Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Did you survive Christmas?

Hello writer friends! I survived Christmas and if you're reading this, you did, too! Hooray!

I love Christmas, but it does seem to get more stressful every year. I hosted two Christmas meals for different sides of the family this year, and I found myself running around on Christmas Eve trying to find some silken tofu to make a chocolate tofu pie for my cousin who can't eat dairy... I didn't realize how early the stores were closing (has Walmart always closed at 7:45 on Christmas Eve?). My tofu search was unsuccessful, but luckily everything else turned out well.

This is what my husband got for the kids:

He's an Irish Setter. Since my husband and I both have a lot of Irish blood, we named him Murphy, a fine upstanding Irish name. We also both love the Dropkick Murphys, so his name is a double ode to Ireland.

Also, I received the Christmas Blog Award from Michael Di Gesu for my Be Jolly By Golly blog post. Thanks, Michael! Since I love Christmas, in the spirit of the season I am passing this along to all my followers who participated in the Be Jolly By Golly blogfest! Heck, even if you didn’t, but posted something awesome about Christmas and think it rocks, then I award it to you. I really loved reading everyone’s awesome holiday posts.

Also, thank you so much to everyone who commented on my Heifer post! On Thursday when I get paid, I will be making a donation of $1 for each comment I received on the post, and combined with my usual annual gift, I am going to purchase a Promise Gift Basket. This gift basket provides chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits to people in developing countries, and Heifer teaches them to use the animals to build a sustainable business. I was so excited to discover that Nate Bransford and other writers are involved with this organization that I am so passionate about! It was a great idea to do a comment charity fundraiser, and I think I will definitely make it an annual tradition!

On to writery topics, today I reviewed the Writer's Digest Top 10 writing articles of 2010. Two things from two different articles really popped out at me, so I thought I'd share. The first tip was from an article by Steven Goldsberry, an author. He said not to save the best for last - always start with your best. This seems really simple - a lot of you may be going, "well, duh." But this is actually one of the mistakes I addressed in my most recent rewrite. My best parts didn't occur until later in the book. Steven said the better you do at the beginning, the better you continue to do. So, it's not like you should write your best and then the rest can suck. But basically, start with amazing and the fire will continue to grow.

The other piece of advice was actually extremely relevant to me, right now, today. Because today I have been polishing up my novel, trying to add back in some word count after I axed twenty pages off my ending. Robert Lee Brewer, the editor of the Writer's Digest newsletters, said that writers often worry about the wrong details, like word count. He said that while some parameters apply, trying to pad to get to a certain number is often unnecessary. If a manuscript is perfect, don't pad just to get a higher number. Not that mine is perfect :~) but I realized I was trying to reach an arbitrary number when the story is complete as it is.

What great writing advice did you receive in 2010? Any exciting epiphanies or breakthroughs to share? I'd love to hear them. For my next post on New Year's Eve, I'll share my Top 10 writing experiences of 2010. TTFN!


  1. AAWE MURPHY-PUPPY-HUMAN-HIGH-FIVE! Also. LOVE Dropkick Murphys. Flogging Molly is still a fav too. Off topic! Glad you had a great Christmas and surivived!!

    I learned that this year too, about the word count thingy. Current one, I thought was too short, but then was told that if the story is told at whatever wc then you can't stretch it out just to get the number. Ruins the story.

  2. Murphy is adorable! Enjoy! Puppies bring so much joy to the household!

  3. What a great-looking dog! You're going to have so much fun together!

  4. The best writing advice I got this year was: produce copy; produce copy; produce copy. As I said to someone, the best way to write well is to read a lot and to write even more. I need to take my own advice even more than I already do. Don't we all?


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