O Brother – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

O  my soul cries out!

 

Ode: A lengthy lyric poem that often expresses lofty emotions in a dignified style. Often relayed in meloramatic tones.

On Acceptance: When payment is given to the writer after the editor accepts the finished nonfiction article. This is more often used in article writing, not novel writing. 

On Publication: When payment is given to the writer when the piece is published.

On Spec: When the editor is not obligated to publish the piece as the writer was not officially assigned to write it.

Onomatopoeia: The use of words that resemble the sound they denote. For example – hiss or buzz. Batman was rife with onomatopoeias. POW BANG CRASH!

Outline: A point form or list of short sentences that describe the action or major ideas in a written work. Some pantsers abhor the idea of outlining so much, they won’t even write down a vague outline such as: MC goes on quest to save the world. Meets with opposition from the antagonist. Overcomes obstacles, saves the world! That is a basic outline. 

Overview: A brief description of a novel or non-fiction book intended to introduce the work to a publisher. 

Oxymoron: A phrase composed of two words with contradictory meanings. For example – original copy.

This morning at six am, the only O word I could think of was outline. After three cups of coffee, hours of waiting for a phone call, my nerves were shot and the only other O word that was on my mind was oncology.  I’m still waiting to hear the verdict, in case you wondered what the ‘O my soul cries out’ bit is about. Trying to remain positive!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

M and N – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

 

Since I missed posting on Saturday, I’ll start with M.

Manuscript – literally meaning written by hand. A term used to refer to the finished novel of an individual.  Back in the day . . .  it was required to send a printed copy of your finished manuscript one-sided, with one and a half inch margins all around, boxed to a publisher. Yes, I’ve been doing this for a while. Thank God for the digital age!

Meditation: A thoughtful or contemplative essay, sermon, discussion, or treatise — especially one that encourages introspection and self-analysis.  A meditation is a window into the author’s soul. It’s a glimpse of the beauty or darkness within. It can shed light on how they think, how they feel, what’s important to them, what hurts them, what they rejoice over. It makes the author vulnerable.

Muse – As a noun, it means a person — most often a woman — who is a source of artistic inspiration. The author’s muse specifically is often referred to in the female gender because she is the most fickle of creatures. She may bless you today with a brilliant idea then disappear leaving the writer pulling their hair out not knowing how or where to begin, only returning weeks later laughing giddily at the writer’s frustration. She’s not only fickle but fiendishly wicked as well.

Today is brought to you by the letter N.

Narrative: A collection of events that tells a story, which may be true or not, placed in a particular order. The narrative part of the story fills in where the dialog leaves off, where the action leaves off.  It is the backstory that tells you why your characters flaws make him vulnerable.

Newbie: A new writer.

Novel: A work of fiction consisting of 45,000 words or more.

Novella/Novelette: Short works of fiction consisting of between 7,500 and 40,000 words. I am currently working on a novella – I know shocking for me, isn’t it?

Nut Graf: In journalism, the paragraph that contains the main point of the story. I”ll make a confession – the only reason I remember this one is because when I took my online writing course, this term sounded ridiculous. At that time my kids were watching Over the Hedge, and there is this character in it that is a squirrel and  he forgot where he puts his nuts. The main character voiced by Bruce Willis commented on ‘he should have a nut graf and a stand by drink’ that was the equivelant of Mountain Dew. I had just read the section about nut graf. The squirrel was integral to the nut graf of the movie, but that’s all I am going to tell you. I will forever remember nut graf with that squirrel and his fizzy drink! 

Hey, I didn’t say they were all going to make sense. These are my terms and my understanding of them. You are free to alliterate terms on your own blog!

Do you have any interesting anecdotes of why you remember certian things? Care to share them?

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

Literary Lead – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

 

Today is brought to you by the lovely lavender letter L.

 

See? In the image, the letter is lavender. . . .  Fine! We’ll just get after it then.

