Monday, November 21, 2011


Gratitude is something I include in my life every single day. Even when bad stuff happens, I tend to find the positive morsel hidden in the mess. Without a doubt, this attitude enriches my journey, but it can be perceived as annoying by people who either don't agree, don't understand, or aren't able to feel this way though they might wish they could. So it's no wonder that I love Thanksgiving, when for a day, everyone joins me in this feeling and expression of gratitude. I'm especially thankful for that!

Teaching Authors has declared this time as The Ten Days of Thanks-Giving, and Esther Hershenhorn has invented  the poetry form THANKU, a thank you note written in the form of a haiku. So here are my thankus...

For my critique group:
Thanks writing sisters,
You keep me sane and happy,
No crap gets past you.

For my husband:
Funny, sexy, smart,
You encourage and support,
Hold my dream afloat.

For my kids:
Life is never dull,
Three teenagers in the house,
My heart bursts with love.

I could go on and on, writing thankus for my friends and family and dog and readers and editors and agent... but instead I'll stop here and get back to work on my real writing. Perhaps soon I will be grateful for a new book contract.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Whole Novel Workshop

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Highlights Whole Novel Workshop, do it! It was a truly magical week. My only regret is that I didn't get to spend more time in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

I stayed in this cute little cabin.

And I looked out at these lovely trees.

And when I took a walk, I followed this serene path.

And when I wasn't sleeping or walking or writing in my cabin, I was in here.

This is where I met with Stephen Roxburgh, Carolyn Coman, and eight other writers to talk about the craft of writing. This is where we ate beautiful, bountiful meals. Everything was fresh and delicious, and every meal was unique. I loved not having to think about what to eat, not having to grocery shop or prepare anything or clean any dishes. What a treat!

At five o'clock each day, we drank wine and ate hors d'oeuvres while chatting about how to turn good writing into great writing, what our core stories are, who our main characters are, and how we can take steps to get our manuscripts closer to our visions.

This is where Stephen told me the character I accidentally killed in my manuscript absolutely needed to die. (It's a special skill, but it is possible to kill a character and not realize you've done so until after you've already sent your manuscript in, and by then you're embarrassed and you wish you could reach into cyberspace and get the manuscript back to make the character live.) What a surprise to find out that subconsciously I was doing the right thing all along! This is where Stephen taught me about cutting redundant questions, and it's where Carolyn shed light on writing in first person, and it's where I came to understand that even though my novel has a lot of action in it, I'm really writing a plot of character. I have to say, that's a relief!

This is where I made new writer friends, and I saw amazing revisions take shape, and I felt so inspired that I swear, if I had another week, I could have finished my revision and turned my manuscript in to my agent in no time. But alas, one week in Honesdale was all I had.

Now I'm home, busy with my real life. It's a beautiful life, and I truly feel blessed for all that's in it. But I do miss that magical time out of time in Honesdale.