Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm Wishing

Jackson Pearce is a YA author whose first book "As You Wish" will be released this fall. I came across a few videos she had
posted on YouTube and really enjoyed this one.



So my writer's workshop challenge for you today is to write an "I'm wishing" song for one of your characters. It can be a character whose intentions you're struggling to discover or one whose intentions you know clearly. If you feel so inclined post your song in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swimming up stream

Literature today is full of sex, violence, drugs and swearing. Sometimes trying to write an interesting and clean book can feel like swimming upstream. There's pressure out there to make your writing "gritty" or portray reality.

I was recently reading a book that I was enjoying very much. It's a story of a young girl who was genetically engineered and conceived as a donor for her sister who had cancer. I was really into it until about half way through the book when the author introduced several side character's stories and things they had done in their past. The writing became extremely vulgar. I was saddened an annoyed for two reasons. First because I felt the additions were 100% unnecessary and probably just added to make the book "gritty" and second because I knew I would never be able to recommend the book to a friend.

My favorite books are usually clean (Jane Austen, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings). I think there's a kind of depth and creativity in them that is lacking in stories that have to resort to gratuitous sex and violence to get people interested. I'm not trying to say that writers should refrain from writing about difficult topics (the afore mentioned books confront evil head on). But I think it can be done in a way that doesn't sensationalize or glamorize bad things. My own personal rule of thumb is to ask myself if something I'm writing would entice anyone to do anything wrong. I also often ask myself why I'm including something. Is it necessary for the story or am I hoping it will sell books. Not that selling books is a bad thing, just that I don't want to compromise and put something in a book that would be a negative influence because I think it might sell more books. What to include in a book is a very personal decision, and only the author can decide what they are comfortable writing about. And sometimes making that decision can be daunting.

I thought this was a funny video about going along with the crowd. Hopefully we're like the first man. :) He doesn't seem to be bothered by the group at all.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LDS Storymakers Conference






Last weekend, I got to go to the Storymakers Conference. It was amazing. If any of you ever get the chance to attend, I would absolutely recommend it.
There were so many great classes, so many great people. It was just an awesome experience in every way. I thought I would post today about the Keynote Speaker from the conference.

Dean Lorey author of the Nightmare Academy.

He said there are four things that a good writer must do.

1 - Write
* Whenever you are at a loss, write... always write

2 - Protect your work
* Take feedback into consideration, but be true to your work
* Only institute feedback that will better the story
* With non-writers there are too types of feedback we should pay special attention to
A- I'm bored
B- I'm confused

3 - Focus
* one of the hardest things for writers to do

4 - Get people to read your work
* You must be able to accept, ponder and use criticism

Remember, YOU are the hero of your own story. Protect it and make it the best you possibly can.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Necklace FREEBIE Winner!

If you are the winner email me with your mailing address at anoriginalbymary(at)pabell(dot)net or I will be emailing the winner shortly :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Flawless

On my blog this week I posted about Susan Boyle. Britain's singing phenomenon. But there's another act that will be competing with her this year, that I find extremely interesting. In a way, even though I've never met most of you (Waves to Nikki & Kasie) I feel we are like this group. We have one goal--and we're sticking together to achieve it.

Three things stuck out to me as I watched this amazing video.

1. The hours this group said they worked in perfecting their craft (even on Valentine's day LOL!) Haven't we all worked on our books even on days off and holidays?

2. The saying they tell Simon at the beginning when he asks them, "What's the ambition here?" and they reply, "Chase the dream, not the competition."

3. Simon's speech at the end, when he compliments them.


Flawless - Dance Act - Britains Got Talent 2009 - Click here for more free videos

I found this so inspiring.

May we remember to chase the dream not the competition. Let's not focus on every other author out there, let's focus on us. Let's chase the dream--and try to be the best we can be. Flawless.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

7 Things to Remember about Editing

Yes, there is a theme to every post I've made in the last couple of weeks. What can I say, I've got revisions on the brain. :) So, without further ado, here are ten things to keep in mind when editing.

