Thoughts on LTUE 2106

It’s been nine years now since I discovered this little gem of a writing conference, and I haven’t missed it since. It’s an amazing deal and so much fun… even if I can’t seem to get my writing (or bookish) friends to go with me!

My writing resolve has suffered pretty much since I wrote the enthusiastic post about how great I was going to do this year. I’ve been feeling guilty ever since. I was hoping this conference would kick start the enthusiasm, but so far, it hasn’t.

Not to say it wasn’t great, because it was. Just to say that I’m not feeling the writing thing at the moment and that makes me all sorts of crazy sad.

Anyway, here are a few highlights from the event:


  • watching two hours straight of six episodes of Writing Excuses. I got tired sitting there, but my brain was engaged the whole time. Subjects they talked about: fashion in writing, the question of wonder, environment in writing, self-publishing, how to get the great ideas, and etc. It was awesome all around.
  • Shannon Hale’s keynote speech about gender bias when it comes to books and reading and how boys should have the choice to read and like any book, the same as girls do. It was passionate and powerful.
  • Kevin J. Andersen’s keynote speech about how it’s important to just jump right in and get your hands in all sorts of projects. I loved the stories he told about his friendship with the band Rush and how he wrote many of his books inspired by their music. So awesome.
  • I tend to enjoy the one person presentations over the panels. I went to presentations about tips on productivity, how to write horror, techniques to show more and tell less. I feel like in presentations I take a ton of notes whereas in panels I just listen and absorb.
  • some stuff I starred: come up with a sentence memorable elevator pitch hook, think of an event and go back ten steps answering “why” and go forward ten steps answering “what if,” all writing is telling but we need to show by giving the reader triggers to feel stuff, cliches work if you do them right….
  • the program was printed wrong which made me miss the panel on finding your tribe, which is something I really need to do. So that made me sad. I was hoping they’d say something really enlightening that I hadn’t thought of that would make all the difference.
And a few pictures:
Brandon Sanderson, Lee Modesitt, and Mary Robinette Kowal


Dan Wells and Howard Taylor


Shannon Hale


Kevin J. Anderson


Learning about the future.
Anyway, it was a great time as usual and I look forward to next year already!

New Year’s Writing Goals 2016



It’s a new year and I have goals! The writing kind!

  • First of all, writing needs to become a priority. I have so many things I like to do with my day and I try to spread them out and make them all fit. Writing seems to take a back seat. No more.
  • I’m starting to get feedback from my beta readers for my first ever finished story! So now it’s time to make changes to that one using all this feedback.
  • I want to finish and revise the recent Nano book (unnamed space opera) and start getting feedback for it.
  • Which means the other book (the book of letters) will still have to wait it’s turn for some attention.
  • I want to start researching agents and the like. Freaky! Which means maybe NEXT year I’ll be ready to query and pitch. Maybe.
  • I have registered for both LTUE and Storymakers again this year. Not sure if I’ll fit in more conferences, but it would be nice if it happens.
  • I hope to keep the online writing group going. And if that doesn’t work.. find a real, in life serious writing group. Sigh.
  • Keep going to UVW when I can. Renew membership in March.

I’d love to know what writing goals you have!


NaNoWriMo Final Updates


Just in case you’re following along, here’s my week three report. And wow, that week flew by, did it not? I did have a couple of bad days this past week, writing-wise, just as I expected, though even then I managed a couple hundred words just so I could update the page and say that I’ve haven’t actually missed a day! Even that’s a pretty crazy goal and accomplishment really.

So, I loved my story up until Thursday/Friday and then BAM, I hit a wall. You know all the feelings… why am I doing this… this is crap… what a lot of time to waste doing something that will go nowhere… I don’t know what to write next… it’s terrible so why try…blah blah blah. I hate it when that happens. But then Saturday things picked up again, I got over the little hump of “what happens next” even though the story is going its own direction and I’m just hanging on for the ride. I wish I was more imaginative than I am so I could truly figure things out but who knows. Maybe something cool will happen.

