I fancy myself a writer.

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Setting goals and reaching them late… one way or another

I always plan to write over winter break, but somehow it never happens. I work at a University that closes for almost two whole weeks the end of December. Perfect time to get some writing done, right? Apparently not!

So then January came along, and I buckled in and started writing regularly. I have been scheduling it into my day, but not giving myself too much grief if I occasionally get off track. And I must say, it has been going pretty well for me. I am writing at least three days a week (while working a full-time job and single-momming two rowdy boys in the process) and hacking out the first draft of book two of my Valley of the Bees series a few pages (and sometimes a few sentences) at a time.

My goal was 20,000 words by the end of January. Of course, that didn’t happen, but I did get close. And today – three days into February – I ALMOST made it finally. Of course, I typed the final word of the chapter I was working on, looked down at my word count, and saw this:

19,999 words toward my 20,000 word goal. Seriously?

19,999 words toward my 20,000 word goal. Seriously?

Of course! I was one word shy of my goal! Seriously? Read the rest of this page »

Learning a bit more and getting a bit better each day

Basic writing

Basic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I blogged about how I have used outlines to help me write the first two books in my upcoming Valley of the Bees trilogy. Today, I would like to talk a bit about what I am doing different while writing book II.

As I mentioned yesterday, I wrote book I, With Envy Stung, in a rush. I pushed myself to write a chapter each and every day over a 16-day period. This left me with some extremely light chapters. There was no set-up or transitions for any of these chapters. Instead, I just jumped right into the action and/or dialog and got right to it. Read the rest of this page »

The beauty of writing with an outline

bees in spring illustration

I’m thinking of using this illustration for one of my book covers, but if I do, I need to find additional illustrations for the other book covers that will fit with the theme. What do you think?

Once upon a time… I was a pantser. I wrote by the seat of my pants, outlines be damned.

Once upon a time, most of my stories went nowhere. Or they went everywhere, with no end in sight. But I was adamant that I didn’t need an outline. An outline could only make my novels predictable. I needed to allow the story to unfold on its own without forcing it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t come across as natural. Right?

Well, maybe that’s how it works for some people.

When I got to graduate school, I had to create outlines for all of my novel writing courses. I hated it.

And then one day, I decided to really push myself and write an entire story in two weeks. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I didn’t care if I wrote the “Great American Novel.” I just needed a win.

The best way to make this happen – I thought – would be to make an outline. I used Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” cycle as a guide and got to work on my 14-chapter outline (It ended up needing 16 chapters by the time it was done.) Then I sat down once a day for two straight weeks (plus 2 days) and wrote one chapter each day until the first draft was done. Read the rest of this page »

Take your time, George R. R.

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a...

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenščina: George R.R. Martin med podpisovanjem knjig v ljubljanski knjigarni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This just in: George R. R. Martin has missed his last television deadline for finishing the final book in the Game of Thrones series. (Read about it here.)

GASP!

Raise your hand if you are angry with Martin for failing to meet a television deadline.

Looks around.

No one?

Notices a lone hand in the back.

You’re not a writer, are you? No? Put your hand down.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Game of Thrones television series. In fact, I made the mistake of watching the T.V. show before reading the books, and now I can’t get into the books (I’m weird like that.) So yeah, I haven’t read more than a couple of chapters of Martin’s series. But I still can’t get upset with him for failing to meet his television deadlines. Read the rest of this page »

8 best books of 2015

It’s that time of year again! Time to make our “top however many of whatever of the year” lists and post them on our blogs. As a writer, I am of course obligated to post my top books of 2015. I read a lot of books this year, but only eight of them really stood out for me.

top 8 books of 2015 Read the rest of this page »

Wednesday Writing Prompt: Everything has a price

writing prompt meme

Everything good comes with a price tag. The price of his second chance was his eyesight.

Read the rest of this page »

Now available on Kindle: Her Name was Amber

book cover

My new short story, Her Name was Amber, is now available on Kindle for only 99 cents.

I am giving myself a sweet birthday present today and announcing that my new short story, Her Name was Amber, is now available on Kindle for only 99 cents!

It feels great to get back on the fiction-writing horse. I wrote this 4,000 word story in one day! (Don’t worry, I edited it before I published it! Although, if you do find any errors, please let me know so I can fix them!)

Description

Amber is finally forced to deal with her dysfunctional marriage while mourning the death of her teenage daughter. Meanwhile, an even bigger disaster looms near as the outside world struggles with its own uncertain fate. In this prequel to her upcoming novel, Valley of the Bees, author Amanda L. Webster introduces you to the matriarch of what is destined to become a powerful – yet still dysfunctional – family in a not-so-distant dystopian future.

Buy your copy of Her Name was Amber on Kindle today! Read the rest of this page »

Wednesday Writing Prompt: If money were no object

For this week’s Wednesday writing prompt, I came up with one of my own. Here’s your writing prompt for the week:

If money were no object…

And my shot at it:

If money were no object, I would buy a big old Victorian house with a wraparound porch and a wooden deck off the back overlooking the woods. Maybe there would be a lazy stream ambling through the woods, with all manner of wildlife to watch from the deck.

I would only need a bedroom, a sitting room, and a bathroom for myself (for some reason, I am imagining this happening after my kids have grown up and moved on) and my cat. We would live at the top of the house, and I would turn the downstairs into a sleepy little bookshop/café. Money would be no object, so I would be happy for it to not be a busy business. In fact, if it were too busy, that would defeat the purpose of my master plan.

In the morning, I would get up and cook whatever baked concoction I was in the mood for at that day. (As I write this, I have a blackberry lemon loaf in the oven. I hate to cook but love to bake!) I wouldn’t need to make much since my shop isn’t that busy. Who wants to spend that much time in the kitchen anyway?

Blackberry Lemon Loaf

I can’t make just one loaf when I own two loaf pans. Where’s the sense in that?

I’d get the espresso bar cranked up and ready to go for my morning rush and then chat with my neighbors as they stop in to get their morning cups on their way to work. On the weekends, my good friends and neighbors would get their cups and stay, lounging around in the giant stuffed couches and arm chairs that are scattered about the place. Read the rest of this page »

Places to Write | Eli’s Coffee Shop; Tremont, Illinois

It’s been a while since I posted in my Places to Write series. I guess I just haven’t had much time for writing in new and interesting places since I got a “real job.” I finally have a new place to add.

I’ve been helping my sister put together a website for her small business. She has also started a new beauty blog as part of her website. Samantha had no previous website or blogging experience, so there has been a bit of a learning curve for her. We’ve been talking about the project for months without getting much work done, so we finally got the idea to get together at a coffee shop once a week (kids not invited!!) to work.

a corn country rendition of van Gogh’s Starry Night.

A corn country rendition of van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Read the rest of this page »

Wednesday Writing Prompt: Never Lost

300 Writing Prompts

This is my new book of writing prompts.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had recently purchased a book titled, 300 Writing Prompts and that I would be sharing some of my own attempts at the prompts in this book. Here’s my first little ditty. It’s not very long because I kept it within the allotted space in the book. You can write longer if you like. Please feel free to share your own responses to the prompt in the comments below.

Writing Prompt

When was the last time you got lost? Read the rest of this page »

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