|Thirteen Things about Making the Most of Your Time1. Get a maid and hire a tutor for your previously homeschooled kids. (This isn’t in the financial picture for me, soooo…read on!)
2. Start each day with God! Your day will be amazing!
3. Skip cereal and feed your kids fresh fruit and toast…no dirty dishes to wash!
4. Keep up with your laundry! Teach the kids to fold and use Spray ‘n Wash (nuff said!)
5. And speaking of the above, limit your kids on clothes. Do they really need their drawers overflowing with 10-20 shirts, etc…it just makes more laundry and a headache when you find yourself buying a new dresser because they broke a drawer that was too full… (preaching at myself here!)
6. Use your crock-pot, or mega-cook by fixing twice the meal you need and freezing the extra!
7. Someone wise once told me to give your children your undivided attention for 15 minutes every hour…
8. This goes back to number 3. Teach your children the life skills they need and in return they’ll feel a much needed part of the family! My kids love the days when I give them a to-do list and they can go through it marking things off.
9. We’ve all heard this one: the night before church or work or school, lay out clothing, iron what needs ironed, etc.
10. Go to bed late, get up early. Hey, they say that you can get too much sleep you know!
11. If you have a lot to do and a little bit of time in which to do it…drink coffee. Or something caffeinated! (Where did I set that mug down?)
12. Um. (Drumming my fingers from too much caffeine) Don’t drink too much of it or you’ll have a hard time sleeping!
13. Pick easy no brainers for your TT memes (winking right back at you!)
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|The Top Thirteen Basics I’ve Learned about Writing Fiction in the Past 8 Months:
1. ‘She laughed,’ is not a dialogue tag! (ie: “Get real,” she laughed. Instead: “Get real,” she said with a laugh. Or better, “Get real!” She rolled her eyes and laughed.)
2. Avoid most uses of “he said” “she said” and replace with actions.
3. Head-hopping is a big no-no. Established authors can get away with it, but newbies can’t touch it with a 100 foot pole. (Head hopping is when you write the thoughts of more than one character in the same scene…writers refer to it more professionally as “keeping a tight POV”–point of view)
4. SHOW, don’t tell. Ever ho and hum through a chapter that is all narrative? Jump it up and SHOW what’s happening, don’t say:”He went to her house and threatened her at gunpoint.” Show it with actions and dialogue.
5. Don’t have characters drinking coffee or tea, taking a shower, riding in a car, or spending time in the kitchen in the first 50 pages. (Thanks a lot Donald Maass!)
6. Character arc. Make your character’s inner/outer goals matter and change significantly from the beginning to the end.
7. Don’t kill the dog if you write mysteries. Mystery readers won’t finish the book. Some agents won’t ever give you another chance. Human murder–fine and dandy–but don’t touch precious Fido!
8. POV isn’t just whose thoughts are allowed in “the scene you’re in”…If you are in your heroine’s 25 yo POV and “seeing” things from her viewpoint then you might zoom in on her preference for a mocha latte while her pooch (if you wanted to write from a dog’s POV) would reserve drooling for the leather shoes of the man she’s with…
9. Conflict. Start the story with it, and have some in each chapter. I guess it’s a typical mistake of beginning writers to have a syrupy sweet story. Got to up the stakes. Make the reader care.
10. If you are writing Christian fiction, CBA guidelines want you to pick a generic denomination for your character’s faith. No Baptist, Methodist, etc. More along the lines of Community Bible Church. Guess they don’t want to offend anyone.
11. Drop the adverbs…ly’s and such. Thankfully, I had this one in the bag.
12. Nix the purple prose. Supposedly every new author overdoes the description of “dawn’s rosy fingers”… Don’t make your potential editor cringe.
13. Join a great group like American Christian Fiction Writers to be challenged, motivated, educated and last but not least…to cushion the self-inflicted blows when revision time hits with a vengeance!
And if you enjoy things like this, be sure to visit Mir’s Non-Comprehensive Tour of Trouble Spot Tip-Offs. I promise you, you will laugh as you learn!
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