Thursday, July 28, 2011

Launches and Landings!

Hubble image

These images were captured by the Hubble Telescope. A project made possible through the NASA Space Shuttle Program that came to an end last week. The next horizon in space travel and particularly manned space travel is iffy at best. Since the program scheduled to take over for the Shuttle project has been redirected by the current administration. But this isn't really about the fact that the final Space Shuttle retired last week, it's about how dreams are formed, pursued and evolved.

When I was a very little girl, I saw the first Space Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, just one more advantage of being a Florida girl. After the amazing history making launch of the Colombia Shuttle, many more followed. For years we would get out of class during elementary school to line up on the playground and watch the Shuttles launch from 50 miles away. They were amazing. But the most amazing thing about it was imagining what the astronauts would discover in their experiments. I dreamed of seeing the world through the shuttle window. I dreamed of a space station that orbited the Earth and gave us all a chance to experience life in space in some small way.
I never really imagined seeing actual pictures of deep space as beautiful as these.
Hubble image

At the time I couldn't imagine that the US and other countries, such as Russia, would work together to build an international space station. Yet in the decades since I first dreamed of going to space, many things have changed. I recently learned that every 48 hours humans create and share as much information as was recorded from the beginning of the world up to 2003. Billions of bits of information, writing, thoughts, discoveries and news are shared every day.

What is left to dream about? What do young people today dream of accomplishing? Where does Science Fiction go when reality is catching up at such an alarming pace? I can't wait to find out.
I'm sad to see the Space Shuttle program retire, but I'm excited to see what the next big adventure will be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Building A Web Presence

At a recent conference several Inkers heard that you need to build a large web presence before you get published.  What are your thoughts on this?

Is a blog good?

How about a Facebook page for your blog?

What else can you do to get your name out there?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Potter Magic

I'm heading out on a date with hubby today to see Harry Potter 7.2. I know we are late to the party, but that is how things work in our world.

Thinking about the phenomenon that is Potter, the series that made Jo Rowling richer than the queen of England and became the most successful movie franchise in history, I'd like to ask -- Inkers and dear blog followers, if you are a Potter fan, what is it about the series that makes it dear to your heart? Rowling's work certainly reflects the influence of other successful authors, including C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Dickens, authors who have been imitated ad nauseam. So, what about Potter made so many people connect to it?

For me, it is the boy who lived, Harry Potter himself. From the first chapter of book one, I cared about this person, an orphaned boy living with awful relatives in a cupboard under the stairs. I felt his excitement, fear, and disillusionment as he discovered his true heritage and started on his journey to make things right. To me, if Harry Potter wasn't such a well-drawn character, the world of the series still would have made it successful, but not to the degree it is.

BTW, I hate goodbyes. I'm taking Kleenex with me to the movie.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mind the Gap

At a recent meeting for my job, I found myself in conversation with a British man, a New Zealander, and a graphic artist with no distinguishing accent what so ever. (I suppose we'll just say he's American.) I know this sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke, but really its about how our word choices give us away.

Even without the accents and with my eyes close I could have told you who said the following sentences:

"Is there a problem with one color being dominant?"

"I think its brilliant really."

"Let's try this design and see how we get on, yeah?"

I'm not going to tell you here which chap said which thing. What I will say is that in a recent Regency Romance I read written by a contemporary author the dialogue had flashes of fabulous period phrases, but fell sadly flat as all the characters spoke with the same accent using the same words, except for one bloke who blustered his way through a conversation using "Capital" repeatedly as an exclamation.

So tell me if I can sit in a cafe in Utah and have a conversation with three people with distinctly different backgrounds and individual voices, then certainly a character in Regency England with the many sundry social statuses will find themselves with lots of interesting accents, voices and phrases surrounding them. Dialogue done well can paint a vivid scene in a minuscule amount of words, but dialogue done poorly is the kiss of death to an otherwise sympathetic character and/or dashing hero.

Have you heard, read, seen on TV or encountered any great dialogue lately?

PS we are still trying to fit the words "Mind the gap" into the business brochure we were discussing at the meeting. It is so quintessentially British.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Don't Tell

I'm gleefully counting down to six chapters left (if my outline holds true) to finish my WIP. Thus, I am already getting excited about the editing process.

This article has some great examples of how to eliminate the telling, not showing bits in your writing, so I thought I'd share.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rabid Watermelon story prompt

True life tale: I walked into my kitchen on Sunday to find the watermelon that my friend had purchased on Friday looking almost exactly like this one. Rabid and foaming. I then of course did what any good mother with small children would do. I took it outside to cut it and find out why it was foaming. Bugs? Chemicals? Paranormal activity? What could it be? Well when I barely sliced the thin outer layer of the melon it exploded into two equal halves of sizzling mess, spraying myself and my daughter with rancid juices.

