Sabbatical Adventures begin . . .

Sabbatical Adventures begin . . .

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

3 Things Reading Novels Can Teach About Writing

I am always looking for something to help me with my writing, aren't you?

I am at an in-between time, finished my first novel, and waiting for my editors to finish their first read before re-writes begin.  What do I do?  I read!  I read novels.  I read novels by authors that I love, and novels by authors I am not familiar with. I am learning all the time from what I am reading!

 3 things that you can learn from other authors 

1)  Learn style!
Study the style of your favorite authors.  What draws you to them!  I would venture to say that it is not just the type of book, i.e. mystery, romance, Amish stories, historical.  I think that you will find it is usually the way that the author puts their sentences together.  I know, it seems almost too simple, but as Strunk and White say in their classic book about writing, The Elements of Style:

A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. " 

Favorite authors--Check the sentence structure, what do you like about it? What do you do differently?
New authors--what errors do you see?  Is there a refreshing new style?  Is that why they won an award?

2)  Use of descriptive wording
Not just the descriptive words that explain a setting, but use of descriptive verbs. I marvel at choices of adjectives and adverbs used in various books.
" . . .instead of . . . harboring hope in their hearts."  J. Kirkpatrick, A Mending at the Edge, using "harboring" instead of "having". 

" . . . giving Arnie a pitiful little wave as he opened the door . . ."  F. Peretti, in Illusion, describing an attitude of the heart through a descriptive gesture. 

Which words does the author use that you never thought of using? Is that what you like about his/her writing?

3)  Repetitive story?
Some books are produced for commercial value only.  The same plot format is used in a series of books, with "the names have been changed to protect the innocent" as it was always said in the old Dragnet television series.  I recently I read a series of books by the same author that not only used a similar plot for each one, but also repeated the thoughts of the characters over and over.  (That series will remain unnamed.)

As writers and bloggers, we can learn valuable lessons from reading.  May I say that reading is a part of our craft!  We must read to learn, not only to read but to notice what it is that we like and make those habits our own! 

What have you learned lately, from a novel?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Thought

Today's homily made me stop and think . . . maybe it will be helpful to you too.

The speaker, F. Healey, said that our influence is like a small piece of foil--the small piece of foil being the essence of yourself.  He said that where ever we go, we leave an impression.  He said that whatever impression is on our "foil" is left with the people we meet.  "Whatever we are impressed with affects the impression that we leave on others."

I hope the impression that I leave on others conveys that I care about them.  I hope that it leaves people uplifted and encouraged.  

Linda W.--look what I am impressed with today! :)

What are you impressed with?  What influences you?  
Culture? Music? People? Love? God?
What are you passing along to those around you?  
Are you multiplying anger, depression, or frustration?
Deserves a little thinking time, don't ya think?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Reconnect with Nature!

Our forests--and roadsides, actually--are filled with blackberry bushes.  Many people here regard them as weeds, but I love them!  We go berry picking in late July or August and fill our baskets! This is what they look like now (First week in May photo).  I rinse them, then freeze them on a cookie sheet--one single layer.  When they are frozen solid, I dump them into plastic freezer bags to store in the freezer until use!  Can't wait!

Linking today with:
Reconnect with Nature

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mama loves WORDS!

Recently my daughter and I went to an adjacent state to visit my mother who lives with her cat, Phantom.  My daughter and I cleaned grandmother's house and enjoyed spending time with her.  We laughed until we cried, telling stories of times past and relishing the company of visiting long-lost relatives. In the down times, grandma participated in her beloved past time: WORDS!

G'Ma, the daily crossword puzzle with Phantom

G'ma playing her FlipWords game

And we played Scrabble!  Guess who seems to always win?!  Oh, and here's her favorite picture of her cat:

Happy Mother's Day, MOM!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

unplugged . . . again :)

As my header description says, I have 'unplugged' from 

several things over the last year or so . . . . 

and I did it again last week!  Getting away from the computer, 

all the tech devices and out of our apartment is 

good for the soul, provides rest, needed solitude

and creates inspiration.  

The rest, for me, helps with authenticity.  

Our lives are so 'data full', we do not have time to

sort out our thoughts finding who we are  . . .


Being authentic is a process of being who we are 

and who we were made to be, not 

who someone else thinks that we are.  

If we don't have quiet times to contemplate, 

we may not be able to sort out 

encroaching thoughts from 

the bona fide 'you' thoughts. 

I encourage everyone 

to get outside, seek solitude 

at least occasionally! 


"Real silence, real stillness . . . comes only as the sober consequence of spiritual stillness."  Bonhoeffer from Life Together

Linking today with:
Reconnect with Nature