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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Post That Shows My Age

The other day while walking my sister-in-law and I were talking about some of our favorite 80s stars. We had our music interests, like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany (hello - my first cassette I ever bought). I can't remember her first cassette because it is late and my brain is dead.

We talked about our crushes, like Johnny Depp and Kirk Cameron (I added Johnny Depp on my own - we didn't talk about him but I did love him then) and others that I also can't remember.

This got me to thinking about writing in a way that dates our characters. I recently read a book that was written in the late 80s/early 90s. The author described the clothing the MC wore and it kind of pulled me out of the book for a moment. Not only that, she seemed to have no idea what kind of clothing men find attractive and the fact that these guys would jump on the MC and say she looked hot baffled me. I have found that over time I tend to not enjoy when authors describe clothing or fashion in detail because what they may think looks classy may look trashy to somebody else. It also makes it difficult for future generations to understand. Is there a teenage girl today who would understand the allure of wearing a flannel shirt, pegged jeans, crimped hair, etc.? I don't think so. Would they understand throwing on jeans and a shirt? Yes.

Do you think adding clothing/fashion detail helps or hinders a story (other than in the historical category)?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy?

Oh, summertime. How you have destroyed all writing motivation. You bring promises of lazy days sitting in a hammock writing and instead you fill my days with motherly demands (do I really need to feed those kids every day?) and decent person-ly demands. You give me a house that does not clean itself, laundry that piles up even though I tell it not to, food that begs to be made (and eaten), a husband whose R&R (rest and relaxation - basically he gets to come home for 2 weeks during his deployment) schedule seems to be changing by the minute, and exercise that requires more willpower than I possess.

So, what have I done instead of writing?
  • Spent some time with my kids (why can I not think of a specific event)
  • Spent some time with my family
  • Rearranged my living room
  • Bought a new laptop so that I can write more (because it is all my laptop's fault that I'm not currently writing) and so I don't have to share with my kids
  • Slept a lot
  • Read a lot
  • Swore a lot when I needed to cut something and EVERY pair of scissors I own was stuck together with freezer pop juice
  • Slept some more
  • Read some more
  • Celebrated my son's 13th birthday (and felt so very old)
Now I am writing. I am making my goal public. I am going to work on my WIP a minimum of 30 minutes every day (ideally one to two hours). Thirty total minutes, not necessarily consecutive, but for sure completely focused.

How do you keep your motivation up during the summer when playing sounds so fun?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Never Surrender

To celebrate the release of her new book, SURRENDER, Elana Johnson is hosting a blogfest asking people to write about a time when they didn't surrender. Head on over to her blog to enter and check out everybody participating.

I had several examples to choose from in my life but I decided to choose a challenge that was unique to me as an individual, not me as a wife or mom (although it was a challenge to my parents also). WARNING: This post is going to be very wordy.

When I was twelve years old I got mononucleosis. To add insult to injury I didn't even get it from kissing anybody, I just got it. And I got it bad. I had a severe case with a lot of side effects. I would be able to go to school for one week and then stay home for one week, repeat, for about two months. I had to go for several ultrasounds because of severe pain (i.e. inflamed spleen). Finally I was better and I was ready to move on with my life. However, I was never really the same.

I started getting sick all the time. I was exhausted with no real explanation. There were days when I struggled to even get out of bed. I started going to a lot of doctors to figure out what was happening to me. My primary care doctor told me that I was just depressed, it was all in my head, and put me on anti-depressants. Surprisingly enough, they did not work and I stopped taking them after a short time. For years I was told by that moron that it was all in my head (yeah, I'm bitter - I have a stronger word than moron in mind but I won't use it here). My parents began getting really worried when it got to a point where I couldn't even shower some days because I didn't have the strength to lift my arms over my head to shampoo my hair. During all this time though I kept playing high school volleyball, leading a social life, and getting good enough grades to get a scholarship to BYU.

Finally I went to college (so, at this point I had been told that I was crazy for over four years) and there was a doctor at the health clinic there who specialized in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I was diagnosed with that but I didn't fit all the symptoms of that either. A few months into college life I started fainting at random times and it got progressively worse. There were times when I was fainting more than five times a day. My parents used a lot of money taking me to doctor after doctor and homeopathic clinics trying to find anything that worked. At a homeopathic clinic in Las Vegas we discovered that chiropractic helped a lot. Eventually the doctor at BYU decided that my symptoms were not Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and sent me to a neurologist.

