Friday, June 30, 2006

The Act of Writing...

“The act of writing itself leads us on a path into the unknown. One step unfolds into another, and we are led into the mapless territory of the imagination where all things are possible. It is a real place, and it is inside us.”

--Michael Toms, The Well of Creativity, p. 71

Tricia’s Thoughts:
I can’t count the times when I’ve scanned over the day’s words and just shook my head. “Where did that come from?” I think as I glance over the scenes that share hoped, fear, or maybe surprise. Surprise even to me.

You might ask the same question when you look over the words on your pages. It’s so amazing-- don’t you agree—that we hold so much inside us. More than we’d ever imagine.

I wonder what words tomorrow holds?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Secret Formula...

“Constantly I run into people who say they would love to travel if only they had the chance. Constantly I also run into people who say with equal fervor they would love to write if only they had the time. This kind of chatter is an annoying waste of conversation, because if a man really wants to travel, nothing will hold him back. If he wants to write, he will find the time. So, if you are determined to be a writer, there is nothing I can do to persuade you. Nothing will hold you back--unless you start out expecting to uncover some secret formula . . .”

--quoted from an article by William Ashley Anderson in The Writer, August 1954

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ernest was just a guy...

“You are a writer. Right now. With only what you have in your head as it is. You don't need anything else. You are a writer. You just need to keep writing. Don't let the Writing Fairy tell you that you aren't. That you need something more, that you're pretending to be something you're not. Hemmingway wasn't Hemmingway when he started. He was just a guy named Ernest who sat down at his typewriter.”

--Joseph Devon

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Writing Is Like Religion...

“Writing is like religion. Every man who feels the call must work out his own salvation. I might add that while many are called, few are chosen.

“Many beginners think that if they can acquire style, the fight is won; but style without ideas is as useless as an edge tool without material to carve. On the other hand many men who have ideas think they can write acceptably without serving an apprenticeship. They must learn how to use the tools of their trade.
“Given talent for it a man must prepare himself for writing as he would for any profession, by study and practice. Men do not expect to leap over night into the practice of either of these professions . . . I know of none that involves more drudgery and hard work during the years of preparation, or that requires more continuous effort to maintain a once-won place with the public. On every story that a writer publishes there is a plebiscite to determine whether he shall be encouraged to continue. Past performance avails little with the reading public. Rather, it makes it more critical and exciting. A writer’s reputation always depends on his next story.”

--Horace Lorimer, quoted in Adventures in Interviewing, 1919, p 57

Monday, June 26, 2006

Health and the Writer by Camy Tang

Whether you’re a writer who also works a full-time job or are a busy stay-at-home-mom, it’s hard to stay healthy. I researched and figured out a bunch of tips and tricks to help me stay in shape without carving out of my precious writing time. I also found some tips to help me have just general better health. Pick and choose which of these will work for you.


Sometimes (this doesn't work for everyone) it helps to snack on something small (and healthy) every 3 hours whether you're hungry or not. That way, you're not ravenous an hour before dinner and tempted to gobble down your food.

Prepackage it. Make small containers or baggies of specific portions of snacks. Weigh them on a kitchen scale if possible. It'll take a little more time, but it'll help you portion your snacking. When it's snack time, you'll have a convenient package ready to go.

If you're on a low carb diet, eat a small snack of protein (cheese, nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, salami) before you go munching on carbs. It might take the edge off.

Check out other low-calorie snacks like sugar-free JELLO pudding cups, or children’s size snacks. Some cereals make good high-fiber snacks, especially when you prepackage them in baggies or containers so you don’t just keep munching.

Camy Tang is a novelist also fighting the battle of the bulge. Find out more about her and her books at, or enjoy the read on her blog at


Friday, June 23, 2006


"Contrast clarifies and heightens and effect. To make a white paper brighter, place a black mark upon it. Punctuate the silence with a scream, the night with a candle, and muted tones with a spot of intense color. Contrast is used to draw attention to an area, to provide stability or clarity in a composition, and to affect the figure/ground relationship, either by clarifying or confusing it."
~Tim McCreight, Design Language

Tricia's Challenge:

This definition is talking about art and design, but how well can you show contrast in your writing? Use the comment field to write a paragraph or two that clearly displays contrast.

First Lines

One of my favorite books for writers is "Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook" by Donald Maass. Here's one tip from Donald:

"In my workshops, I ask every participant to read his first line. I then ask the group, 'Do you want to hear the next line?' A show of hands immediately tells us how effective a given first line has been.

"Weather effects, description and scene setting never get a strong response. Neither does plain action--unless there's something puzzling about it. The best first lines make us lean forward, wondering, 'What the heck does that mean?' A suggestion of sex is a sure-fire attention getter, but not every story can start that way. The one thing all good first lines have in common is the intrigue factor."

This week, Angie Hunt will be blogging author's first lines from their works in progress. It's a great lesson in how many ways there are to tell a story. Angie is also asking for comments on which ones interest you. You can visit Angie's website here:

Here's the first line to my soon-to-be-released novel, Arms of Deliverance.

Katrine squared her shoulders and instinctively pressed a hand to her stomach as she stepped through the open doors of the café, past the yellow sign that read NO JEWS ALLOWED.

You can order Writing the Breakout Novel here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
~ Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Want Juicy Fiction?

Never, never try to scope the market. You've got to write what you're passionate about. Otherwise you'll produce juiceless, flavorless fiction.
-Dean Koontz

Monday, June 19, 2006

Chasing Butterflies...

