Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Long Revision

I think I am going to spend as long revising Renegade (24K) as I did revising The Ransomed Returning (124K). The poor novella needs a lot more help than the novel does. Maybe you faithful blog readers remember how I wrote Renegade in a furious push as a challenge during the month of October. I wrote 18 of the 24K that month, which is way more than I've ever written in a month.

And it shows. I'm about to cut out an entire ten page scene because it really just doesn't work. At all. Good news, though. The scene I'm writing to replace it kicks butt! I must say I am very excited about the changes that I'm making. It's going to be so much better when I'm done. (Thanks to a great critique!)

Still, it annoys me to have to put so much time into revision. A story this length should only take two or three days to revise. Not a week or more. I think in the long run, it just wasn't worth it to write so fast and furious.I know some people like to write like that and fix everything while revising. I am not one of them.

So, no more speed writing feats for me! I suppose you have to put the time in somewhere and personally, I prefer to put it in while writing rather than revising.

But, hey, Renegade is about to get way more awesome, so I really can't complain.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Star Scout Rising: First Trail: My Review

You probably know, if you read this blog much, that I love science fiction, especially with loads of action. I had high hopes for Star Scout Rising: First Trail, and I was not disappointed.

Junior Star Scout Del Baldura and his teammates find themselves in a world of trouble when one of the team members is kidnapped by off-world poachers during a training mission. Now Del and the rest have to use all their wits to survive. The book also follows Jak McCarel and Star Scout Command as they try to uncover a plot by the sinister Gadion Faction, a plot which may put the Junior Scouts in even more danger.

Star Scout Rising if chock full of adventure, nail-biting action, hairs-breadth escapes, and cool alien creatures. In other words, science fiction just like I want it. I enjoyed the characters and could relate to their struggles. The book grabbed my interest right away and kept me hooked until the end. Of course, as this is volume one, that end comes just as the two different story lines come together. And while lots of questions are left unanswered, I still felt the ending was satisfying. I am anxious to read the next book now and find out what happens!

The book is refreshingly clean and free of any objectionable material. It's one that I'm sure my teen boys will also love. Star Scout Rising: First Trail is available in print on Amazon or for Kindle. You can find out more about the book and about Gary Darby on his blog.

So, if you love science fiction adventure as much I do, I highly recommend you give Star Scout Rising a try!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Revising Routine

I've been revising my novel, The Ransomed Returning. I should finish up in the next couple days. It's an exciting time, I think. I like revising. But here's how my routine usually goes:

First, In the morning I type up all the changes I made the day before. I love my book! I love the changes! I love my freakin' awesome betas!

Next, I print out the chapters I want to work on that day. I pull up the critiques and make notes on the printout of all the comments and suggestions from the betas. Depression sets in. This book stinks. I'll never be able to fix it. I might as well just save time and delete the whole thing right now. (Okay, I'm exaggerating. A little. I have to admit it was worse with the earlier chapters than it has been with the later ones.)

I get over myself and get to work. I like what I'm doing. Revising is fun. It makes the story so much better. Pretty soon...I love my book! I love the changes!

I LOVE my freakin' awesome betas!

Then I have to work on the next few chapters...

So, I guess you could say it's going well. Do you have revising ups and downs? Or is it just me?

Friday, March 18, 2011


Two great quotes on success for your weekend:

This one arrived in my inbox yesterday:

"It is necessary to prepare and to plan so that we don’t fritter away our lives. Without a goal, there can be no real success. One of the best definitions of success I have ever heard goes something like this: success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Someone has said the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never cross the goal line." ~Thomas S. Monson

This one I heard at my 12-step meeting:

"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm." ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Well, there you go. Get out there and succeed!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Keeping the Balls in the Air

In college, I wanted to learn how to juggle. I bought juggling bags and a book of instructions. I practiced for hours. And I failed. Hand-eye coordination and I are not friends.

And yet, by the time I graduated from college I had become a juggler nonetheless. I was married and expecting my first baby. And the juggling act has only gotten better since then. A husband, six kids, church callings, women's choir (I'm the president), writing, blogging, friends, family, cooking, cleaning, pets, etc., etc., etc. That's a lot of balls to keep going.

The trick is figuring out which ball I need to catch at any given time, and which ones I can leave in the air. I never want to let any of them fall, but honestly sometimes that's impossible. I have to try hard not to drop anything important.

I know what matters to me, and what doesn't. Every day I talk to God and let Him guide which balls I need to catch that day. And which balls I can leave in His hands. If something falls, even if it's something important, well, there's always tomorrow to pick it back up and try again.

How's your juggling act going?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Voluntarily Vulnerable

Maybe you've heard the quote, "Art begins by revealing the artist to you and ends by revealing you to yourself."

Turn it around a little and it becomes, "Art begins by revealing you to your audience."


And yet, we do it. We long for an audience, in fact. At least I do.

It's hard, isn't it? To make yourself vulnerable like that. To reach into your heart and lay it bare on the page and then put it on display for the world to judge. Why do we do that to ourselves?

I think it's because sometimes something from our heart touches somebody else's heart. And the last part of the quote comes into play. We reveal them to themselves. And that makes all the risk worthwhile.

And I feel like I'm naked in front of a crowd 'cause these words are my diary screaming out loud and I know that you'll use them however you want to.  ~Anna Nalick

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Writer's Intuition and Revising

It's sad, but true. Your story won't come out perfect the first time through. You're going to have to revise. You're going to have to get critiques. You're going to have to watch others tear your baby to shreds. And you're going to need some Writer's Intuition to guide you here too. Because not all revisions are created equal. Not every suggestion from your crit partners or beta readers is going to be good for your story, no matter how good of critiquers they are.

It is hard to get critiqued. I know that. And you shouldn't just dismiss anyone's suggestions out of hand. (Well, maybe some you can reject out of hand. Like I once got a critique that said, Your main character should be an energy being instead of flesh and blood. Um, okay.) But in general you should at least consider all the suggestions made. Then use your intuition to know which to use and which to ignore.

My rule of thumb is that any suggestions that make me excited to make changes are good suggestions. Those that don't, just aren't right for the story. Just remember that it 's your story and no one else's. Only you know what will make it truly shine. Your Writer's Intuition will show you the way.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Writer's Intuition Where It Really Counts

Blogging about LTUE and book reviews and blog fests has been fun, but I'm ready to get back to what I was talking about before.

Writer's Intuition. Remember that? If not, you can read my other intuition posts here, here, and here.

Of course, where Writer's Intuition really counts is in the actual writing. Writing a first draft is not easy for me. I go rather slow (no NaNoWriMo feats for me). I edit as I go. But I don't always consciously think about what's going into the story. I have to just tell it the way I want it told and trust myself to know what's right for that story. I want to point out that I have had to learn to trust myself. I had to develop that intuition.

I'll give an example. I wrote a novel in 1998, and after getting a bunch of rejections, I put it away. For ten years. (I have probably talked about this before.) My friend asked to read it. I told her, "Sure, but it's probably really bad." She read it and assured me it was not really bad. I read it too. I was shocked. Amazed. I loved that book. I couldn't believe I had just set it aside and forgotten it. I had forgotten how much work I put into it. How much I loved the characters. And the plot. Yes, it needed revising. It needed tightening and changing. But for the most part everything the story needed was there. In some cases I just had to bring it out or adjust it.

So, trust yourself. You know how your story should be told. Know the rules, but don't bind yourself down with them. Let your Writers Intuition guide you. Yes, you will still have to revise. You'll need your intuition then too. But you have a story to tell, so tell it!