I fancy myself a writer.


Get to know your characters a little better

Yesterday we had some fun with our trashy romance novel characters. Today we will get to know them on a somewhat deeper level (okay, maybe not too deep. Just one level deeper than yesterday.)

So, you have figured out what your two main characters don’t like about each other on first impression. Now let’s think about how you can develop these two opposing characters into people who might believably come to like one another later in the novel. Maybe the slick lawyer secretly loves dogs and has a pregnant pooch back home in NYC that she’s worried sick about. Perhaps the grumpy cowboy is secretly writing a business plan that will turn his failing family ranch into an organic vegetable farm that will supply several high-brow restaurants in the nearest big city. Read the rest of this page »

NaNoWriMo pre-writing assignment #2: Get to know your characters

Yesterday, we spent a few minutes thinking up dreamy names for our characters. Today, let’s take a few minutes to get to know them better, shall we? Romance hero/heroines are typically exact opposites. Maybe he’s a rugged cowboy, and she’s the slick lawyer whose company wants to buy out his ranch and develop it into a tacky tourist trap.

Or, she could be the tough country girl, while he is a smooth-talking geologist for an oil company that is drooling over the rich natural resources hidden beneath her family’s centuries-old hog farm. If you’re into paranormal romance, he could be a vampire, while she is a werewolf. Or, like the trashy romance novel I read most recently, she could be the boring county supervisor, while he’s a daring stunt pilot. Read the rest of this page »

NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Novel Challenge

fancy harlequin romance teaspoons

These are my fancy romance novel teaspoons. I got four free novels with each spoon!

Can it be mid-October already? NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am just now getting around to thinking about it. As usual, my original plan for this year was to just skip it. But as November draws near, I find myself once again itching to see if I can knock out a novel in thirty days.

Last year, I did not. While I did manage to conquer the quest for 50,000 words, my NaNoWriMo project was not, in any way, a novel. Last year, I proved to myself that I am capable of writing 50,000 words in one month. This year, I think it’s time to step it up and write 50,000 words of an actual novel. Read the rest of this page »

I know why you’re procrastinating! Now, if I could only figure out how to stop it.

Don't shoot the dog by Karen Pryor

You should check this book out from the library and read it with me. (And no, the fact that I took a picture of a book titled, “Don’t Shoot the Dog” that is propped up on a cat tree is not at all lost on me.)

I am a strong believer in positive reinforcement. I have even talked about it here before in relation to writing. I have often wondered how I could use positive reinforcement to become a more productive writer. So, I just about jumped off the couch a few minutes ago when I stumbled upon a scientific explanation for writer’s procrastination in a book I’m reading titled, Don’t Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training, by Karen Pryor.

The following excerpt describes a “phenomenon that occurs on very long [reinforcement] schedules: slow starts.” According to Pryor, a subject “tends to “put off” starting for longer periods as the schedule of reinforcement gets longer.”

This is sometimes called delayed start of a long-duration behavior, and it’s a very familiar aspect of human life. On any long task, from doing the income taxes to cleaning out the garage, one can think of endless reasons for not starting now. Writing, even sometimes just the writing of a letter, is a long-duration behavior. Once it gets started, things usually roll along fairly well, but, oh! it’s so hard to make oneself sit down and begin.

In other words, the longer it takes to complete a given task and get to the reward at the end, the more likely you are to put off starting the task. And how many projects will you take on in your daily life that will take you longer to complete than writing a novel? Read the rest of this page »

By the way, I’m a huge Blues Traveler fan

I’ve been waiting to see them live since the 1990’s (when I was 3, right?) And I went to this show a couple of weeks ago. That’s it. That is the entire blog post. Well, that and the fact that I never knew the lead singer of Gin Blossoms was that hot. Even after all these years.

Blues Traveler and Gin Blossoms at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe Illinois

Read the rest of this page »

Writer’s Journal | On fighting mice and terrorism

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Noon o’clock

I suppose if I’m going to do this, I should at least attempt to write something worthwhile rather than just rambling on about whatever random nonsense crosses my mind while I’m sitting here digesting my lunch and waiting for it to be time to go back to the office.

But what to write about? It is so hard to get back into the blogging habit once you have fallen out of it. Maybe I could blog about current events. Something controversial that will attract readers who will argue with each other in the comments section.

Let’s see. Read the rest of this page »

Writer’s Journal | Monday, 10/6/14, 12:07 p.m.

Sitting in the atrium of the performing arts building today. I was hoping to find an indoor table in a sunny spot, but they’re all taken. I’m writing on my lap. Maybe I’ll try the bistro in the College of Business tomorrow, but my hopes are low. My supervisor brought me a cookie from there the other day, and it was not good.

My novel projects are going nowhere. Read the rest of this page »

Writer’s Journal | Evesdroppings, with commentary from a rambling writer

Graffitti in Pittsburgh

If you’re going to break the law, be sure to post a video of it on YouTube. Or get a friend to let you write about it on her blog. | Graffitti in Pittsburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014; 12:07 p.m.

NOTE: This post may or may not have been written by a guest blogger.

Stuff and Nonsense

Wow, so today I get to sit in the gazebo on the quad because for once no one else is sitting in it. I no sooner sit down than a young couple walks up, enters, and proceeds to read the graffitti aloud to each other. No, don’t be quiet or anything when someone else is obviously sitting here enjoying the peace and silence.

This guy claims he wrote half the graffitti on the inside of the gazebo. Can they be more annoying? Oh, now they are looking for something to write with so they can add to the graffitti. Oh, she thinks she might have a lipstick. Maybe not. It must be in the car. I’m surprised they didn’t ask to borrow my pen.  Read the rest of this page »

Who ever heard of a takin?


Mishmi-Takin, 100 Jahre Tiergarten, Nürnberg, ...

Mishmi-Takin (Photo by Peter Bischoff/Getty Images)

When you’ve been to as many zoos as I have been to, it’s rare to find an animal you’ve never heard of. It’s rarer still to find one so odd that you just can’t stop staring at the thing, even as your kid is tugging at your hand begging you to move on to the next exhibit. But this happened to me a few weeks ago at the Peoria Zoo in Peoria, Illinois. In fact, it was such a surreal experience, I can’t stop thinking of it today. Read the rest of this page »

Blog post challenge: List 10 books you read growing up that have stuck with you

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Photo credit: Wikipedia) was one of my favorite books when I was a pre-teen.

Lately I’ve been seeing this new social media challenge going around on Facebook and various other outlets and decided to get in on the fun: List 10 books you read growing up that have stuck with you. Here’s my list for today (although, if you ask me the same question tomorrow, I will probably have thought of ten other books that I should have used insteadJ)

  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain is my celebrity crush.)
  2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth George Speare)
  3. The entire Little House on the Prairie series (Laura Ingalls Wilder,) but especially the final book where the tone of the series changes so dramatically.
  4. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
  5. Julie of the Wolves (Jean Craighead George)
  6. Ghost in the Garden (Carol H. Behrman)

Read the rest of this page »


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