1. Editing takes time. You think it took you a long time to write your first draft? Alas, you were just getting warmed up.

2. Editing requires organization. Otherwise, you will burn out, or lose steam because there just seems like too much to do.

I suggest . . .
3. Make notes, lists, pie charts, or whatever works for you in a writing notebook. Works for me, and I am--without question--one of the more scatterbrained people you will ever know.

4. Prepare yourself. The minute you send your story off to people to read (beta readers,) you will almost certainly find the most glaring typo in the world, the most clunky paragraph on the planet, and the lamest, most flat-falling joke in the entire universe staring you in the face in your manuscript.

Which is why you need to . . .
5. Get two kinds of beta readers. The ones who will tell it to you straight, and a few who will wax rhapsodic on the perfection of your story. Trust me, both are very important.

6. Give yourself space in between editing rounds. It will help you see your story with fresh eyes.

And last of all . . .
7. Dream big! I firmly believe that without big dreams and big plans, the overwhelming task of editing a novel will make you want to throw in the towel. So, keep up that confidence! And go forth and conquer!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Honesty and Eloquence

I’m going to use yesterday’s post to transition into my thoughts today. It’s been argued that Miss California’s response wasn’t very eloquent. I thought about that and here’s what I came up with…honesty is seldom poetic. As mothers we know this all too well. Some of us have heard things like “Mommy, you smell.” Or “Why is your tummy so fat?” Or maybe you’ve had conversations like this:
Kid: “Where are we going, mommy?”
Mom: “Nowhere, why?”
Kid: “Cuz your dressed.”
Or maybe this one:
Kid: “Who’s coming over?”
Mom: “No one, why?”
Kid: “We only clean when someone comes over.”
I’m sure you can contribute to the many times honesty has been thrown in our faces by our children. But can we really fault their honesty? Think about Simon Cowell on American Idol. He is often brutally honest, to the point of rudeness, but the point is conveyed. He usually uses the same words every time to describe a performance, atrocious, karaoke, horrid. Not too many people would ever call him eloquent(except for maybe him!), but I don’t think anyone can say he’s not honest.



I am kind of a quiet person when you first meet me. I like to observe, and think about what I’m saying. I guard my tongue and over analyze everything I’m going to say which often results in me saying nothing. Mind you I’m just talking about the first few times I meet someone. After I get to know them better and can gauge their reactions, then I can speak more freely though still making sure I don’t say anything that could possibly offend. (Though I know there have been times I have offended anyway) But when I’m writing, I have learned to take away those filters. When I first started writing my family blog, I stuck to photos and brief explainations. Then one time I decided to go ahead and rant on my blog about a bad day I had. I had soooo much more responses then when I carefully chose my words. Honesty strikes a chord with us. But let’s face it, when we are writing for publication, we have to try to make honesty eloquent. Anyone that has written a first draft knows that it’s not poetic, but it is honest. So how do we bring those two elements together? …No really, how do we do it? (Did you think I was going to really have the answer??? Come on people, I’m on my third complete rewrite! I have no idea what I’m doing!) Part of the answer I think is to get honest critiques. It may hurt, but we need to delight in the honesty. But remember that honest responses are also subjective. One person’s horrid performance is another’s favorite. But here’s where I have a hard time; choosing the words that make the story flow but still convey honesty. My question to all of you is how do you balance the two? Is it something that just happens for you, or do you have to work at it? What systems do you use? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stand Strong



In the wise words of the former prophet, Gordon B Hinckley, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything." I take as my example today the beautiful Carrie Prejean. I'm sure most of you have heard her story. In the Miss USA pageant recently, she was asked a very controversial question about her opinion on gay marriage. In an interview I watched after the fact she said she started to answer the question in the "politically correct" way, but there came a point right in the middle of her answer where God told her that this was her test. So she finished with the bold statement, "I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and I believe that's how it should be, between a man and a woman." The response from the audience was a mixture of cheers and boos. And the aftermath has been even worse: hate mail, public berating by one of the judges. But she has continued to stand strong and hold her head up high. And quite frankly, she should. What an example she has been to me of standing up for what she believes in no matter where she finds herself standing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sorry to Butt In!


