Posts Tagged ‘writing skills’

The Leaning Tower of Craft Books

I am a writing craft book ho.

I have absolutely NO control when I go to Amazon and they point me to “recommendations JUST FOR YOU”….and I think hey, they’re pretty good at this! Look, a new Nora Roberts! (purchase) And a new SEP! (purchase) and HOLY SMOKES SOMEONE CAME OUT WITH A NEW CRAFT BOOK!



I have craft books I’ve never read. Craft books I’ve read the first chapter. Craft books I own because someone (even someone other than Amazon) told me I should.

I own Kindle craft books even when I don’t own a Kindle. I subscribe to magazines to teach me the latest in writing craft. I own Steven King, Donald Maass, James Scott Bell. I own scenes, structures, story telling, script writing and time management. I own tarot cards, plotting cards and calendars. My house is covered in stacks of books, Rubbermaid containers of books and even–believe it or not–bookshelves full of books.

I’m driving my husband crazy.


Have I learned things? Sure. Could I learn more if I actually read the book rather than just coveted the ownership of it? You bet.

For me, I have to learn hands on, from classes and from reading. Even reading other authors teaches me great things. SEP and her dialogue. Nora and her characterizations. I learn from every source available to me.

I’ve heard over and over again that the key to being a better writer is to write. And by golly, I write. But I also know if I hadn’t taken Lori Wilde’s class on Romance Writing, I never would have known about how to show (and in which order) action/reaction. If I hadn’t taken Laurie Schnebly’s class on plotting, I never would have had that aha moment of NOW I GET IT!

And that’s why I read the books. Or at least pet them occasionally. Because in each one of these gems is something that I’m going to take away that I didn’t know before. And each little one builds me to being a better writer.

A broker writer, but a better one.

Oh look! Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay! I don’t own that one yet!!!





Many of you know how talented I am. Mostly because I keep telling you so. I figure repetition will make the heart grow fonder yes?

Yes. Say it with me now. Yesssss….


Now you’re probably already rolling your eyes, but bear with me a bit. As most of you know who’ve read this blog occasionally know, I write. I may not do it as often as I’d like, or as well, but I’m learning. You might have also stumbled across my bartending hints with some of the lovely drinks I mix up now and again. And some of you have further had experience with my ability to conquer all things HTML and WordPress.


Did you also know I make jewelry? Yup, that’s what makes me multi-faceted.

When I was a kid, I was the one mom sent to every craft class. I made every girl scout project from petrified cattails to sand candles. I learned to tole paint and macrame. I worked in a craft store once and macramed a dozen door banners that spelled out NOEL. Yikes.

Then one day, I decided to make jewelry. Why? Because my friend made me a bracelet. And I said as soon as I put it on – “I can do that.” She gave me a startled look and I said “Oh, I meant thank you.”

I’m multi-faceted, but I’m lacking in social graces.

My first necklace exploded in a million pieces. As did my second, third and fourth. Five held together however. And I was hooked. I have since made over 500 pieces of jewelry, held three or four craft shows and gave tons away for gifts. I sell online (okay, not much because I don’t get a chance to promote it the way I should) and in a few stores locally. People buy my jewelry off my body while I’m at work. I get custom orders while standing in line at Wal-Mart.

Am I bragging? A little. =) But mostly, I’m sharing my relaxation with you. For me creating of any sort, whether it’s writing or jewelry or even, for the love of God, macrame relaxes me. It lets the brain go, the imagination flow. Sometimes I even surprise myself with what comes out in both my writing and in my jewelry.

So occasionally, if you’ll bear with me, you’ll see bits about me, my cats, my writing, my happy bar drinks and my jewelry.

Now let’s hope I don’t take up raising alpacas.


below were my experiments with glitter (which the cats are still wearing) and resin (which I’m still wearing) as well as my octopus necklace. Every girl needs an octopus necklace right? right.


The Dreaded Synopsis

Writing the Synopsis Smartass Romance

Can you hold my tarantula for me please?

Anytime I use the word synopsis, it’s pretty much in the same tone of voice as “Oh, look, there’s a live tarantula in your hair” or “yes, I’d LOVE to see more slides of your vacation in Yuma.”

However. (and yes, this is how you know I’m going to say something profound)

However, I wrote a synopsis today. And while it wasn’t as much fun as a margarita on a hot summer day, neither was it as non-fun as a UTI.

As a matter of fact, what was to be a short synopsis, of only 2-3 pages, became 10 pages long. And now, not only do I have the synopsis written, I also have the entire layout of my story, the internal and external conflicts and how they get resolved, as well as the HEA. (which made me cry, but don’t tell anyone I said that.)

Frankly, it was one of the best plotting/motivational/conflicting tools I’ve used in the two years since I’ve decided to “become a writer.”

There is however, two main questions that beg to be answered. One, can I write the story the way I’ve outlined it. Two, how the hell am I going to cut this down to two pages?

Back to work!

hi ho hi ho




So, I got my first ever official rejection.

But, I’m okay. Frankly, because I don’t exactly know how to handle it…=) Do I now send a thank you for looking card? Do I curse and rant and rave? Do I print it out and throw darts at it? The options are limitless…

Probably it was just the impersonal touch to the rejection that made it not only bearable, but non-shocking. Kind of like a cut and paste rejection with no pointing fingers, no sad tears, no lingering bitter taste in my mouth.

And that kind of takes the fun out of it all. I’d expected to tear part of my hair out, sink into a depression and hole up like a hermit for days. Live on chocolate, scratch at fleas and rent my clothing. Instead I had microwave popcorn and read Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Even today, when I’m supposedly over the shock, I’m not ….depressed.


Instead, my first thought was actually – now I belong to part of the club! Margaritas for everyone!

Yeah, I’m weird that way.

I’m just moving on. Plodding along with my writing. One step after another. There’ll be more rejections, highs and lows, possible renting of clothing. Bur for now, I’m just saying –




Digging a deeper hole

This past few months has brought about multiple life changes. Nothing dramatic like being bitten by a tse-tse fly or having all my hair turn gray (no, wait, that already happened) but major and overwhelming stress. Work, weather, and life in general have all combined into one massive roiling ball of….stress.

Which brought out a lovely thing called writer’s block. Technically, I don’t believe much in writer’s block, I believe however, a person can become so stressed that they can’t “imagine” anymore. Can’t go to their happy place and invent stories.

And it’s not a fun place.

So, I’m on the attack. How? By watching Disney and Pixar movies. By reading my absolute favorite authors (Kristan Higgins, Janet Evanovich and Susan Elizabeth Phillips)(Hurry up with your new release Nora!) and diving into their characters. My writing craft books have been set aside while I read Vanity Fair. I make sure I pet each cat every day. (Ok, except for last night when Bear brought a live mouse in the house)

I’m trying to beat stress back with humor.

Will I win the battle?

You bet. Rawr.



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