We’re coming to the end of our annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge here on the blog. As always, the wide range of stories that resulted from a single writing prompt and set of words has amazed me. My own story went in a direction I wasn’t quite expecting when my son and I were watching Hallmark holiday movies and brainstorming ideas (possibly while drinking mimosas), but sometimes you just have to follow where the story leads.
I hope you enjoy it.
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The Gift of Joy
Maggie stood in the doorway to what her husband Peter laughingly called his study and felt the bittersweet memories wash over her. It had been two years since she’d gotten the call that had changed everything but sometimes, in moments like these, the pain felt as fresh and sharp as if it had just happened.
Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
In hindsight, accepting one of the New Year’s Eve house-party invitations she’d received from her well-meaning friends might have been smarter than spending the day clearing out what she’d privately always thought of as the apartment’s junk drawer, but she’d put off the task far too long already. Continue reading
I came across this old post the other day and thought it was both a timely reminder and a message worth re-sharing.
It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. I’ll be heading off to RWA nationals soon and, although I’ll undoubtedly come back with a lot of useful information and a renewed commitment to my writing, it’s very likely that I’ll also come back with thoughts of “I’ll never write as many books as Author X” and “I’m not nearly as far along in my writing career as Author Y.” It doesn’t help when I see notes from ghost-writer friends about their 10,000 word days or how they drafted out a book in a week. Though I intellectually know better, and it tends to take the shine off my own progress, it is regrettably easy to do.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was trying to decide wether to keep plugging away on the current manuscripts I have in process or to call it a day and get on with my (writing) life.
The part of me that felt I was trapped in revision paralysis was all for “let’s build a bonfire / I’ll get the matches.” The part of me that never stopped reading a book partway through (until Madame Bovary), was more “quitter, quitter, quitter.”
A conundrum, indeed.
Fortunately, I think I’ve come up with a solution that
pleases no one combines the two options. I’m taking one of my three manuscripts and starting it all over from scratch.
Sounds like fun, right? No? Well, it was Jilly’s idea. Continue reading
Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and, if you were in one of the areas with earthquakes, high winds, lashing rain, blizzard conditions, or just politics-as-usual, that you have survived unscathed.
It has been a hectic week at the Day Job, so I’m looking forward to some downtime and dinner with friends this weekend. If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, then you’re in luck. Saturday marks the 3rd Annual Women’s March. The main march will be in Washington, D.C., but there are satellite events scheduled across the globe, including one just blocks from my office. If you’re interested in attending, check here to see if there will be a march near you.
Not in the mood for marching this weekend? Well, Saturday is National Popcorn Day, so maybe you can celebrate by heading off to the movies with a big bucket of buttery deliciousness.
I’ll be here curled up on the couch with a cozy blanket, a mug of coffee, and a lazy cat, alternating between reading the latest Louise Penny book I’m in the midst of, and doing some writing of my own. I’ve got a story with a sagging-middle that needs some work, but before I tackle that I think I’ll try and jump-start my creativity by giving today’s “what-if” and random words a try.
Care to join me? Continue reading
How has your week been going so far? More bright days than dark, or are you living under the cloud of our country’s current game of chicken? Hopefully it’s the former, not the later.
Things have been going pretty well here at the Writing Castle. The vestiges of Christmas are still hanging on, but the tree’s days are definitely numbered, no matter how much I enjoy coming home to the sparkly lights.
The other thing I’ve been enjoying is, unexpectedly, getting a fair number of words on the page. Obviously my Girls in the Basement are fickle – as soon as I told them, don’t worry, take a break, we’re going to focus on fun for a while – they started throwing up thoughts and plans for my Cassie & Nicolas manuscript that has been sitting on the desk, neglected and gathering virtual dust.
Not that I’m complaining.
Though “fun” is still front and center on my radar, I’m going to give the Girls their heads and let them play around with today’s “what-if” after work.
Care to join me? Continue reading
Welcome to the our first Writing Sprints of the year. Hope you are all well rested, refreshed, and ready to put your creativity to good use.
I’ve been reading lots of mysteries lately. For the investigators in the stories, it’s a case of asking, “and then what happened,” over and over again to reach the truth. From the writing perspective, the start of a new story is more often a case of, “what would happen if?”
- What would happen if someone down on their luck suddenly won the lottery? (I happened to someone in real-life just recently).
- What would happen if a close-knit community suffered a devastating fire? (This is a real-life what-if, culled from the headlines.)
- What would happen if “the detective investigating a crime fell in love with the suspect?” (This happens in my current contemporary mystery).
This year, our story prompts are going to focus on “what-if” scenarios, and we’re going to see what happens from there. I’ve got lots of story ideas floating around in my head – either left there by Santa or fueled by all of the holiday treats I may or may not have consumed. Regardless of where they came from, I’m going to try to put them to good use by giving today’s story prompt a try as soon as I get home from work.
Care to join me? Continue reading
Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.
I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to get used to the fact that summer is over, never mind accept that it’s the start of a whole new year. Despite my mental denial however, the clocks did tick past midnight Monday night and the big sparkly ball did drop in New York’s Times Square (in the rain, even), so that means the 1/1/2019 on my calendar is apparently correct.
On the plus side, to mangle a quote from an old favorite book of mine (Anne of Green Gables):
“it’s a brand new year with no mistakes in it yet.”
Normally on New Year’s Day, after enjoying the annual outdoor Hockey Classic on television, along with a mimosa or two, I kick off the Great Winter Cleanup, which occasionally includes dismantling the Christmas tree with the help of a chainsaw (don’t ask!). Continue reading