I 'm sorry to take Candice's spot. Candice, just add you post as usual! I just had a really important question to ask you all and I needed your feedback. The author of The Daring Book For Girls is willing to do an interview and I would like to know what questions you would like me to ask her! She has just released another book, a sequel to The Daring Book for Girls called The Double Daring Book for Girls! I am really excited to get this chance to interview a published author and I would love to know what kind of questions I should ask her! Leave a question(s) in the comment section! Thanks soooo much and I am Super Sorry for the intrusion Candice!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quitting

At some point in every writer's career, they ask themselves what they think they are doing. Why would they think someone else would want to read their work? What agent/editor is ever going to love this work even close to as much as the writer does?


How will they ever get published?

I've recently stumbled on some amazing responses to these questions. I'm going to list a couple of these below and hopefully they will help you as much as they have helped me.

~ Stephen King said: the first million words are practice.
That sounds daunting, but it's really not. All you have to do is keep writing.

~ Dr. Seuss said: Everything stinks until it's finished.

~ Will Rogers said: Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

~ Tony McGee Causey did a wonderful post on quitting on her blog. I recommend everyone go read it.


and to end on a happy note, Groucho Marx.

“Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.”

“Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read.”


May we all resolve today not to quit until writing becomes something we don't love to do.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Our First FREEBIE!!!


I just couldn't resist it any longer!
We are long overdue for a FREEBIE and I hope it can become a repeated event, with each Mormon Mommy blogger contributing something whenever the mood strikes :) FREEBIES are so much fun! So to enter in our first FREEBIE drawing for this little lovely. All you have to do is leave one comment on this post with your email (so I can contact you if you are the winner)! To increase your chances of winning just add yourself to our follow list (Already a follower? Great! You must comment on this post to be entered). This Freebie will end Saturday, so don't forget to comment! On Monday I will video announce the winner!!! Yippee!


For another chance at a FREEBIE, I am currently running a FREEBIE at http://www.craftersguru.blogspot.com/ for a signed book by the author. Just scroll down a couple of posts and leave a comment!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Words of Wisdom

Jenni is having problems with blogger right now. But she wanted to share some of her very favorite quotes in the following slide show. So enjoy.

inspiration

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dumb as a Stump...Then again..Maybe NOT!

Sometimes I think college classes are designed to make you feel stupid. There really can be no other explaination for some of the asinine questions you are supposed to answer. Then again, maybe it's the fact that as a stay at home mother for the past ten years my mind has atrophied into a Barney melted purple puddle of goo. Before motherhood, I could read a poem and see the hidden meanings and symbols that come from higher intelligence (or at least believing that I knew everything.) Now when I read a poem about plums, I honestly think it's about plums. I mean really people, why write a poem about plums if it isn't about plums!! Just cut to the chase and tell me what it's really about, otherwise the only thing I'm going to get out of it is an insane craving for plums!! Lest you think I am going crazy I will post said poem and you can tell me if I'm just going crazy:
"This is just to say"
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


That's it! That's the poem. I thought it was a nice poem, until I read the notes from my teacher, that said the poem is really about temptation and forgiveness??!! REALLY?! Then why didn't he just say that?

So here I am feeling dumb as could be, when I hear another poem. The thing is, the poem was kind of obscure, but I understood it! I really got it. Only because this poem written so long ago, describes (with scary accuracy) the world in my story. My version is a bit toned down due to the fact that it is a middle grade novel...but seriously S.T. Coleridge and I had the same dream. How scary is that? Enjoy the Youtube version below. I'm not sure what I expect you to get out of the this post or if it even makes sense, because after two hours straight of reading poetry, my purple mushy brain is getting worse, if that is even possible!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Can I steal Jenn's title? Busy, Busy, Busy!

I haven't done any writing (or reading) this week. I've been working hard to put together a party for my husband to celebrate his commissioning and the fact that he's finished all his course work for his PhD. It started off as a BBQ for friends and family and just grew and grew into a full scale party! It's going to be a lot of fun, but it's basically taken over my life for the past week.

