Showing posts from 2013

How to Write a Helpful Review

My husband and I are contemplating laying down a month's worth of income for a piece of furniture.  Yes, we are buying a couch.  For the first time in our married history, we can buy furniture, real adult furniture, something I actually like and not just given to us, scrounged out of the trash or found at thrift store.  I didn't think it would be this hard.  Now, don't get me wrong, we both agree on style and color, but finding exactly what we want is harder than finding a movie we want to see. We ran into a little trouble when we started looking on-line.  How can you know if you like a couch by seeing it in a picture?  If you haven't sat on it, punched the pillows, lain supine to see if your feet hang off the end, how can you know if you like it, if it's comfortable?  You depend on reviews.  But only if the reviews are helpful. I clicked on a few reviews.  I was deeply disappointed.  Review after review written and I still have no more information.  An example

Why I Write Novels

I've probably done a post on this before.  But I think I can't say it enough, writing is hard.  It's not the hardest thing I've ever done.  A few other examples come to my mind for that category: serving a foreign mission for my church for 18 months, rehabbing a house, raising three kids would top my list.  But nevertheless, writing is hard.  Sometimes I don't want to do it.  Sometimes I doubt myself, my characters, my plot.  I feel trite, cliche', hackneyed, shallow.  I feel like a fraud.  So why do I write when I could be scouring pinterest for the latest and greatest craft for my house?  Why do I write instead of getting a night shift job that I would actually get paid to do?  Because writing benefits me in so many ways. I learn patience.  I am so impatient.  Ask my husband.  I can't keep a secret, I snoop in Christmas presents, I want it and I want it yesterday.  Writing a novel takes a great deal of time, effort, energy to see the finished product.  I

Fantasy Men v. Real Men

My husband often reads over my writing and scrutinizes the male protagonist.  He asks, "Do you wish I did this?"  Or, "Should I be more like So and So (input hero's name here).  Let me just put one thing straight and let me be very clear!  I might even type this in all caps: WOMEN MAY LIKE TO READ ABOUT FICTIONAL MEN BUT THEY DON'T WANT TO MARRY THEIR FANTASIES!!! Just to drive my point home, I will chart things women (and by this I mean me and maybe a few other girls out there) want and find attractive in fictional men and then contrast it with real men, in real life.                                       *Motocycles:  For some reason, I think guys who drive motorcycles in books/movies are hot, reckless, mysterious.  It symbolizes a fast, free, and spontaneous lifestyle.  It's edgy and cool in a fictional guy.  BUT, I would have a cow if my hubby came home one day with a Harley. Why?  Because the father of my children should have a VERY safe car--not

Communication: The more you have the less you have

I've made an interesting observation lately.  We have so many ways to communicate Facebook messaging, phone, snail mail, email, Twitter, texting, so many in fact that it's becoming hard to communicate with people.  What? you say.  Doesn't that seem oxymoronic?  (My spell check says that's not a word, but I'm going to go with it.)  But listen to me.  Most people have a preferred method of communication, their habit.  I have one friend who said he only does Twitter--email, even texting is so passe for him.  If you want to communicate with him you better #bepreparedtotellthewholeworld.  My elderly friends all use their home phone, eschew email to perhaps a once a week activity (REALLY!) and don't text.  (You mean I have to dial a phone number to reach you?) The younger generation, I have no idea how best to communicate with them.  Do I leave a Facebook message?  Do you have a Facebook page?  Text?  Do your parents let you have a phone?  No? Text the parents?  Call

So you're watching Downton Abbey...

I guess the Edwardian Era is all the rage.  Well, if you are a fan of the new electric light, telephones attached to the walls and cars that max at 20 or so mph, you've got to read stuff by P.G. Wodehouse.  He invented the hilarious duo of Jeeves and Wooster.  Bertie Wooster is a wealthy bachelor who is constantly getting into scrapes, often involving fiancees, former fiancees, overbearing aunts, dogs and old school chums.  Jeeves is his valet, his man servant known for his expertise in the human "psychology" and problem solving skills.  Reading "Just Enough Jeeves" has had me laughing out loud and if you enjoy smart humor, the Edwardian Era, you'll love his stuff.


When I started writing, I knew exactly who my audience would be--18-26 year old girls (women?).  I think I chose that age group because, for me, those years harbour some of the best memories, college, dating for long term potential, working and juggling all three.  There were some hard struggles too--heartbreaks, disappointments--but also some real growth, living in two foreign countries, overcoming fears, finding my strengths.  I want to write for girls this age, give them encouragement, share in their adventure, help them through these college and early work days.  The only problem is that up until recently, there wasn't really a genre that fit these themes.  Chick lit tended to be, in my opinion, vapid, full of selfish frivolity, stories that centered around drinking and getting laid.  I want to write stories with more depth, purpose and uh, morality.  Adult books seemed to focus on themes that were just not right: divorce, redemption, recovery, reconciliation.  There was a gap

House or Spouse?

My sister is in the middle of house hunting this spring.  And as I listen to her talk about the pros and cons of each property she visits, I can't help but think:  House hunting is like spouse hunting! Similarities No one/no property is perfect.  Each house she looked at had some good qualities--great view, good locations, perfect master suite, wood floors.  But each of them had some flaws too--no garage, yard wasn't landscaped, needs updated electrical, new roof needed!  When we are dating, each of us date "potential properties."  Each of us has our own strengths--has a great sense of humor, likes children, is responsible.  But in turn, each of us also has our own weaknesses too--always late, critical of others, has "questionable" family members. Each pro and con should be examined before greater commitment. For example, wood floors are beautiful but require a lot more care, shows dints and scratches and are damaged easily by water.  Foundation cracks

Fiction is healing

I've had the winter blues.  Only in my case they seem to be the winter blacks.  Even though I'm living someplace was ample sunshine, I still think I get Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.  A psychiatrist-friend of mine told me that was impossible, but I swear every February I sink into a nearly unrecoverable funk!  It feels like a black shroud of self-doubt, un-motivation, depression, lethargy, weight gain hangs over my head and I can't shake it.  But I have found something that helps. Reading fiction. Back in the ole college days, I took a class titled "Communication in Fiction."  (Aren't you jealous?  What a great class!  I mean I got college credit talking about books!)  It's more than escapism.  I know a lot of people who poo-poo the value of fiction as something we need.  I disagree.  Fiction is a life blood.  My professor theorized that we actually need to read fiction.  During the time we read, fiction specifically, we meet a problem and have