Jan 31, 2009

The Final Stretch and Getting Sidetracked

By Christine Thackeray

With the beginning of a New Year I had completed my last manuscript and was looking for a new project when I read about the Amazon Breakout Novel Contest. I'm really excited about it, but entries need to be in sometime this week and there's a cap on how many they'll take. I'm only at 50,000 words and still have at least three chapters to go.

My sweet husband took all the children except my eleven year old to the grandparents this weekend so I could finish. She has Stake achievement days. Well, I had the whole thing planned and found her a ride, but then her nonmember friend wanted to come and other women called who needed rides for their daughters so my day writing is going to be spent driving to the stake center. I'm determined to lock myself in a room, hoping that I'll get inspiration for my service and write faster and better. I don't know if it works that way, but I can always hope.

I once heard someone describe the pacing of their favorite books as a character climbing up a ladder to a hayloft. Each chapter brings them closer and closer to their destination and then right before the last step, they suddenly fall and tumble to the ground only to land at a funny angle, allowing them to now see their lives through a whole new perspective. Not all books follow this formula but I'm loosely trying to do that with this one and right now my character only has one more step before things start spinning wildly out of control to the end. You know, maybe I'm drawn to this storyline because it reflects so much of my personal life, spinning out of control way too often.

Well, wish my luck.

I think I'll end this disorganized entry with one last tidbit. On another site a published author mentioned her four big no-no's for writing. I've been grateful she upped my awareness of them because I lapse into lazy writing styles if I'm not careful.

1. Using too many -ly's. (Impatiently, Warily, Furtively, Nervously. That is almost always telling not showing.)
2. Trying to get creative with the word said. (She exclaimed, snapped, snarled, stammered, responded, admitted, etc. You can have a few of these but they can be distracting if done too often.)
3. Backwards sentences. (Leaving the stove, she turned to do the dishes. We do this to vary our sentence structure but it is annoying if overused. You only get one ever two pages or so. Use them sparingly.)
4. Head-hopping. (I know I'm awful at this but I also know that everyone picks up on it in my writing group when I blow it. You only get to be in one person's head in a scene. You have to use devices to get out information in other ways so choose your head carefully.)

Well, I've got forty-five minutes to type away before I've got to get the girls in the car. Wish me luck and happy writing.


  1. Here's wishing you luck...and happy writing, Christine!
    btw...I am a firm believer in putting first things first. I know you will be blessed for choosing the best things. Your mind will be more clear and enlightened and you will write things just the way they are meant to be written. You go, Girlfriend!

  2. Not only good luck, but GREAT luck! And bless your heart for honoring your commitment to post this blog. You shall be doubly blessed.

  3. I, too, am entering the ABNA competition, so I'm feeling your pain. I think I will be wondering if I'm ready right up to the minute I hit the "submit" button. So let's wish each other loads of luck!!

    Sarah M. Eden


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