The neurologist did some tests and decided to send me to a cardiologist. At first he told me I was just out of shape. Then he did a test where he discovered that I actually had something very wrong with the way my heart and brain communicate (or don't communicate). I eventually had to drop out of school because it is very hard to pass a class when you are passed out in a campus bathroom. I was told I would probably not be able to have children and I was scheduled to get a pacemaker.

And then something happened. I met this guy. He made me super happy and I fell madly in love. I didn't get better but I got better enough with medication (and love) that I did not end up getting the pacemaker. I married that guy and I was able, after extremely difficult pregnancies,  to have two beautiful, amazing children. I still have some really bad days. I can go years without fainting now but then I go through cycles where I am fainting daily again. I have had to learn not to do too much on the days when I wake up feeling good. I don't take a single day of feeling good for granted because I never know how long that will last. I always wanted a lot of kids but I decided that I would rather be a decent mom to two children than a sick, crappy mom to six kids. Someday, if they find something to make me totally better my husband and I would consider adopting more children.

When my kids are driving me insane I remind myself that I wasn't even supposed to be able to have them. They are such a blessing and I can't imagine what would have happened had I let my illness take over and not had them. I prayed a lot before having them and I KNEW I was supposed to have them. I did not surrender to doctors who told me I was crazy or that I couldn't have children (BTW, I love my cardiologist who told me that) or illness.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Word Play

Once upon a time I had a sister-in-law (definitely not Ruth) and we will call her Sis. Sis was not a good cook and not a good housekeeper and she had one, maybe two, small children at the time. One day she and my mom were looking through a brochure of summer classes and they came across a class titled "Cooking for Kids." Thinking this was a great idea for Sis so that she could cook for her children they signed her up. Now this was over 20 years ago, so I can't remember all the details 100% but this is pretty close. I can't remember if she went to the class or how exactly the truth came about. However, it turns out this cooking class was a cooking class FOR kids. As in, it was full of a bunch of 8-12 year old kids and my 20-something sister-in-law.

Humiliating? Yes.

Hilarious? For sure.

Helpful? Not at all.

I'm sure that when the teacher titled her class she didn't ever think there would be any confusion about the use of a simple word like "for." Sometimes I know that I get caught up in what I want to say and I don't really think of how somebody outside my head might read my words. Just in case you are wondering, everything I say makes sense inside my head (also, I have an amazing singing voice in my head). I think we have all read something at some point in time and we thought to ourselves, "what the heck are they talking about?"

So, what are some steps you take to make sure you don't have 20-year-old women showing up to your cooking class aimed at 8 to 12-year-old children (metaphorically speaking, of course)?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I've Made My Decision

I'm pretty certain that I will be going to the LDStorymakers Midwest Conference. Woo-hoo!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Make it stop!

I can't turn my editing brain off. Ever. I try really hard to turn it off when I am writing and I am mostly successful. However, when I try to sleep I can't and I start thinking about where to move parts of my story and changing the eye color of a character (yes, that one bugged me for days before I did it). Or when I am "cleaning" my house I am thinking about mistakes I know are in my WIP. So then when I sit down to write the next time I have to make those changes first. I don't know what to do. I want to write more and edit less for the time being. How do you all do it? Any tips or tricks?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

LDStorymakers Midwest Conference

Is anybody here planning on going? The schedule can be found here. I haven't decided yet. I want to go but I don't know if I can leave my kids. However, it could be double duty for me since I will be moving to that area just a couple months after that and I could take some time to research the area. Also, there are some super low airfare options lately. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, June 4, 2012


Clipart Credit: clipartguide.com

Today will be my first real test of confidence as a writer. So far I have been a writer only in that I have said I am a writer (and I have been secretly typing at my computer, pecking away at my WIP). However, this morning I am going to a writer's group, one that I have been to as an observer before, and today I am taking my first pages of my WIP! I am so nervous. The butterflies in my stomach have started a super summer party. This will be the first time since high school that anybody has seen my writing. I figure if I want to be published eventually I will have to show my work to somebody, right? Or is there a way to avoid this step of showing my work?