Characters, Fiction, Life, Poetry, Writing

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Life is all about choices. If there is a common theme in my writing, it would be that. In fact, my curiosity about why people do the things they do, is why I write.

Left or right?

Certainly, the three main characters in my novel The Brevity of Roses must each face a major choice presented to them. Ironically, one of my characters, whose field of study was cultural anthropology, least understands herself and becomes emotionally imprisoned by letting others make choices for her.

A few days ago, I looked through an old file folder and found this poem I wrote in 2005. It’s theme? Choice.


I have stood on the brink,
but did not leap.
Could not.
I have stepped back
and fled to live
in fear.
To exist.


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Doubt, Dream, Tuesday Topic, Writing

Are you in the wrong house?

I had started writing a post on a completely different topic for today, but last night I had a dream. Yesterday, I confessed to someone that my faith in my writing ability has waned. In my dream, a person in my life who is hypercritical of me said something that hurt my feelings. I hid my reaction and walked casually out of the room. But then, I continued on out the back door.

houses With a heavy heart and fighting back tears, I walked down the street toward my house. I entered the house next door to mine instead. I remember thinking that it was fine to do this, I could live there and no one would mind. Maybe no one would even notice. When I entered the empty house, I knew instantly I wouldn’t be happy there, but felt trapped by my decision.

Then, the person in my life who has a most generous heart and always makes me feel better about myself came to the door, smiling at me through the glass. Even though I had triple-locked the door, she easily opened it, and I knew that I was free to leave.

Once again, my subconscious had spoken to a captive audience. It told me to quit listening to that inner critic that locks me into a substitute self. A self that believes she can’t write. A self that would be unhappy if she didn’t write. So today, I’m going to smile lovingly at myself and move back into my own house. There are words to be written.

Do you ever take up residence in the wrong house?

Fiction, Inspiration, Motivation, Writing

Keep paddling

This time last year, my blog was an infant. My posts  were infrequent and much shorter. I had only four regular visitors … all fellow writers from my critique group. So, I didn’t know about the November Nano slump, followed by the December holiday hiatus.

headwater I keep fighting the suspicion that everyone has gone to a party I wasn’t invited to. Frankly, as a blogger, I think the year’s end sucks.

Of course, as a member of the human race, I know you’re all just busy with life and family. And I know that if I wasn’t obsessed with stats, I might not have noticed my blog visitor count plummeting. After all, I’ve been busy too.

But the truth is, I’m a little scared. I hadn’t realized how much blogging inspires me to write fiction. With fewer blog visitors and fewer blog comments, it’s been too easy to step away from writing these last two months. I don’t feel so compelled to talk about writing, so I don’t feel so compelled to write.

To those of you who visit and comment regularly, I say a big THANK YOU! You have kept my head above water. And I’ll focus on that to keep me writing.


Fiction, Novel, Writing

It’s always great at the beginning!

I’ve started a new novel. Ta da! Beginnings are always fun … and exciting. You just know it’s going to be the best thing you’ve ever written. In fact, it’s going to be brilliant. You’ll have a perfect blend of plot and sub-plot; your characters will be so real you wouldn’t be surprised to meet them on the street; the beginning will captivate, the middle will amaze, and the ending will linger in the reader’s heart and mind. Your book will do nothing less than astound the publishing industry!

But seriously, folks …

snoopy-typingThe idea for this book is one I’ve had for years. At the time I made preliminary notes, I imagined it as a short story, but now it seems better suited to a novel. We’ll see. If I get to 10,000 words and the story runs out, then hey, I’ve written a short story.

It’s not the book I thought I would write next. I had planned to rewrite my first novel sans the horror/paranormal element. But maybe the horror genre is about to blaze hot again and I’ll have a novel (with some editing) already good to go.

In any case, I’m writing. And this time, I’m trying not to edit too much while I write … I said trying. I know I have topics to research, and I may not be starting at the right point, and to be honest, I don’t even know what viewpoint I’m writing in—is it simple third or omniscient? I’ll figure it out soon, but for now I’m having fun.

Oh, and somebody smack me, if I start worrying about how I’ll categorize this novel!

Fiction, Read, Writing

Snail reading and writing

bookstackThere’s been some talk on agent blogs lately about how much time writers should devote to reading. By coincidence (?) in my rereading of Stephen King’s On Writing, I had just arrived at the section where he talks about reading. He says: “I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, mostly fiction.”

I choked when I read that. Slow reader? What would he consider a fast reader? Someone who reads seventy or eighty books a month, maybe. Now, if any of you actually do read that many books a month—I’m in awe! Just please don’t tell me you also write two thousand words a day, like Mr. King does.

I do read. And I read on days that I’m writing. But I confess, by comparison to Mr. King, I really am a slow reader. So far this year I’ve read twenty-one books, fiction and non-fiction, plus a few dozen short stories. Of course, I’ve also read many trade magazines and online articles during this period, but that doesn’t count in book total.

And I have never written two thousand words in a single day. Though, maybe if I didn’t edit as I go, I could write two thousand words—on a good day. Not every day, like Mr. King does.

Is there hope for such a snailish writer like me? How do you measure up?