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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Writing Get-Away

Sometimes a girl just can't concentrate at home. To that end, I've headed for the hills--of Arkansas, that is. My best writing buddy, Christine Lynxwiler ( is blessed to live smack in God's country with all the trees and beauty of rolling hills, green valleys and southern BBQ. (wait, did I say southern bbq? I've smelled it but haven't actually eaten any this time around--yet, it's only day 2, so I haven't given up)

Granted I live in south-central Missouri, which is technically the Ozarks too. But unless you head down to Branson it's not so Ozarky pretty :)

So, my friend Chris has a little apartment that I use when I go to write and I love to sit out on the deck, put my feet on the rail while I write, and look at the woods behind the house.

The view from my deck...check out my pedicure....I know I have weird fat feet and stumpy toes...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Julie and Julia

I know...old movie. Old subject.

But for some reason, I've been stuck on it. Amy Adams is one of my favorite actresses. Although I wish she'd pick a genre and stick for awhile so she can really make a name for herself (probably what all my readers think about me--vampires, prairie, chicklit, suspense--nail it down Tracey!)

Anyway, so she (the character, Julie) talks about having ADD--and her husband says, "You have ADD?"
"Yes, that's why I'm so bad at housework" LOL--true, true. I've recently come to understand myself better since I was diagnosed with ADD myself. Wow what a revelation. Seriously, folks. Read the list of symptoms and if that's you--get help. I'm doing medication and some behavior therapy--which leads me to the next point.
Every day. 365 days over 500 recipes and some of them really gross like the beef molds EW. Day in and day out she worked all day at a regular job, took public transportation home, and then started to cook, eating by 10 pm at night and getting up at 5:30 each morning. THAT is determined effort. BIG for anyone, but for someone with ADD--godlike ability. Truly.

But boy did it pay off. God is like that though. He gives us glimpses of ideas. "I could write a blog. I could cook from Julia Child's cookbook and blog about it." Every day. When it rains, when Idol is on TV when I'm sick. It's our choice to believe in that dream or shrug it off as a crazy idea that could NEVER really pan out.

Become what you believe. (Not just new age mumbo jumbo--it's in the Bible)

Last night, watching the movie to fall asleep I thought about what Oprah said on her Masterclass. She doesn't believe in "luck" it's all part of a plan. But if there's a definition for "luck" (we would probably call it promotion in our religious circles) It's this "Preparation meets opportunity."

Stop and think about that for a second. PREPARATION meets OPPORTUNITY.

I tell my kids God isn't going to open a door you aren't ready to go through. Start moving. Prepare. Start working toward the thing you most want to do or be.

For me that means write every day. I keep thinking about what it will take to get to where I want to go as a writer. For some who are still waiting to be published, where I am seems like the dream. 40 books published by paying publishers, 1 million books in print. Still there's a piece of me that is still waiting to find my writing self. Something inside that knows I'm not seeing the vision quite clearly. The purpose of it all.

So here I am, eleven years after I supposedly "made it" re-evaluating my goals and dreams and assessing if I'm truly willing to give what it takes to go there. "There" finally not the elusive, undefined dream. But a solid goal I could reach for--if I'm willing to pay the price to reach it.

I won't tell you my conclusion. If you're'll know, either way.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Character driven vs Plot driven writers

So I'm a few days late with my blogging. Honestly, that's because I promised a blog on a book I was reading and then got sidetracked and never really finished the book.

Every time I pick up a new book or a new tool for writers I think it might be my answer to getting off the midlist :). I've read the first two chapters of a lot of writing books and honestly, none of them really have anything new to say about plotting. They want you to discover the inner journey. Either using screen play writing techniques or The Heroes Journey, or yada yada. Truthfully, all that stuff is way over my head.

The thing I really do like about Jeff Gerke's stuff is that he's very open and real in his style of trying to teach a character driven writer to plot and vice versa. I was actually able to take away quite a few tips from his character side. The how to plot side (FOR ME) was same-o. What's the inner journey--how does it relate to the outer journey. All of that is great IF you can somehow articulate that inner and outer journey. Which I can't. I try. Really, I do and it's noone's fault that I can't. I have to discover it along the way. SIGH Sometimes I wish I were more analytical. Or I wish I had someone who really understands plotting and is also a good teacher to hold my hand through the plotting process of ONE book. SIGH. That's just not going to happen. I'm sure Jodi Picoult is way too busy :)

Having said the PLOT side of the book didn't really help me, I am going to be really honest and admit that there is a certain amount of understanding about my character that really clicked for me while reading the first half of the book and working through Jeff's character charts so if for no more than the first half of the book, it's well worth the change it costs to pick it up. Even for someone with mad characterization skills, like me (ha! no really, I do have mad characterization skills--the therapy must be helping, I could never have given myself a compliment six months ago)

What I found was that while discovering my character using the method Jeff suggests, I discovered some things that helped me write out some inner journey stuff which naturally spilled over into plot. So for that alone...I'm highly recommending Jeff Gerke's Plot vs Character. Honestly, I am very anti writing books because I have such a hard time implementing the information, but this one did help me more than any other book ever has. And that's saying a lot!
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