So I'm going to share a craft idea this week that I'm having a lot of fun with. I'm using these as centerpieces for my tables at the BBQ. Sorry these pictures were taken with my phone because I left my camera at someone's house.

The party has a patriotic theme, and my husband loves treats, so I decide to make these candy dished and fill them with red, white and blue candy.





These are really easy and inexpensive to make and so cute! I bought terracotta pots and used shiny spray paint on them. Then I turn the pot upside down and use epoxy to attach the glass bowl (Walmart $4). I used the terracotta dish as the lid and epoxied a knob on top. Then I filled them with Candy. Ta da!

The votive candles have a smaller glass container inside with a tealight. In between the two glass containers I put salt in one and colored water in the other. Then I tied some patriotic ribbon around them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Busy, busy, busy bee

This weekend we laid a new wood flooring in our kitchen and dining room. It was strenuous and took a long time, but the floor is now done. I need to put up new baseboards and paint them and everything, but still... the floor is finished. :)

/side topic

Last night, I went to a movie with a girlfriend and we got to talking after the movie about how busy life is and how easy it can be as the mom to take care of everyone else all the time and let yourself fall by the wayside. She is really struggling right now and it was hard to see. Even harder was the knowledge that I have so been there.

It just really struck home how some of the strongest women can get lost when their demands are too high and they don't have enough to give for everyone else, let alone themselves. We are human, we have faults, we can't be perfect.

Writing is what saves me from the insanity of losing myself. I don't function well without it, but few moms are given the time for themselves. We have to make it, demand it even. It may be one of the few selfish things we must do, but it is better for everyone if mommy doesn't end up in a straight jacket.

What saves you?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Facebook and Twitter Again!!!

I know this topic has been gone over before (and recently) but I want to stress the importance of social networking through my own experiences! Ever since that last post on joining Twitter I decided that I would give yet another social networking site a chance. My Facebook had pretty much been tapped out and I couldn't think of how I could add anyone else! So my Twittering began. I started following people that had the same interests as me. I started with authors, publishers and literary agents that were known and some not well known. Then I branched out to my specific genre...crafts! I looked up Martha Stewart, Etsy, Oprah, Ellen, Rachel Ray, and any key words that described my genre..like sewing, crafts, jewelry, etc. I started to add people on the first 1 or 2 pages of each of these genres and people started following me back (there is a following limit of 2,000, if more than 2,000 are following back you can follow more).
When people followed me back I would do a little background and checked out their profile and site. I then added a thank you and a personal message(from what I had learned) back to them.

Now when I comment on something or ask a question about anything, I first post on Twitter. It then is sent to Facebook as well! You get a 2 for one deal :) How do you do this? Just go to Twitters site and click on the Help button at the top right of your screen. Then type in "Using Twitter with Facebook" (a box is located on the bottom right hand of the help page) and it will take you through an easy step by step of how you set this up! You will get better responses from Facebook (people on twitter generally don't comment back) but this effort is not in vane! Tweets increases your Google rating! If you type in craftersguru on Google right now you will see that I am at the top of the list! Cool! Now I just have to get my highly generic name to show up at the top of a Google (Blasted Mary-Kate and Ashley)!

Another helpful thing that I have found on Twitter is contacts! When I reply to people because they follow me I do a little background on them! This is the way I am finding great contacts. Here's a case in point: I had just seen Shanti's Facebook update while I was replying to Twitter follows. I happened to have just been followed by an author so I did my little background and I checked her site out (http://writing-about-writing.blogspot.com/) and it just happened to contain exactly what Shanti needed (and info I would surely need in the future)! I have found many contacts like that and I continue to find more.

