Life is complicated. Full of out-of-reach dreams and in-your-face commitments. We are busy with bosses and deadlines and spouses and kids and extended family obligations. Even time with friends doesn’t always come baggage-free. Throw in a few hormonal teens, an excess of extra-curricular activities, an aging pet, and piles of laundry and...
John 14:1 (NIV) “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” Suffering. Bring up suffering with a group of Christians and you’re almost guaranteed to push people’s theological hot buttons. The questions will go something like this: Does God cause my suffering or does He simply allow me to experience life in a sin-filled...
Today I’m celebrating a new release by Jennifer M. Eaton. Welcome Jennifer! Paper Wishes Jill has no idea what she wants for Christmas, but when it looks like her best friend Jack is going to get exactly what he asks for, Jill makes a Christmas wish that will change both of their lives forever. Jennifer M. Eaton is a contemporary...
Jennifer M. Eaton has stopped by today to talk about her new release, The First Day of the New Tomorrow. Jennifer is a contemporary blender of Science Fiction, Dystopian, and Romance. Her work ranges from the sweet contemporary romances of Paper Wishes, to the dystopian society of Last Winter Red and Optimal Red, with a dusting of...
I always get excited when Anne Mateer has a new release because when I open the pages
I know I won’t be disappointed. I’m hoping you fall in love with this book too.
Check out A Home for My Heart and welcome Anne back to the blog.
Sadie Sillsby works as the assistant to the matron at the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children and dreams of the day she’ll marry her beau, Blaine. But when the matron surprises everyone by announcing her own engagement, Sadie is suddenly next in line for the job. For a young woman who was once an orphan herself, a shot at such an esteemed position is a wish come true.But the matron of the Home cannot be married. Is Sadie willing to give up her dreams of a life with Blaine and a family of her own? Is she prepared to forgo daily involvement with the children as she instead manages the financial, legal, and logistical aspects of the orphanage? And when it’s revealed that the Home is spending a lot more money than it’s taking in, can Sadie turn things around before the place is forced to close forever?
Don’t Neglect the Thinking Time
by Anne Mateer
When I look back on the beginning stages of my latest release, A Home for My Heart, I cringe. Back before the two extensive re-writes. Back before I chucked half a manuscript and started over. All the way back to the gathering of research. Way back at the beginning, I neglected one of the most important writing steps: thinking.
The truth is that even seat of the pants writers (like me!) need time to think, to discard those first ideas that pop into our minds, the ones that don’t have the depth or uniqueness of later ideas, the ones we dig deeper in our imagination to find. And yet as writers, we tend to get impatient, don’t we? We want the story on the page. So we can revise. So we can submit. So we can see it in print. We know all of those things take a long time. And so we often put our fingers to the keyboard well before our idea, our characters have had time to come to life in our head, which means they fall flat on the page.
But what is thinking time, really? Most of us understand the jotting down of a fleeting thought–one you are sure you’ll remember later because it is so good, but you if you don’t write it down, it disappears. Or even the brainstorming, writing everything about your story and characters that pops into your head and sorting it all out later. We are even familiar with thinking as a hazy thing, shrouded in mist, often in those moments as we drift to sleep or ease awake. Those can be times of mining depths of our story we didn’t know existed. (Don’t forget to record these thoughts in some way as well or they will be lost to the dark of night or the light of day.)
Those are not the thinking times I’m referring to now. I’m talking about being intentional, setting aside time for focused thinking, turning over the story in our minds without letting mundane to-do list thoughts intrude. Looking at a story arc and considering actual turning points in a plot or changes in a character. Sorting through those brainstorming ideas or the scribbled thoughts that just appeared. We want to hurry the thinking through process, to cut it short or leave it out altogether simply because we are eager to write.
That’s what I did way back at the beginning of A Home for My Heart. I gathered some research and started the story. I threw away more words that year than I kept. I would have saved myself time and stress by stepping back at the beginning, slowing down and letting my imagination run wild before trying to tame it into characters and plot. Don’t put yourself in a similar situation. That time you might feel you “wasted” at the beginning of a project will, in the end, save you many hours, days and months of revisions. Trust me. I’ve learned the hard way!
While I have been writing for what feels like my whole life, I began seriously studying the craft in 2000. Since then I have completed five novels, had several pieces published in local periodicals, attended six writing conferences and managed to final in ACFW’s Genesis contest in 2006, 2008, and 2009. My first historical novel, Wings of a Dream, released in September 2011. My second, At Every Turn, is currently available. But writing is only a piece of my life. I am mostly just a woman trying to live her life in a manner pleasing to the Lord. That involves being a wife to Jeff and a mother to my three teenagers–neither role coming easily but both roles stretching me, requiring me to press in closer to Jesus. And because of this, Jesus has taken an insecure, fearful, sometimes angry girl and is turning her into a more trusting, peaceful, grace-filled woman. At least some of the time. There is still such a long way to go! – See more at: annemateer.comRead More
Especially at Margie Lawson’s house.
Not only is Margie my part-time boss and my full-time friend, she is brilliant at what she does.
Margie goes beyond what other writing instructors cover and trains writers to power-up tension, add emotion, and make their writing pop.
I don’t promote Margie because I’m her assistant, I’m her assistant because she’s brilliant. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.
Last year, I took all of Margie’s online courses and followed up with three immersion classes. One in Denver. Two in Dallas.
After wrestling with a writing funk for the last month, I went to Colorado to refuel and refresh. And crashed Margie’s September Master Immersion Writing Class.
Not only did Margie encourage me, I got to soak up all the creativity of six other writers excited to take their manuscripts to the next level.
What happens at immersion? I’ve posted pictures below.
And check out these two awesome posts on emotion in fiction by Tiffany Lawson Inman on Writer’s in the Storm. Tiffany’s offering a “seat” to her next online class From Madness to Method: Using acting techniques to invigorate your story and make each moment Oscar worthy! at the Lawson Writers Academy.
So go and leave a comment! Writers in the Storm will announce the winner on Monday. Contest closes Sunday, September 29, at noon.
So, what magic happens on Margie’s Mountain?