Saturday, September 29, 2012

Confessions of a Head-Hopper

         Until several months ago I didn’t even have a clue what a POV (point of view) was in the craft of writing. And I’d never heard the term “head-hopping” until recently. Okay, all the authors are probably shaking their heads and muttering tsk-tsk. But I’ve never had a writing lesson in my life, and I’ve lived a good number of years. Everything I know about the craft of writing, I’ve learned from various writers’ groups I belong to.
         I discovered this very week that I am guilty of head-hopping. In fact, my entire manuscript that I sent off for publication is full of head-hopping. Oh dear me, I moan as I wring my hands in anguish. Whatever shall I do? I have nightmares of walking into a room of writers and authors and enduring the pain of pointing and whisperings, “She’s a head-hopper.”
         Now I’m wondering if I’ve ever read a book where the author head-hopped. Would I have noticed? I’m sure I wouldn’t have, especially if it was a good story.  I think I’d notice now since I’ve been enlightened about head-hopping, but I’m not sure I would care as long as it didn’t affect the flow of the story.
         The only sigh of relief I’ve had was yesterday when I read on the ACFW site that a member was reading a Stephen King book and he head-hopped all the way through it. Seriously? Stephen King? Perhaps he didn’t get the memo stating that head-hopping is a no-no in the literary world.
         Since my enlightenment, I’ve been reading through a WIP and the head-hopping is now glaringly obvious to me. How can I be sharing about Leah’s thoughts and words in one paragraph and in the very next paragraph Tony wonders why he’s never noticed how beautiful and intelligent is his wife, Leah. How dare Tony be thinking anything at all when it’s clearly not his turn to think?  Humph!
         Who makes up these rules anyway? POV, head-hopping, show not tell, too much back story…the list goes on and on.  That puff of air you feel is me heaving a huge sigh.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yacolt, Washington

       Yacolt, Washington! Have you ever heard of it?  I hadn’t.  I’m somewhat familiar with Washington from visits as a child (we have relatives there) and visits there in the last ten years while my daughter and her family lived in the Seattle area. Why am I mentioning Yacolt? Glad you asked.
       In crafting my current novel, Like a Cedar in Lebanon, I needed a small town in the state of Washington of 1500 population or less, and the town needed to be within the proximity of fifty miles of a large city. Ah, the blessed internet! I did a search for that very information and got a list of several small towns, Yacolt being the last on the list. The main character, Lebby, would hail from this tiny community. So I wrote it into my novel after some research to verify it met the criteria I needed.
       However, some things I couldn’t glean from research on the internet such as, could Lebby walk from home to school to the local hangout to the church? From writers’ groups that I belong to I remembered a few authors mentioning how residents were quick to point out wrong information about their hometown that were in novels. Yikes! I decided to make a fictitious name of my small community.
       I have sold on eBay since 2004. It gives me extra income, something I can do from the comfort of my home. Within the week that I changed Yacolt in my novel, I sold a small vintage toy on eBay. Guess where the buyer lives? Now what are the chances it would be a resident of Yacolt? Mere coincidence or a God-thing?
       When I mentioned to the buyer that I had considered using Yacolt in my novel, she was thrilled. She supplied me with all the information that I needed while encouraging me to keep Yacolt in my novel.  So my main characters, Jack and Lebby, meet for the first time in Yacolt, Washington.
       When we pray over our writing career, I believe God orchestrates even small details such as this.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Meet Jack and Lebby

       Meet Jack and Lebby (short for Lebanon).  Once upon a time in the small town of Yacolt, WA Jack and Lebby met. She was a sweet, beautiful sixteen year old full of enthusiasm for people and life, and he was the handsome, charming youth pastor eight years older than her.
       She got her first romantic crush and he became obsessed. It was a tragedy waiting to happen, and happen it did. Lebby lost her innocence, her youth, her hometown, her friends, her family and the boy, Ethan, that she should have married.  Instead she got pregnant and felt she had no other options than to marry Jack. By this time their relationship had progressed to the point of Lebby being abused and controlled by Jack.
      Are you already disliking Jack? He stole this young girl’s hopes, dreams and innocence. She had led a sheltered but peaceful life. She could be your daughter, granddaughter, sister or next-door neighbor.  She is the All-American girl.  But who names their daughter Lebanon anyway?
     Maybe Jack has a reason for his behavior, but no matter what circumstances made him do the awful things he did to Lebby, does that excuse him? Of course not! But can we find understanding and forgiveness in our hearts for the likes of Jack? Can Lebby?

You can find out when my book Like a Cedar in Lebanon is released. Be looking for it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Self Publishing

Self-publishing! Sheesh!!! I have NOT had a novel published yet, and call me a coward, but the whole thing of finding a traditional publisher to take me on as an unknown, unpublished writer seems overwhelming to me. All the writers’ clubs I belong to has authors/writers that lament about the number of rejections they receive before finding a publisher willing to take a chance on their manuscript. I’m too old and too full of doubts to go that route.

But getting my manuscript ready for self-publishing has been a nightmare! Okay, maybe not that bad, but it seems like I’ll never have it ready. The publishing company and a professional editor/proof reader gave my novel complimentary evaluations, which encouraged me, but I don’t want to send m y novel to be published when it has errors…any errors at all.

**sigh** So I’m hoping to have it finished for the final time. Be looking for it and please, please buy it. “Like a Cedar in Lebanon”  by Leola Ogle.