This new way of searching has also increased my Facebook friends. I found an author and started asking for friends requests from her author friends (you can always tell an author because their Facebook image is the cover of their latest book). Authors are friendly and will most likely add you as a friend on Facebook (they want that following too). I have learned a lot from their posts on Facebook and have even left a few comments on some of their posts. They are always very friendly and helpful!
So not only has Facebooking and Twittering increased my social networking and contacts it has also helped my new blog http://craftersguru.blogspot.com garner over 88 hits in one day(this may seem small but for just a little over a weeks start I think it's pretty good)! So to increase your following, expand your social network, and contacts... then try some of these easy steps that I have taken. You may not think you need them now, because you are just starting out. But just think how much further you will be ahead of the game when you find that agent and she wants to know what you can bring to the table!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Climb Every Mountain

Jenni? Jenni? Are you there? I think she's busy with family, so I'm going to post something instead.

I was watching The Sound of Music with my kids last night. It was their first time watching it, I really enjoyed watching it through their eyes. But the part that hit me the most last night was when they sang "Climb Every Mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, til you find your dream." This spoke to me so much because writing sometimes feels like I'm climbing a mountain...a great big steep mountain that I don't think I'm ever going to get past. But I know I have to keep trudging if I am going to realize my dream eventually. So I'm posting a youtube clip of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Climb Every Mountain" I hope it will help to inspire you like it did me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wanted: Guest Bloggers

Hello to all you MMW readers and lurkers! Nows your chance to be included on the blog. We would love to feature guest bloggers every now and then. Please email either nickalodeon26@yahoo.com or jenniiyq2@yahoo.com with a short bio of yourself. Include your name, genre of writing, what you have written, any publising credits, and how you found MMW. Then you can send as many posts as you would like. It could be your favorite writing exercise, an interview of an author, agent, publisher, etc. You could also start a discussion, or a round robin story. Whatever floats your boat. Please attach a picture of yourself if possible and of course a link to your blog or website if you have one. We want this blog to be interactive, so here's your chance! Email, email, email! I expect my box to full! Thanks! ADMINISTRATORS: This means you will be able to find our guest posts in the draft section of the blog and can use one on your days if you get busy, etc.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just the two of me

Consider this an exercise: How many times can I say 'so' and 'like' in three minutes?

Another appropriate title might be, 'How to Look and Sound Like a Ditz Without Actually Being One.'

video

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thank Goodness For Writers!

Okay, not even kidding, it just barely occurred to me that today is Tuesday. That's right, it is almost 6:00pm and I just noticed what day of the week it was. So, I decided to post this funny YouTube video and say that if it's okay for the former President of the United States to mess up sometimes, it is okay for me too.

And also... THANK GOODNESS FOR WRITERS! :D



Monday, April 6, 2009

Tube Top No Sew

Check out my latest video with my daughter and I having fun being creative!

I Have a Writing Assignment for You!!!


Today I decided that I have a writing assignment for you :) As you may have seen, I have started a new blog, called craftersguru.blogspot.com, where I feature crafters of any genre to share their talent! Well ...I am extending this writing/craft assignment to you!

All I need is a photo of yourself (or family photo), a little bio on yourself (mention any sights or blogs you have), a craft you have done (this can be how to paint/cook/bake/decorate/write a short story with your child/ fun family activities/how to start a blog/cool tricks on how to update or sweeten your blog or site/how to sew something/or anything else you can think of). Everyone is crafty and creative! We may not see it but we all are creative! Hey! Look at who our Heavenly Father is creativity itself :) !

So... you can make it funny, simply instructional, or whatever you feel up to. Check out my blog to get a feel for how you want to write it or just jump in and make it your own style. I love pix so if you could include a picture of the process or just the finished product, that would be awesome!

Everyone who sends me this writing assignment will get a free pair of earring shipped to them (just let me know what color!). Contact me at anoriginalbymaryatpacbelldotnet (just replace the dot and at with . and @) with your assignment and have fun :) All you Looky Lu's are invited to join in the fun as well!!!

There is a FREEBIE going on there too so make sure to leave a comment and follow to enter in the FREEBIE GIVEAWAY!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Goals

I am a true believer of "everything happens for a reason." The longer you know me, the more you may become annoyed with my ever present reminder that everything happens for a reason.
This morning I came on to post a great post that had been brewing around in my mind... and when blogspot wasn't working for me (which I have learned to become patient with) I promptly closed out the window and thought, well maybe I'm meant to post my blog later...

