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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #35

A good writer knows what repetitive words he or she uses unconsciously.  A few years ago I published a novel. This week I had an opportunity to send it to a traditional publisher of some repute. I thought: ‘I want the manuscript to be as close to perfect as I can make it, so I’ll take another look at it’. Knowing my go-to words are ‘that’ and ‘just‘, the first thing I did was find out how many times I’d used the word ‘that’.  807!!  With editing, I happily reduced that number to 197.

How does that happen??  Well, we all have idiosyncrasies with our language.  Yes, I had an editor and she missed it too.  Then I checked the other devil word, ‘just‘.  234 times when only 5-6 were used appropriately. Yikes! 

Be self-aware as a writer. Know your strengths, yes, but also your weaknesses. Know your eccentricities with language. 

 

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.”~~ Walt Whitman

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.
But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
“~~ T. S. Eliot

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    December: British writer, J.G. Dow. January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory
                                                                                   
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Auld Lang Syne ~~ Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of year….Auld Lang Syne and as the poet, Robbie Burns wrote,  “old long since”.  And I’m in the mood to tell a story.     

Wild Violets, a novel

Mother, Violet, on right

In a very ‘Auld Lang Syne’ kind of mood, I  remembered things from my long ago youth at  holiday time.  Especially my mother’s traditions in the kitchen.  Christmas dinner was a big stuffed turkey with all, and I do mean all, the trimmings.  Dinner began with a ‘shrimp cocktail’.  If there was fresh shrimp (there had to have been; we lived in the Pacific Northwest for goodness sakes); my mother had never heard of them.  Canned shrimp filled two third’s of a martini glass, topped with her homemade cocktail sauce.  A sprig of parsley  on top and the glass was then placed on a paper doily covered saucer.  On the saucer was ONE, (never two or three) Ritz cracker.

The sage, giblet stuffing, made from scratch and that means my mother saved the heels of bread loaves for weeks. I’ve never tasted dressing as good since.  She would make the usual trimmings, gravy from the turkey drippings, green beans (out of a can, of course) flavored with bits of boiled bacon, baked sweet potatoes, and jellied cranberry sauce.  She considered whole berry cranberry sauce savage.  Home made biscuits and mashed potatoes.  And then the pièce de résistance………..her oyster dressing.  Heaven in a bite!

family histories, family secrets, story telling, writers

Mom & me

Not being a particularly religious family the blessing was be short.  If my Dad could get away with it, he would add: “Pass the spuds, pass the meat, for

Godssakes, let’s eat.” We would toast each other with Manischewitz  wine. A wine connoisseur Mom was not!  And I never knew why a Kosher red wine was part of her tradition.  

As dishes were passed around the table,  someone would always mention my mother’s off colored joke about a “boarding house reach“.  A stickler for good manners, she would instruct us that a ‘boarding house reach’ was when you could ‘reach’ for something on the table and at least one butt cheek remained on your chair.  That was an acceptable ‘reach’ and not bad manners. Otherwise, you must ask politely for someone to pass down what you wanted.

roaring 20's, flappers, new fiction, Wild Violets

the flapper days

I was never certain whether she had run a boarding house or had just lived in one sometime during her 1920’s flapper*bar owner*professional bowler* speckled younger days.  If she had run a bordello it would not have surprised me!    Miss you, Mom!

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Footnote:  “Auld Lang Syne”  is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294). It is well-known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world; its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions.

The song’s Scots title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”, “days gone by” or “old times”.
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   October’s author was Donna Kauffman. November: Rita Avaud a Najm. December: British writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #34

The first thing that makes a buyer reach for your book is the COVER!  Is it professional? Does it convey a visual story? 
The second thing that keeps the book in their hand is the BACK COVER and what it says about your story!
The third thing that keeps them from putting it back on the rack (or swiping their tablet for more choices) is that all important, FIRST SENTENCE!

 For example:

Swamp sludge dripped off the massive head while the cold, murderous, purple eye watched them.’

‘As I stepped into the street I didn’t notice the bus bearing down on me.’

‘I sat in the prison waiting room about to interview a convicted killer.’

‘Slow down, Al,” Vi screamed and laughed from the back seat of the car that was plummeting down the mountain side. “You’re gonna kill us.’

 ‘My first audition since I had arrived in Hollywood and what if I fail?’

‘The teacher grabbed my math work book and marched to the front of the room. He began to read my poetry aloud.’

‘As the saloon doors creaked back and forth, the trail weary cowboys backed away when they saw him saunter in.’

“Mother must be spinning in her grave. Not in her wildest dreams, or mine for that matter, would she imagine her daughter in a prison.” Kitty muttered, as her chauffeur drove up the long driveway to the main entrance of the State Prison.

Since the buyer hasn’t put your book down yet, you have to ‘hook’ them with your first sentence. Make them ask, ‘what happens next’?
                                                    *************

“No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.” ~~Bob Dylan

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” ~~ Charles Dickens

“None but ourselves can free our minds.” ~~Bob Marley
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author was Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. In December we will be saying hello to English mystery writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
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New Look! New Tips! Creative Writing for Women Journal

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Here’s how it works: In a comment on this web site, (go to bottom of the post) provide proof of  purchase, use this code: Journal2017, and provide your name and address or email.  I will send you $5. !!  via snail mail or PayPal.

 

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A revised Journals/Handbooks for women with more instruction and quotes. For new and experienced writers alike, this Journal offers more instruction,tips and more hand-picked quotes by other authors, actors, playwrights, philosophers, and poets. Meant to inspire the creative mind.  A handy size that will fit in a backpack or tote.  