“There is no more demanding task than writing. No matter how long one works at it, no matter how many words are produced, room for improvement will always remain. Herein lies the ultimate frustration of writing: herein also lies its bittersweet charm and challenge. It’s like chasing butterflies, each new batch prettier than the last.”

~Gene Olson, Sweet Agony: A Writing Manual of Sorts, p. 13

Friday, June 16, 2006

Brilliant garbage...

"It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly."

~C. J. Cherryh

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It seems to me...

It seems to me that since I've had children, I've grown richer and deeper. They may have slowed down my writing for a while, but when I did write, I had more of a self to speak from.

--Anne Tyler

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A story...

A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way.

~Flannery O’ Connor

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Health and the Writer By Camy Tang

Whether you’re a writer who also works a full-time job or are a busy stay-at-home-mom, it’s hard to stay healthy. I researched and figured out a bunch of tips and tricks to help me stay in shape without carving out of my precious writing time. I also found some tips to help me have just general better health. Pick and choose which of these will work for you.

Get into more positive thinking.

Often times, a negative attitude or negative thoughts about your body or your health are actually contributing to the problem. Your mind can influence your body more than you realize. Psychologists often come across psychosomatic illnesses where the mind plays a major role in determining the body’s health.

So, if you’re constantly down on yourself about your weight, your lack of self-control in eating, your lack of discipline in exercises, and other negative thoughts, this can cause stress on your body, decreasing your immune system and opening you up to bugs and viruses.

As Christian writers, the one thing that we should never forget is that NO MATTER WHAT, JESUS LOVES US. If we truly believe that, it will outweigh any lies we believe about our bodies. We might not be happy with our shape or our health, but NO MATTER WHAT, JESUS LOVES US. That’s what everything in life boils down to.

Read your Bible. Pray. Worship and praise Him. He is your God, He is your creativity, He is your strength, He is your guide. Let’s turn our minds toward the blessings He’s given us and rest in that.

For more about Camy see her blog:


Monday, June 12, 2006

Childlike Creativity

Are we, who want to create, in some way specially talented people? Or has everybody else simply given up, either by preassures of modesty or laziness, and closed their ears from their inner need to create, until that need has died, forgotten and abandoned? When you look at children, you start to think the latter. I still haven't met a child who doesn't love - or who at least hasn't loved - drawing, writing or some other creative activity.

~Natalia Laurila

Friday, June 09, 2006


Failure, according to popular definition, consists of an attempt to do something which does not succeed immediately . . . That isn’t failure, that’s education.

Failure exists, but failure is not what happens when you try and don’t succeed. Failure, in its pure form, is what happens when you die without having tried anything.

--Gene Olson, Sweet Agony: A Writing Manual of Sorts, p. 19

Thursday, June 08, 2006

To Be Human...

To be human is to want to figure things out. To be human is to hunt for meaning, to make sense of our seemingly random lives. And we have a powerful (and rather charming) way of giving shape and pattern to the chaos: We tell stories. We live fully by constructing and ordering scenes—that is, people doing things for reasons, whether known or unknown to themselves—and thus come to understand the random details and chaotic experiences of our lives.

--Meg Files, Write from Life, p. 4

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


And he said, "Writers spend all their time preoccupied with just the things that their fellow men and women spend their time trying to avoid thinking about. ... It takes great courage to look where you have to look, which is in yourself, in your experience, in your relationship with fellow beings, your relationship to the earth, to the spirit or to the first cause—to look at them and make something of them."

--novelist Harry Crews

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Put it before them...

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

~Joseph Pulitzer

Monday, June 05, 2006

Health and the Writer By Camy Tang

Whether you’re a writer who also works a full-time job or are a busy stay-at-home-mom, it’s hard to stay healthy. I researched and figured out a bunch of tips and tricks to help me stay in shape without carving out of my precious writing time. I also found some tips to help me have just general better health. Pick and choose which of these will work for you.

Eating out:

Most restaurant servings are actually two or three portions. Try to only eat half of what's on the plate. You can fill your stomach a little before the entrée comes with a side of steamed vegetables, a broth-based cup of soup, or a salad with the dressing on the side—that way, you aren't tempted to eat your entire entrée.

You might also consider ordering vegetarian—those dishes tend to be slightly lower in calories and fat. Since I eat out a lot for lunch at work, I try to order vegetarian when I can. The high-fiber vegetables will make me feel full faster than meats, and I found I don't have the afternoon food coma from a vegetarian lunch.

Another option is to order an appetizer for your meal instead of an entrée. If you don't mind sharing with someone, order one healthier appetizer and one not-so-healthy appetizer and split the two.

Limit yourself to one or two pieces of the bread and butter on the table. Also, make sure you have a glass of water or a water bottle with you and drink plenty of it to cut the edge off your hunger. Try not to order high-sugar soft drinks at restaurants, especially with their free refills. Before you know it, you've drunk two to three cans of high-calorie, high sugar cola. A good alternative is iced tea with artificial sweetener or diet drinks.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Stirs the reader...

“The best book is not one that informs merely, but one that stirs the reader up to inform himself. The best writer is one that goes with us through the world of ideas like a friendly guide who walks beside us through the forest pointing out to us a hundred natural wonders we had not noticed before. So we learn from him to see for ourselves and soon we have no need for our guide.”

--A.W. Tozer's book, Man the Dwelling Place of God, p. 149

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Squeeze and Process...

“One of the things that fiction does so well is to squeeze and process real-life experiences into pungent essence; the pressure applied by plot structure is one of the things that helps reduce the chaos of real life to a manageable and meaningful moment of observed truth.”

– Dean Koontz, How to write Bestselling Fiction, p. 56