Daily Prompt: Renewal

Oh, no.

I didn’t finish in time.

This doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I have too many at once to finish them all. Then it’s always the same feeling of anxiousness, almost a panic. What happens if I have to give it up? How long will it be before I can finish it then? If I have to wait a long time, I might have to start all over at the beginning!

As I walk in, I vow to myself I will not get more than I can handle next time. One at a time, that’s good enough. I need to pace myself so this doesn’t happen again. Ever.

Now I am being given the best news ever. There are no holds! I can keep it! I get to finish it before I have to bring it back!

Barely able to contain my excitement, I keep my steps slow and steady as I walk away from the counter and breathe a sigh of relief. I look down at my receipt and see what might be the most beautiful word ever.

“Renewal.”

 

via Daily Prompt: Renewal

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Daily Prompt: Treasure

via Daily Prompt: Treasure

“Arg, matey! X marks the spot and there be the X!”

“Where?”

“Right there in front of your eyes. Take your shovel. Let’s dig!”

“What will we find?”

“Treasure, of course. Buried treasure!”

“Like…gold?”

“Could be! We will find out when we get it.”

“But what if it’s boring?”

“It won’t be boring. Treasure isn’t boring!”

“But what if it is?”

“Mate, if you don’t want to dig for the treasure you can leave! ARG!”

“But what if it’s gold?”

“You won’t know until you find it! Dig, man, dig!”

“Why?”

“So we can get to the buried treasure! Stop asking silly questions!”

“But what if it’s yucky?”

“JUST DIG.”

“But what if–”

“If you don’t stop–”

 

“Boys! Time for dinner! Come inside and get washed up!”

Pieces of ACFW magic

Judging from my writer friends’ blog posts, I am not the only one who had an incredibly magical time at the ACFW conference this year. Some got to meet Frank Peretti, ride in a limo, muffins, The Wizard of Oz, The Handle Bar, and more. Check out their blogs to see their stories.

  • Rajdeep Paulus barely made it onto her plane in time, but she did make it! Her time at the conference included an opportunity to meet Tosca Lee, ride in a limo, and eat two pumpkin muffins.
  • Lorraine Beatty tried to steal a chair from agent Chip MacGregor, and met writers of many ages from all over the world.
  • Allison Garcia had a chance to see the sights of Indianapolis, including the “Handle Bar.”

What kind of exciting, magical adventures have you had recently? Hey, even pumpkin muffins can be an adventure! It’s all in how you look at it. Haven’t had an adventure lately? Go make your own.

What I learned at 2013 ACFW Conference

Three amazing days packed full of workshops, meetings, food, people, laughing, crying, books, pens, paper, and everything else a good writers’ conference includes.

This was my third ACFW conference, and it was held in Indianapolis this year. This was possibly my favorite conference (although the getting there and getting home part of it was quite an experience, but that’s another story). Robin Jones Gunn was the keynote speaker and she was beyond incredible. She is genuine and she tells stories in such a way that her listeners (and readers, I suppose) can easily relate and glean valuable information and lessons. Most importantly of all, the lesson to follow God first of all and trust in Him.

There are too many other things that I’ve learned this weekend, about writing and about myself and about life, that I couldn’t begin to list them all here. But here are a few things that stand out.

 

1. You can find names for characters in the most unlikely places.

I’m not kidding. Example? The name of the company that made the toilet paper dispensers in the restrooms. Honestly, I don’t remember what it was but I read it and thought, Dodrick. BOOM. Character name. And usually when I find a name, the character comes with it. I don’t see a name and think, “Oh, that’s a cool name, to whom can I assign it?” No. It’s more like I see the name and the character goes, “Hey! That’s ME!!!”

Same goes for setting. I can glimpse a place, or even a corner of a place, and suddenly have an idea for an entire setting.

 

2. What “Save the Cat” scene means.

Quick rundown as I understand it: There’s a Clint Eastwood movie where he plays a guy named Harry. Harry kills everyone in town, or a lot of people, or something. So you’re watching it and you’re thinking you don’t like him very much. But then he saves a cat and suddenly he’s an okay guy because even though he just killed a bunch of people, HE SAVED A KITTY. You can use this idea in your writing, to make people like the character better. But make it more original. If all your characters are saving cats all the time, it would get really boring.

 

3. I plan and write in a way that is similar to Susan Meissner‘s approach, although our stories are different.

Her workshop last year was a gigantic help to me, and I took her workshop this year, too. It was different, but tied in perfectly with the one she taught last year. She talks about the 3-act structure and how to structure your novel. Love it. So much.

 

4. Jeff Gerke is a really nice guy, and not intimidating like I thought he was going to be.

Self-explanatory? I think so.

 

5. “If God is calling you to write, to choose not to write to is to choose disobedience.”

Lisa Jordan said that, or something very similar, and that was quite convicting. I’d been doing a lot of thinking and praying around that sort of thing lately. Wow. Just what I needed to hear.

 

6. In order to know my characters, I have to know myself. In order to do that, I need to be honest and that honesty needs to come out in my writing.

Honesty isn’t always easy. Sometimes in can be brutally painful to be honest with yourself about yourself. But how can you address your characters’ strengths and weaknesses and fears and joys if you aren’t willing to address your own? How can you be honest about the character on the page if you aren’t being honest about yourself? Tosca Lee held a workshop on making characters sympathetic, and this was what really stuck with me. It makes sense that if you are writing honestly, it’s going to be better writing and more sincere than if you are holding back.

 

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What are some important lessons you have learned recently? And what are some unexpected places you’ve found ideas for your writing?