Now, after the first session (or third) of conference this sunday... I am beyond overwhelmed by the heart wrenching, tearful, and emotional story that President Monson relayed to us of the German mother and her four children who were kicked out of their home of Prussia to return to her native Germany in the aftermath of WWII. I am haunted again and again of the torment that faithful latter-day saint had to face as she walked the 1,000 miles with her children. I think of all the prejudice she must've faced as a German national (the enemy) and how she would've never been given the comfort and help she needed. She had nothing. Her oldest child was seven. If i did the math, I cannot imagine the woman could've been older than her late 20's as she buried each of those small children and her infant along the trek home.

We are part of this heritage. We are latter-day saints. We are all called upon to show great courage and face great trials in our lives that seem to exceed that of our friends and family at times... but we can endure. We can prosper. Our faith can be renewed and revitalized and uplifted. We may not have to walk across freezing landscape, but we do have to face countless attacks on our self-esteem and countless trials to our goals.

The Lord is not asking us to bury our children, but to bury our fears and our doubts and to succeed. When I think of all the horrific things previous latter-day saints had to overcome to prove their worth to the Lord, I am reminded that my time is at hand. i too am a young mother with multiple children. the Lord will try me. But, I will not lose my faith, or doubt my goals. I will stand strong and plow forward. I will continue and do what He has asked me to do, because I know that I have been called to change the world one book at a time. And I will do it.

May we all stand firm in our resolve to battle satan and present the children and teens and adults of today with an alternative to the ever popular literature that is on the shelves now. Each of us have been called to write--and we were called because the Lord knew we could handle it. He knew that we would stand firm and succeed where others would fail.

Personally, I am so grateful that everything happens for a reason, and that I am/and can see past what is in front of me to the goals that i will obtain.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

You think a girl would learn.

A few months ago, I made the decision to retire my novel from the querying market. It was really hard at first. I had started the whole business with such high hopes. And when I started querying, I had an above average request rate, so that only accentuated it.

As time passed, however, and the rejection letters started to pile up, and the requested material started to come back with "good, but no thanks" letters, that hope started to waver. The day I made the decision to pull my novel out of the system, I felt pretty low. I couldn't even enjoy our family's weekly trip to Barnes and Noble. It hurt too much to see all those beautiful books--someone elses dream come true.

So, I sulked, and then I steeled myself. I told myself that I had been given a splash of ice cold reality in my face and that when I queried my next book, I would be much wiser, much more realistic. I had learned my lesson.

Well . . . maybe I haven't. I am nearing completion of my newest novel. As the time approaches to start querying it, I'm finding that good old feeling coming back to me. The other night we went to Barnes and Noble, and I was filled with a flutter of excitement, not to mention visions of my book nestled on those shelves.


Hope! It really does spring eternal. Now, granted, I have learned a lot from my first querying experience, and I really do think my expectations are more realistic. Realistic, but not without hope. And, I think that's okay.

I don't think we writers would make it very far without hope. Hope is what gives us the courage to send out those first letters, to those top New York agents. Hope is what drives us to push on when the rejection starts piling up. And Hope is why, when everything else has failed, we sit down to the computer and start writing a brand new book.

So, I'm glad that my hope has come surging back into my life. Even if it means wild dreams and possible visions of grandeur. Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wanted: Guest Bloggers

Hello to all you MMW readers and lurkers! Nows your chance to be included on the blog. We would love to feature guest bloggers every now and then. Please email either nickalodeon26@yahoo.com or jenniiyq2@yahoo.com with a short bio of yourself. Include your name, genre of writing, what you have written, any publising credits, and how you found MMW. Then you can send as many posts as you would like. It could be your favorite writing exercise, an interview of an author, agent, publisher, etc. You could also start a discussion, or a round robin story. Whatever floats your boat. Please attach a picture of yourself if possible and of course a link to your blog or website if you have one. We want this blog to be interactive, so here's your chance! Email, email, email! I expect my box to full! Thanks! ADMINISTRATORS: This means you will be able to find our guest posts in the draft section of the blog and can use one on your days if you get busy, etc.

