On Writing and Parenting

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So, I’m the mom of a 5 year old girl. She’s an intelligent, creative person with a flare for color and style. She can be remarkably sweet. She’s mature and demanding. She thinks she knows EVERYTHING and does no wrong.

Imagine, if you will, trying to negotiate with such a person in-and-out every day. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so there’s very little space between me and my children. This means that toes get stepped on more frequently, space gets invaded too often, and mountains of dishes end up in my otherwise clean sink.

Anyone with a child knows that 5 year olds are on the cusp of being actual people. They are intuitive and soak up every word whether it’s spoken loudly or muttered under one’s breath. You never know when they’re going to regurgitate those words, but it’s always a mortifying experience. And a humbling one.

My daughter has grown increasingly intolerant of her little brother. My daughter is independent and does all things with a level of perfection she knows her clumsy, sweet, well-meaning little brother just can’t.

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This morning, she was fussing at him about not recapping her markers–a skill she herself has only mastered within the last month–when I intervened on the poor lads behalf. I’ll never forget what I said, because the writer in me sprang forth and rained down like mom-shaped confetti.

I said, “Don’t you think you could be more patient with your brother? Hasn’t he shared all his birthday presents with you?”

She said, “But he won’t recap my markers!!!”

I said, “I think you should forgive him, and recap the markers when ya’ll are finished.” (Meanwhile, rage boils beneath skin)

She said, “But he’s ruining my things!!!”

I said, “I think you need to be more patient.” (Rage leaks from pores) “You need to change this grumpy behavior.”

She said, “I have!!!”

I said, “Then show me by changing your behavior, don’t just tell me the words!”

Child stares at me in gaping fashion, stunned into silence.

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I’ve never had actual writing lingo break into non-writing conversations before. The phrase pulled me up short, so I made like any proper mom who accidently won an argument, and stormed out of the room–supposedly to leave said child to ruminate over the supreme logic of her parent.

It was a fun experience, and while my daughter sat back down to her uncapped markers, I sprang into the dining room to write out my experience on a paper plate–the closest thing to paper I had on hand.

I’ve always noticed how my life experiences seep into my writing, adding color and texture to settings and grit or pa-zazz to my characters. It’s almost a plot twist to have my writing seep into the everyday…and score me a parenting win!

*Showing versus telling…most of us know what this means, but if you’re new to writing, or not a writer at all, let me offer a brief explanation. Show vs Tell means to use dialogue and physical action to express something in your writing, to progress the plot, and enlighten the readers to new information, instead of just telling the reader straight up. Telling is also referred to as an info dump. And if parents know anything, we know that dumps are heavy and repelling.

On that fruitful note, I’ll open the floor to other parents. Have you shared similar experiences with your kids? Have you surprised yourself and gained a win for the home team? Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this parenting–and writing–thing together.

 

 

 

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#Microfiction Publication–Grey Scale

Today the release of my microfiction scifi short story Grey Scale is on 101 Words! Jump over and check it out! It’s actually a sneak peak at a new novel idea I’m working on.

As most of you know, I finished the first draft of my werewolf novel, Refining Sylver, last month and have been working on bits of flash fiction and short stories ever since. While doing so, I’ve discovered my next novel idea, which will be put into high gear towards the end of the year.

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So, I decided to use some of my short story entries to test out plot and characters. Grey Scale, listed above, introduces the male MC–Ambassador Brune–an alien with a predilection for war.

In a short story I’m working on–around 7,300 words–we get to meet the female MC–Elise Lavendar–a courtroom artist with a bit of southern spunk. This short story hasn’t been submitted for publication yet, but will hopefully grace the web at some point later this summer.

I’ve never gone about novel writing this way. I usually just start with a basic outline. I’m very much enjoying this alternate process because it’s giving me plenty of opportunities to flesh out characters and plot long before I actually try to hammer out 95,000 words.

Do any of you have a similar process? Or a completely different scheme for writing novels? Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together.

 

 

Query Letter Video

Hey Friends! I just posted my first 2 videos on instagram of me reading the query letter for my short story. I’m looking for title recommendations, so if you have about a minute and a half, pop over to my instagram page and give me your thoughts!

