Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Revealing Secrets of Your Characters

One of my favorite things about writing is creating characters. Creating characters is like writing a story. You have blank pages that can be filled with whatever your heart desires. To me, that is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Creating characters gives me the ability to make them as sweet or mean as I want. I can reveal things about their personalities, deep secrets, quirks and any number of things that most people wouldn’t know about them.

Several months ago on Facebook, there was a thing going around where someone else assigned you a number and you had to reveal that number of things about yourself – things others may not know about you.

So, today, I’ll list a few of those things that others may not know about me.

1.      I was born on a small farm in Phoenix, AZ around 51st Ave. and Indian School Rd. It was rural Phoenix then. Definitely not rural now, nor has it been for many, many years.
2.     I came from a long line of Pentecostal believers, but was 14 before I surrendered my life to the Lord. I’ve never regretted that decision. Most Pentecostal expressions of worship in early days was, and did appear, bizarre to the observer, the heart was usually in the right place. Sometimes I miss those days of exuberant, passionate expressions.
3.     Although I was always an A student in school, all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother. Oh, and maybe write books. I always loved to write.
4.     Because of #3, I married when I was barely 16 to a young man someone invited to church. I had a baby 9 months 3 days later, the first of five. It was not a good marriage and ended in divorce twenty-two years later. Divorce is never God’s plan but cannot be helped sometimes.
5    I was forty-two before I got my GED. 

We all have interesting things about our lives that most people don't know about us. In developing characters for a novel or short story, perhaps we give them characteristics or events in their lives that we wished we had in ours. That's the beauty of writing. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why Do I Write?

 I cringe whenever a writer asks about my book Like a Cedar in Lebanon. I especially cringe whenever a writer asks to read, or does read, my book. I know I’ve said this before, and I feel like I’m repeatedly beating a dead horse, but, excellent writing techniques are lacking in my book. The most blatant is head-hopping or going back and forth with characters’ POV (point of view).

I ask myself again, WHY DO I WRITE? What purpose do I want to accomplish?

In my prayer time, those times when I truly press into the presence of God, my heart cry is, “God, I want to show people You! Show them that Your love never fails, that You restore, repair and give hope and life to a broken humanity.”

That message is clearly evident in Like a Cedar in Lebanon.  So why fuss, then, about the fact I head-hop in my book? Of course, we should care about doing our best for the Lord. But the fact that I do head-hop, does not dilute the message of my book.

Someday, I'll rewrite my book. I have promised myself this. Why? Because I love this book. I love my characters. 

God, I commit all that I write to You. May I bring You glory. This came to me yesterday, via facebook from my daughter, Denise:

A Pharmacist at work read your book....wrote a review recommending it to all 16 yr old & up girls. Best book she's read, she started to cry saying that she has a family member (he) that needs to read it, restoration & forgiveness IS possible — with Leola McCurdy Ogle.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fiction or Non-fiction?

For three years in a row I’ve entered FaithWriters’ Page Turner Contest. I actually won two years ago. They alternately have a fiction year and non-fiction year. This year, 2014, is a non-fiction year. Ugh! As a writer, I much prefer fiction.

I told myself I wouldn’t enter this year, because….well, I don’t write devotionals or teaching/self help books, and frankly, my life isn’t of best-selling interest – at least not to anyone else. As such, I decided to not enter this year.

Before I go any further, let me say the entry I did win with in the Page Turner Contest two years ago was my non-fiction entry How Can a Harmless House Cat Be a Cougar?  Uh, yeah, this grandmother is married to a guy sixteen years younger than me. Been married nineteen years now.

While mulling over any possibility I might possess to enter this year’s non-fiction contest, I thought Teen Challenge. Voila. My nineteen years of working at Greater Phoenix Teen Challenge was exciting and interesting, for sure.

So, all my friends and co-workers from Teen Challenge, beware! You will probably appear at some point in this entry I’m going to write. Well, I’ve started writing it already – maybe have one whole page written.

Everything that happens in our lives is a potential for a story. We may have to tweak things a little, or perhaps even a lot, but we can turn just about anything into a story. My life may not be interesting, but life in general certainly is.