwhelmed by my own sin,
No!
This joy cannot be contained,
cannot be expressed sitting still before the Lord.
I dance swirling in ever faster paced circles,
Singing in an ever louder voice,
“Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Man!”
This great step of grace is the reason for the season!
No longer do I face my rightful King, just death sentence on my head.
He has extended the olive branch, for His glory, to me!
“Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Man!”
Dancing and singing,
Driven to my feet, impassioned in my voice by this message!
A message worth the world over celebrating!
“Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Man!”

Thanksgiving 19

I’m thankful for baking day!  After I workout, I’m going to bake two Sweet Potato Pies, a Mincemeat Pie and Fudge.  Then I’ll drop some of it off at Mom and Dad’s.  Tomorrows the big day and I couldn’t be happier!  God has been so good to me in so many ways!  Yea for FOOD!!!!  And yes, I will be unapologetically posting pictures of food on Instagram!

Writing Journal – Reader Fatigue

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That moment.

After reading my first finished novel, my little brother took me out to lunch to tell me what he thought about it.  He pointed out a few gun mistakes I had made, complimented my antagonist, and was both helpful and encouraging.  But, the thing which stands out the most about our lunch was when he pointed down at a specific page, and said, “This is where I got tired of Sophie crying”.

He could point to the exact moment when he got tired of her crying.  He could say at the exact sentence he wanted to just howl with reader frustration.  Now granted, she has lots to cry about.  Her life is short, dark, and painful.  Crying is pretty normal for her and anyone in the situation she is in.  But.  But!!! But when you’re writing a story, your reader isn’t reading the story in its time context.  Meaning, you don’t pick up a book and read what the characters did in the morning and then set it aside until the next morning.  You read about days, weeks, and sometimes months of their lives in a matter of hours.  The timing is very different than real life.  Part of developing your craft is learning how to not bog the reader down with repetitive actions.  It is very realistic for Sophie to cry a lot, but when you read over and over and over that she’s crying, it gets old. It loses emotional impact.154547_119526121443586_1157083_n

Another element of this is character quirks.  I have a character that runs his hands through his hair when he’s worried, thinking, or stressed.  This leaves him with messy hair most of the time. It’s one of his trademarks. It’s also something that gets carried on in other characters as they mimic him tying the generations of the story together.  But I have to find just the right balance of Benj’ running his hands through his hair and not over doing it and boring the reader.  I need it to be more of a subconscious link than a spoken link.

Recently, I reread my book Happy Thought which is sitting in my computer resting.  Someday I’ll dig it out and start editing it, but right now it needs a break.  As I read it, for enjoyment, not for editing purposes, I realized I had a character constantly pressing her face into the jacket of her friend every time the situation got tense.  And in my books that’s every moment.  I, as the reader, got tired of this repetitive motion.  In real life it happened over hours and days.  As the reader it happened every few minutes.  That moment!  It was at that moment that I got bored with the face in jacket stuff.  When I go back and edit that will be one of the first things I fix.

So, where are your moments?  What are your writer blind spots that a reader finds irritating?  What are your character ticks that might be overdone?  Find an honest alpha/beta reader to help you see where you might be causing reader fatigue.

Thanksgiving 18

I’m thankful for my writing group and my writing class.  I’m thankful for the women who gather in my home to talk about their stories, and humbled they want to do it with me.  In fact, I’m thankful for all the things which go along with being a writer.  I’m thankful for pens, paper, journals, post-it notes, computers and printers, late night ideas, early morning writing time, crazy characters who live in your head.  I’m thankful for times with other writers where you giggle about about the whole other world in your mind, and you sigh about the whole other world in your mind, and you listen for any kernel that might help you.  I’m thankful for all the writers who are people watchers, who watch this strange beast called man and then seek to lay out their stories.

I’m thankful for writing and the friends it has brought me over the years, especially amongst my church family!

Thanksgiving 16

I’m thankful for dark and stormy weather, for rain, lighting and thunder.  I’m thankful for cold days which drive you inside and under piles of blankets.  Sometimes we just need to stop and rest.

I’m also thankful for technology that lets you talk to your family far away be it over Skype or just txting a brother in a different time zone on the other side of the world.  I’ll never complain about technology because without it, I wouldn’t be able to see them or talk to them so much!

Thanksgiving 15

I’m thankful for music.  Music has been a part of my life since I can remember.  There was always music in my house, my parents invested in piano lessons and guitar lessons for all of us at one time or another, and I still listen to it all the time.  I love everything from Celtic music to  Heavy Metal.  Metallica is my favorite band along with Mumford and Sons, Flogging Molly, and Linkin Park. I also spend a large part of my life listening to Christmas Music.  Music expresses such deep emotion and longing.  It can be such an aid to remember the truths of God, and is a great aid to meditation.  Plus, it gets you moving!