My story is soft scifi and loads of fun.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

1st Draft is Finished!

On Good Friday, I finally finished writing my fantasy novel, Refining Sylver! It’s taken me almost 2 years to bring it from an idea to a book.

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The cover as seen on Channillo.

Refining Sylver started as a short story on Channillo and was a great opportunity for me to showcase my idea at about 20,000 words. It received positive feedback from readers and I was pleased that a few people ranked it as favorite, but I thought there was opportunity to deepen and expand the plot. I wanted to flesh out my characters and see where the story went.

About a year and half later, the first full length novel is complete at just above 95,000 words. I’m pleased that it reached such a length–I’m hoping to one day seek representation.

So, now my little word baby has been tucked into it’s file and will nap for a few months. In the meantime, I’m moving along to my summertime projects: writing short stories for magazine publication.

So raise a toast! I finished my book by my self-imposed deadline of the end of March! 2018 has been good for writing!

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#Writing Update

Man, 2018 is flying by! Though I’ve been juggling a lot of sick days with the kiddos (we’re talking flu, bronchitis, and standard colds), I’ve still managed to add 20,000 words to my MS since New Years.

I had some concern over the summer that my fantasy novel wouldn’t meet with traditional publishing wordcount standards, but with a little quiet plotting and further character development, things have worked out.

I now feel confident that my werewolf novel will top out around 90,000 words–first draft.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this novel; not only for it’s concept, but for it’s overall process and quality. Now that I’ve been doing this for a few years, it finally feels like I’m hitting my stride. (Other books I’ve written fall into that first few books category, usually quantified more by the love put into them than the quality of the end result.)

While I don’t know what the future holds for this current MS, I feel confident it’s the best of my writing babies, so far. Once it’s beautifully honed into the best version of itself, I’d love to go agent-hunting.

But in the interum, after the completion of the first draft, I am going to write a few short stories and seek out some magazine publications. It’s been a while since I’ve had my work showcased, and I feel the urge to get out there once again.

So cross your fingers folks! I’d love to finish my wip by the end of March. I’m optimistic of my chances, so long as the kids go to school and I get my me-time.

Cheers on this St. Patrick’s Day! (I’ll be drinking green Sprite with the kiddos!)

Are you meeting your writing goals for 2018? Please leave a comment or word of advice! We’re all in this writing thing together.

 

 

 

Character Crushes

I’ve done a lot of reading over the past 6 months and in the process I’ve not only discovered a few more character crushes to add to my list, but also found a new female heroine to admire (and maybe emulate in my own books!).

In God Save the Queen, by Kate Locke, we meet Vexation Mclaughlin. He’s a charming Scott, Alpha, and romantic interest to the MC. Could not get enough of his wit and confidence. A good balance to the often brash MC, I was glad that their romance developed naturally without the normal hemming and hawing.

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In Soulless, by Gail Carriger, we meet Lord Connal Maccon, also Alpha, a bit more rough around the edges, and romantic interest to MC. I was quickly won over by his rough manners and Scottish lilt. But his charm partly enlays in the relationship between him and my new favorite herione, Alexia Taribotti.

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Alexia is absolutely a compelling female character. She’s strong-willed, intelligent, witty, and as counterbalance, she’s a spinster with a big nose and exotic features. (Exotic for a Victorian based society, that is.)

I love how she’s confident even though she’s not seen as a traditional beauty and is a spinster–at the ripe old age of 26–in an time when that sort of thing was make-or-break. She holds her own with Lord Maccon and quickly seduces him–albeit unknowingly–with her intellect, strong personality, and self-reliance.

Alexia is a great female character to emulate, not only in real life, but in writing. I will put her on my shelf of fave female characters, alongside Scarlett O’Hara and Elizabeth Bennett.

In the world of reading, 2018 has been great to me so far! I’ve finished Origin, by Dan Brown, and I completley ran through Soulless in under a week. I’m torn between waiting a few days for Changeless (by Gail Carriger) to come in or go ahead and start A Time to Dance, by Padma Venkatraman—choices, choices, choices!

Hope you all have a great weekend!