‘Sugarek gives you “permission” to scribble down ideas and not have to write the great American novel every time you put pen to paper. In the first couple of pages, she gets you going with examples and encouragement and she makes you realize that while writing is work, it’s not impossible work.’ D. Johnson

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author was Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. In December we will be saying hello to English mystery writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
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The newest in a series of Journals/Handbooks. For new and experienced writers alike, this Journal offers more instruction,
tips and more hand-picked quotes by other authors, actors, playwrights, philosophers, and poets. Meant to inspire the creative mind.  A handy size that will fit in a backpack or tote.  

 

WHAT TO EXPECT:   
How To Begin
How To Develop Exciting Characters
How To Tell A Story
How To Write a Stage Play
How To Write Poetry
How To Write Haiku Poetry

 

To purchase: click here 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author was Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. In December we will be saying hello to English mystery writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #32

        Discipline!   As you probably know I interview other writers, many of them best selling authors.  A constant theme among all of them is DISCIPLINE!

To be a writer, you must write. Every day. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes or an hour. Write every day.  Even if it’s crap. That’s what re-writes are about.
It’s what’s underneath that counts, which is usually just a fear of not being able to do it, or do it well, or being criticized, or a zillion other reasons not to write today. Or, simply not wanting to write badly enough–no solid motivation. Writers who procrastinate need to ask themselves why, try to get to the bottom of it. Sometimes people can try to make themselves do things they really, deep down, don’t want to do. Writing a book seems to be something everyone has on his/her bucket list, just “because.” If you really don’t want to do it, then don’t.

If anyone told you writing is easy they were lying. Writing is hard work and not for the faint hearted!

Dean Koontz told me in his Interview: ‘ I don’t suffer from procrastination because I love the English language and the process of storytelling, and I’m always curious to see what will come to me next. If you procrastinate a lot, you might be one who loves having written, but doesn’t so much like writing.’

‘We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.’ ~~ Jim Rohnwriting, blogs, authors, creating,writers

 

‘Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.’– Ray Bradbury

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.’ – Henry David Thoreau
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
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More Motivational Moments…for Writers! #8

1..girl.write..mouse_1Writers! Jump-start your day with more Motivational Moments!

“….you have to be willing to write crap.  You have to write all the time whether it’s any good or not.  You can always delete or revise or rewrite but if you wait until it feels perfect, you’ll never accomplish anything.  You have to fill up pages with words and keep moving forward…”

My interview with bestselling author Robyn Carr began yesterday ( she was so generous with her time and thoughts it became a 3 parter) and she said this in the context of the post. I couldn’t have said it better so I borrowed it! Thanks, Robyn!


“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.”
  Kurt Vonnegut

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to do.”  Kahlil Gibran

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” Edgar Allan Poe

 

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‘As a writer, I marinate, speculate and hibernate.’  Trisha SugarekThe throes of writing

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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  A long awaited interview with Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House) Best selling author, Robyn Carr is July’s author. Check out Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Motivational Moments…for Writers! # 6

1..girl.write..mouse_1Writers! Jump-start your day with more Motivational Moments!

Don’t worry about a story that you haven’t finished.  It’s okay to let it ‘rest’.  There have been times when I have had three books waiting for me to finish.  Just the other day I pulled up my GAN (great American novel) and realized that it had been ‘resting’ for over a year. Life and other stories had gotten in the way.

The good news is that it’s only about 50-75 pages from being a completed first draft.  And, I am looking at it with fresh eyes.  What a difference that makes. It’s almost like reading someone else’s work and I am revitalized and eager now to complete it and begin rewrites.

BTW, I am calling Song of the Yukon my great American novel; not out of ego but very much with tongue in cheek. Rather it is my largest effort to day and took the most research, blood and sweat.

“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.” Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”  W. Somerset Maugham

“Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.” Confucius

 

 

 

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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  A long awaited interview with Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House) Best selling author, Robyn Carr is July’s author. Check out Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Motivational Moments….for Writers! #3

 

Oh, so you think you will just write all day and wonderful things will happen?  Think again, grasshopper.  If you’re a one-man-band like myself and most other indie authors, you will have to wear an editor, publicist, marketing and publishing hat, just to name a few.
It takes hard work and then some more hard work.  But here’s the payoff:  After four years…yep..you heard me right…of consistent blogging with relevant content, supporting other writers, and interviewing authors so much more famous than I am (well, I’m not famous at all) my posts (blog) are on page ONE of Google search and my books are selling.  This year a traditional publisher picked up my true crime series of books.  Don’t misunderstand, when you get a publisher DO NOT stop publishing your indie books.  And most important of all: KEEP WRITING!

Alan.1PE2Y  “If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.” Alan Rickman, actor

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”  John Wayne

 

 

                                                ‘As a writer, I marinate, speculate and hibernate.’  Trisha Sugarek
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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS! In April, a long awaited interview with Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House) May’s author was Jordan Rosenfeld.  Michael Saad, Canadian author, will be June’s author. Robyn Carr is July’s author.

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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #2

2A.girl.write..mouse_1Writers! Jump-start your day with more Motivational Moments!

Build up to writing the great American novel. Maybe that’s what is stopping you…the idea is so daunting. Remember there is no one great American novel.  There are just writers trying to tell great stories.   Start with a short story.  Or a piece of poetry.  I find ‘story-telling’ much less intimidating.

 “There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  Hemingway

“what matters most is how well you walk through the fire”  Charles Bukowski

 

Sign up for my blog and receive your ‘Motivational Moments‘ twice a week! Simple: type your email address in the box on my Home page (top/right). Click on ‘subscribe’.writer

‘As a writer, I marinate, speculate and hibernate.’  Trisha Sugarek

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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS! April, a long awaited interview with Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House). May’s author was Jordan Rosenfeld.  Michael Saad, Canadian author, will be June’s author. Robyn Carr is July’s author.

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!