The Whitney Awards

The LDSstorymakers sponsor the Whitney Awards each year. The awards are for LDS authors in several categories including:

General Fiction, Romance, Suspense/Mystery, Speculative Fiction, Youth Fiction, Historical, Best Novel of the Year, and Best Novel by a New Author.

Last month I interviewed one person nominated for one of the awards this year, Heather B. Moore for her book "Abinidi". Since that time I have met another nominee for one of the awards this year, Sarah M. Eden for her book "Seeking Persephone". I met her at an ANWA meeting. I've heard really great things about it and loved this trailer she had on her blog. Check it out. Also be sure to check out the other finalists for the 2008 Whitney Awards here
Afterall, as mormon mommy writers we need to support our peers as much as possible. Because it will soon be us publishing books, making book trailers, and winning awards!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Think About What You Are Thinking About


In April's Ensign that I picked up today, I came across this article written by Bruce K. Fordham. I'd like to just share a little of it.

"Perhaps it's a familiar scenario: a child repeatedly opens a cupboard door even though you have told her--several times--to stop. A field goal kicker misses the goal even when he has thought to himself, "Don't miss it. Don't miss it. Don't miss it." Or perhaps you eat a piece of chocolate cake even though in passing through the kitchen, you tell yourself, "Don't eat that."

Why does this happen?

Think about how you respond to a negative or inappropriate thought that comes into your mind, either as a result of unhealthy thought patterns or simply because you are a natural man or woman. Perhaps you reprimand yourself. Or maybe you repeatedly tell yourself to stop thinking about that subject. In the case of the first response (reprimanding), you unwittingly weaken your resistance to such thoughts and lower your sense of self-worth and confidence. With the second response (telling yourself to stop thinking about it), you unknowingly give energy and strength to the undesirable thought by repeating its image. This occurs because our brains are unable to replace something with nothing." (pg. 68 in April's Ensign)

The article goes on to explain how we can combat this. But I just wanted to stop here and relate it to writing. I think that sometimes we can be too hard on ourselves. And giving power to these negative thoughts is not productive. For example if I constantly say, "I hate editing." (just an example, I never think that) Then it soon becomes a chore and something I dread every day. If I instead say, "I can't wait to see how I can improve my book today." Wow, what a difference a little change of thought has on my attitude.

This, of course, can apply to many aspects of our lives. But how much happier and more positive would we be by just switching our unproductive, worthless, thoughts into thoughts that would help us accomplish something?

Now, I am not going to eat that piece of chocolate cake in the kitchen.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What do you hope to accomplish?

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
Ben Franklin


I'm reading a book called, "Fablehaven" right now. It's the fourth book in a series by Brandon Mull, who happens to be an LDS author. I believe it's actually a middle grade book, though its more than four hundred pages and could easily appeal to older teens and adults. It's a fun action packed adventure with battles of good versus evil. There's nothing overtly religious or preachy about it; it's just good entertainment where the good guys win. Its the kind of book that I want to write.

I contrast that with another book I read last week (I won't mention the name), but it was a young adult fantasy that had a message of promiscuity and radical feminism. It left me feeling frustrated and upset that this is the message deemed appropriate for young impressionable teens. It also reinforced my belief that we can make a difference through our stories simply by offering an alternative to that kind of entertainment.

I don't imagine that anything I write will change the world. But I do hope that I will contribute to entertainment industry in a positive, uplifting way. I hope that I will write the things that I would want my children to read. The things that put messages of honor and integrity into their minds while fascinating and entertaining them. It's a modest goal, but one I hope will have an impact in some small way.

I also hope that my children will be influenced in a positive way by my desire to pursue a goal and develop a talent. I hope they will see that it is possible to find success in your chosen endeavors while maintaining your standards. And that they will see the joy that comes from exercising our creativity and also working hard. If my writing only influences them then it will have been well worth it.

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

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