Summertime Blues

Does anybody else get lazy about writing in the summer? My kids are home, and it’s sunny, and there’s so much to do. And to read. And movies to catch up on.

Every year in August, I have this urge to go shopping for office supplies and clothing and shoes. I know this is a holdover from going to school (and given that I have a PhD, I went to school a LONG time, plus I taught for another 15 years, plus now the kids are in school–can we say it’s ingrained? Yes, we can).

But I think summertime vacation is ingrained in me, too. Again, up until three years ago, I taught or went to school, and summer was the time to catch up on everything else. Of course, I also did a lot of writing, but because I lived in the land of the ice and snow, summer […]

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Imposter Syndrome

First, I just want to say how awesome and amazing the articles on Magical Words are. You are so lucky to have this resource. I wish I’d had it back in the day. I’m so honored to get to be a part of a group of such smart and talented people.

But to the topic at hand. Imposter Syndrome. It’s defined (according to wikipedia) as:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

News! News! News!

Now, I’ve felt like an imposter forever. It started in my PhD program and has only increased over time. The imposter in me says–high-achieving? Really? Am not. Not even close. […]

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Striking off in a New Direction

For awhile now, I’ve been reading a lot of non-magical romantic suspense and watching a whole lot of true crime on the ID channel. I used to watch HGTV a lot, but lately, it’s all true crime for me. I’ve been reading Laura Griffin‘s books, as well as Linda Howard, Pamela Claire‘s I-team books, and Linda Castillo, among others. I’ve never thought myself capable of writing a mystery or a suspense novel. I figured my plots would be way too obvious. But lately I’ve found myself thinking in terms of characters and plots and I’m taking notes on a romantic suspense novel and have even written a bit of the opening. If you’re curious, check out this post, and keep in mind, the writing is very rough.

You might ask why I’m switching genres. Well, I’m not. I love fantasy and I have no plans to leave it. But I […]

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“God-Fearing Woman”

I watch a lot of true-crime shows on the ID channel. As I was watching one of them–American Monsters–where the wife of a nascent film director is murdered, I noticed the cop describing her on the footage from that day. He said “she was a good woman, a god-fearing woman.”

I’ve heard that a lot before. It’s a compliment, at least in many Christian religions. I don’t know about other religions. I’m guessing yes. Now, one of the first things that struck me about that was that once upon a time, the Puritans believed that God was angry and rather malevolent (read Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, among others). By the Victorian period, that had shifted. God was benevolent. Except then, the world started changing beyond fast and a lot of bad things started happening in the world–wars, disease, economic difficulties, and so on. So the Victorians […]

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Language of Love

Warning: foul language ahead.

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I’ve been reading some romances lately. They do relationships–a whole lot of different kinds, not just romantic–like nobody’s business. There’s a lot to learn from them. Plus I enjoy them, particularly the relationships. Except.

I’ve read a couple books lately of the steamy variety. Explicit sex. I have no problem with this. In fact, bring it on! The hotter the better. No, what’s been bothering me about these two was the language of love. What kept throwing me was the frequent use of ‘fuck.’ Don’t get me wrong. I love the word. I like to use it. With gusto. And I don’t mind it in reference to sex. But both of these books had the lovers saying things very casually like, I really like fucking you. Hey, want to go fuck? Or a man talking about the woman he loves with another […]

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Inciting Event Redux

In the middle of the month, Faith talked about inciting events. She’s dead on and if you’ve forgotten what she said, go read it again. I’ll wait.

At the time of reading that article, I was in the middle of redrafting the second half of my current book. I’d had to rip out about 15K words from the draft and shift gears because I’d taken the wrong road. A common problem of pantsing. I’d reached the point where I needed to plot, not only this novel, but a great deal of the rest of the story.

I ripped back to just around the halfway point and started to work through all the players, the connections, the elements that needed to be dealt with, and generally braiding the story together. You might be asking, what does that have to do with the inciting event at the beginning of a book?

I’d […]

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Predictability

I’ve been doing some reviewing of books off Netgalley. This has allowed me to expand my reading into areas I might not have explored and to authors I might not have known about. I’ve found some gems. But this week, I started reading a romantic suspense and though it was written well enough, I knew in about twenty pages how the book would play out. I skipped to the end and discovered I was right. Now with some books, this predictability isn’t a problem. The journey and the characters will carry me through. This book? Not so much. I didn’t engage with the characters in that twenty pages and I wasn’t interested in knowing more. So that’s a did not finish book.

Predictability as a writer is necessary. There are things a character will not do and if you break out of those limits, then the unpredictability is bad. Readers […]

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