Only three images of foaming watermelons appeared on the Internet and this one is from 2006. Freaky huh?

Story prompt: Foaming watermelon...why? How? So what?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Promise Is A Promise

So last night we all met over sushi. (I literally ate myself sick--terrible thing to do with good sushi.)

We all promised that we would be better about posting on this here bloggy. 

So, here I am posting.

Promise kept.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Posting time!

Last week I shared the sad news that I had to give up one of my dogs. This week I'm going to tell you why I'm glad I did. AND I'll tell you why it has been good for my writing.

I've had the chance to work exclusively with my dog, Scout, and see him go from pulling me around on his leash to healing next to me without using a leash at all. Amazing! In just a few days! And the best part is that he's happy to comply. I don't have to bribe him with treats. He's happy if I give him big hugs and tell him what a good boy he is mysense of satisfaction working with him has increased exponentially.

The last part is what I want to focus on in regard to writing. This strictly my opinion, but I think sometimes we get stuck on an idea or character or scene that we like, or even LOVE, but it's not working. We put a lot of effort into these ideas to the point that we feel like we're beating our heads against a wall, but the thing we haven't realized is that it's time to cut ties. No matter how much we love it, if we're wasting precious time and energy on it and it's not going anywhere then it's time to let it go, cut it, put it to the side or whatever it is we need to do and work on something that IS going somewhere. Not unlike Scout and Rusty. Scout's potential was overshadowed by Rusty's constant time-sucking-going-nowhere needs. I love Rusty and I miss him, but my relationship with Scout is so much more fulfilling now. It's going somewhere useful.

Our stories should have a similar progression from point to point. If there's no progression it's time to figure out why and make the tough edits.


Saturday, July 9, 2011


I'm really enjoying having a personal Twitter, getting lots of good info from the writing and publishing world.

One of the folks I'm following is former lit agent Nathan Bransford. I saw a Tweet from him re: Page Critique Thursday and went to his blog to read about it.

I found his redline treatment very interesting. Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's A Writers Group For, Anyway?

Sometimes I think, why am I here?  Why do I keep pretending that I am a writer?  Then my awesome writers group comes through.

This is excerpts from an email chain earlier this week:

me: Can I just say that I am totally bored.  No its not cause I don't have a million things to do, its just that I have no group/project/organization that is in need of my mad dog brain skills.  Why can't I apply my genius to my home?  Not sure.  But I am going totally agro on scout committee just cause its the only thing I am involved in.  ;(  I am having a boring summer.  Kinda. :)

Linda: Apply your genius to the haunted house story cause I want to read it.  :)

Kirk: Yes, or write one of those nature children's stories that you seem to have a knack for! You could whip one out in a couple hours, and we could review it next writers group. . . So get busy writing, DJ! Put those mad brain skills to work!

a few hours later:
me: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!  I just outlined a ... book with ...  Thanks for the challenge and getting my brain working!

So, in a few hours I had outlines, written the rough draft, and discovered a whole niche of writing that suits my skills perfectly.  All because I am in a writers group.

So, go to and find yourself a writers group!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Ode to Rusty. A.K.A. You didn't know a good thing when you had it.

I am in deep mourning right now.

Some of you may know that I am the owner of two lab mixes. They run with me. They're great companions. They have little quirks that make them lovable and funny. However, one of them loves to run away. A lot. Animal Control brought him back to me three times in a 2 week period recently. He almost got hit by a car and we were lucky not to get fined that last time.

He also jumped off my roof. I'm not making this up. I left the windows in my bedroom open one day while we were at church and he pushed the screen out, got out onto the overhang above the garage and jumped off. I found him roaming the neighborhood, not a thing wrong with him other than the fact that he JUMPED OFF MY ROOF!!!


I gave him five years of my life trying to train him and teach him, but it just got to be too much. I gave him to the Humane Society today.

And, now I have a hole in my heart. :(

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's Just Business, Baby

At LDS Storymakers this year, agent Sara Megibow made a couple of points that stuck with me about the business of writing. First, she reminded us that publishing is a business, contrasting it with the warm, fuzzy, creative world of the art of writing. If you're serious about getting published you need to remember it is a business.

She also said she expects anyone she signs on as an author to be tech/marketing savvy, including having a website, blog, and Twitter and Facebook pages. It makes sense. If you have a product to sell, you need to do all you can to help sell it.

In hopes that I will someday have said product to sell, I've been trying to increase my internet presence and came across this book marketing site and their tips on setting up a Facebook page. Although I've worked with all these forms of media in my day job, it's been interesting to approach it as author-in-waiting.

I haven't created a Facebook page yet, but you can follow me on Twitter @lindawpeterson.