An Imperfect Christmas Tree

It’s been some time since I’ve blogged, and I’m rather frustrated at myself for that. For several years, I posted a new blog faithfully at least once a week, but this year I’ve become more and more sporadic with my writing and my posting. The reason for it isn’t important. I’ve been busy, I’ve been distracted, etc., etc. Whether my reasons are valid and reasonable, or just lazy excuses, also isn’t important – the upshot is that I’ve fallen behind on my writing goals for the year, and I’m feeling rather lousy about it.

This tree is far more lopsided than this picture shows.

I’m feeling unproductive, feeling like a fraud (I can’t be a writer if I don’t actually write), and generally wondering if even the little bit I have written this year was worth the time and effort. But something that helped me to get it all back into perspective was earlier this month when I put Christmas lights on the little crooked fir tree in my front yard. Continue reading

What to Read While Writing

So what do you read while you’re in the middle of a writing project? From my personal experience, and some research and reading of other blogs/articles on the topic, there seem to be several different schools of thought on this topic.

Read in your Genre

If you want to know what’s popular in the genre that you’re writing, then read some recent books. Learn about popular tropes, what current readers expect or enjoy out of that genre, average acceptable story length, and so on. After all, how can you expect to write a cozy mystery or a sword-and-sorcery tale if you’ve never read one (or a few) before? Continue reading

My Writing Space

A lot of writers post pictures of their writing spaces, and to be quite frank, it makes me jealous. I see pictures of sunny offices, rustic wooden desks with vintage typewriters, and ergonomic chairs. My writing space is the corner of the couch.

Now, to be honest, I could have set up a designated writing space with the wooden desk and ergonomic chair. But instead, I decided to use my spare bedroom as a guest room/craft storage room, and there really isn’t room for a desk. My bedroom is too small, and my dining table is, well, kinda boring for writing.

I love my living room, with the big open windows, tall bookshelf in the corner, and comfy couch. So this is my writing space. Not exactly refined or professional, but it’s comfortable and it’s mine. I love my writing space! Continue reading

Explain It All or Let the Reader Figure It Out?

Someone asked me recently about where a writer should draw the line between explaining something in painstaking detail versus just glossing over a topic and letting the reader try to figure it out on their own. It’s a complex question, really, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

What was really interesting, though, was that right on the heels of this question, I had an experience in my critique group that not only did NOT answer that question, but highlighted how there truly isn’t a right or wrong answer.

First off, let me say that I absolutely love all of my critique partners, and our times together are full of valuable feedback, learning experiences, and lots of fun. One of the elements that makes a good critique group, I think, is having a diverse group of writers who all have different writing styles, favorite genres, and writing experiences. Continue reading

In Defense of Happy Endings

Lately I’ve realized something in my reading and writing habits: I like happy endings. This is not a new realization, really, but I started thinking about it recently in a new and deeper way.

As a kid, I loved Disney movies and similar stories, where everything was tied up in a neat little bow and they all lived happily ever after. I didn’t like feeling sad, and so I sought out happy stories with happy endings.

As an adult, I still like happy stories with happy endings—but there’s more to it than that. It’s not as much about everything ending on a perfect tidy note, but more about ending on a strong or redemptive note. Continue reading

Summer 2018 Update – Writing and Other Shenanigans

For anyone who follows this blog, and/or is wondering what I’ve been up to of late, here it is in a short summary: not writing.

I’ve missed several weeks of blogging here and there over the past few months, and I’m embarrassingly behind on my writing goals for my current dieselpunk series. So it’s more “other shenanigans” rather than writing that I’ve been doing this summer. Continue reading