My story has three distinct parts… and I’ve just crossed over into the third part. While that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m nearing the end, it feels like things are going to start getting crazy in anticipation for that climatic moment (assuming I can write myself there) which makes me excited. I’m frustrated because I keep thinking of things I need to go back and change, or add or fix or delete, but that’s not what Nano is about, so there’s a huge list that’s started and hopefully I can remember what/how/who/when I need to make those changes.

I was pondering sharing an excerpt but I’m vetoing everything. Instead, I thought I’d share a list of some of my characters names. A few of them have been nameless until today and I’m excited that they finally have names! So I give you, my characters:


Speaking of characters, one thing that happened this week, I started reading last year’s Nano story, which I haven’t looked at for pretty much a whole year. And I’m dying to work on it again! And revive those characters! And actually finish it and polish it and see what someone other than me, thinks of it. So that’ll be the project starting just as soon as Nano ends. I wonder if I can revise two stories at the same time. Or three even.

Well anyway, as of the beginning of today, I’m at about 42,000 words. One week to get 8000 more. I can totally do this, despite Thanksgiving!

How about you? Feeling strong? Pushing on to the end? Giving up? Wondering what the heck is happening to your story?

Isn’t Nano so much fun!?!



Actually, I got to my 50,000 words last Tuesday! So I made my goal of finishing before Thanksgiving, which is always helpful since my attention needs to be so many other places then.  And I haven’t looked at my story since I declared myself a winner… and I must say, I’ve been missing it. Dying to know what happens next!! Because no, it is far from finished.

But I’m also frustrated with all the stuff I skimmed over and left out and forgot. All the stuff I meant to do! So here’s hoping I can keep up the everyday writing habit (once this crazy weekend is over!) and finish, then fix this story.

I want to be brave enough to share an excerpt with you… let’s see…how about this dance moment:

He smiles and brings her close. In her ear he whispers, “I’m watching you.” Then he spins her away and hands her off to the next guy. Her head explodes and the dreaded dizziness descends on her again. Her feet tangle up, twisted into each other. She stumbles. But hands grab her and keep her spinning and spinning and spinning from person to person to person. How long does this crazy dance last? She’s not sure she can make it much longer and keep her dinner down.
And then, the music changes again. Slows, clears, shifts. She is handed off one last time, to someone who keeps her and holds her, steady and sure against him. She knows without looking that somehow Khol has found her in that frenzy of spinning bodies. She lays her face against his chest. It’s damp and heaving, so she knows he too has been out here dancing, this whole time. Her arms come up and around his waist. She refuses to move again for now. Maybe forever. If this dance is a throw-a-girl-around-dance, she won’t play. But his arms hold her tight, his hands press hot through the thin material of her shirt. It appears they are staying put for at least one song’s worth. They barely move to the music. She closes her eyes and tries to catch her breath and dispel the spinning in her head. The movement of his chest calms her. Their breathing slows, bit by bit, and syncs together. Now, this, this she could do forever. 

The first he and the second he are two different he’s in guess that’s not clear from this bit! And yeah, it appears there’s a dance of some sort in every story I write. Or several dances for that matter. There’s just something about dancing, is there not? 🙂

Anyway, so there you go. Nano 2015 is a wrap! I can’t believe it’s over already! And now here’s to another year of revising!

Revising is Hard

This past week I’ve been concentrating on revising. It’s hard! I makes me want to bang my head on my desk! It makes me tired! Every time I sit down to revise some more I suddenly feel the urge to take a nap.

But when I finally do sit down and actually start working on things, here’s what I’m thinking:

*tightening things up, think of your story like a tightrope… if it sags, the bookmark goes in and the reader stops.
* limit descriptions, use only when necessary
* use only the most essential scenes.. only the ones that push you to the climax
* eliminate redundancy… say it clearly and then move on
* use precise verbs… walking vs. sauntering for example
* write with active voice… get rid of all the WAS words
* think of chapter endings that tempt the reader to keep reading

Showing vs. Telling!
* get rid of these words: see, hear, feel, know, remember, think, is/was, wonder, thought, look, saw, imagine, guess. They are all telling words not showing words.

Oh, the other thing I’ve been doing a lot of… getting read of lots of saids… and just using body language and action instead. I forget what’s that called, but it has a name. I can’t even tell you how many places I have where this is needing to be fixed!