Lead: The first paragraph of a manuscript. This is where the “hook” (to grab the reader’s attention) should be.

Lead Time: The time between getting the query or article and the publication of the article. Vital for seasonal articles and stories. This was more of a concern for article writing than for  novels, but  having said that, it would be best to coordinate the release of a Christmas story in December than to release it in June. 

Legend – a story or narrative which lies somewhere between myth and historical fact. As a rule, is about a particular person or figure.  (Legend of Zorro) Conversely, a legend is also the “map” of the story much like a legend on a map. 


Logline: 
One sentence description of a manuscript.  Some people call this your elevator pitch.

 Love. Not the soppy Valentine kind. The life’s work kind. Love what you do. If you do not love writing, you cannot become a better writer. Being a writer is a lonely isolated existence. You have to love it in order to spend hours isolated from the rest of the world. Also, having written romance – love is a hot topic in various genres.  How many stories have some sort of romance within them?

Also, having written romance – love is a hot topic in various genres.  How many stories have some sort of romance within them?  Whether you think love is for saps or the ultimate prize for each individual or find yourself somewhere in  the middle, love is a huge topic for authors.

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

JK – I’m not ‘Just Kidding’! #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

Yesterday was a difficult day. I was scheduled for additional medical tests and delivered not so good news. I have to wait until after the further testing to have a definite answer. I’m sure you can see how my mind was not in a place to write a blog post. I hope you can forgive me.

Wednesday, April 12 – J.

Jargon – Potentially confusing words and phrases used in an occupation, trade, or field of study. We might speak of medical jargon, sports jargon, police jargon, or military jargon.  In some writing,  a  bit of jargon is acceptable and actually expected. But, I guarantee that if you fill your medical drama with volumes of medical jargon the vast majority of your readers are going to stop reading. They want fiction, not a medical journal! Be careful in including jargon in your story. It’s kind of like seasoning – a little goes a long way. If you add a dash of cayenne pepper to your chicken for fajitas, it enhances the flavor but if you douse it, covering the chicken so that it appears red only those individuals with a high tolerance for spiciness will be able to ingest it.

Journal: A diary or record of events, feelings, and thoughts usually recorded by date. You knew it was coming and I’m sure that you are surprised that it didn’t appear under B, . . .  but my bullet journal is a lifesaver! Yes, there are places that I have lengthy journal entries.  There are also days that I only have a daily to-do list. It is the perfect balance for me. I can’t recommend it enough!

 

 

Kenning: a form of compounding in Old English, Norse, and Germanic poetry. In its poetic device, the poet creates a new compound word or phrase to describe an object or activity. It uses mixed imagery to describe the properties o the object in indirect, imaginative, or enigmatic ways. They are designed to be somewhat like a riddle since the reader must stop and think or a minute. Vikings used kennings on their petroglyph markers that they left behind to guide and direct the wise Vikings to follow their footsteps.

 

Some examples are:

  • hwal-rade = whale road – a reference to the sea
  • thor-weapon= smith’s hammer
  • shield tester=warrior
  • banhus (bone house)= body

Modern examples:

  • beer goggles=skewed vision from the effects of alcohol
  • rug-rats = children
  • Bible thumper =  intolerant Christian

I  referenced kennings in Valkyrie’s Curse. Once I finish Roxy Sings the Blues, I will dust that one off and give it a final once over.

Kicker: In journalism – a sudden, surprising turn of events or ending; a twist. Just when you think the antagonsit is going to triumph, the author will throw in a kicker to  block their victory. Or another example of a kicker at the ending is one that resolves the plot of the current book but creates an entirely new dilemma that must be solved in – you guessed it – the next book!

Kill Fee: Compensatory payment made for an assigned article which was completed but not used or published. Kill fee can also be used as the  cost of getting out of a contract that is not satisfying the author’s needs. 

Kindle –  the current mode of reading ebooks. How could I cover K without mentioning a Kindle? Seriously!
Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

HI!#AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms. I was working on this post when I received a phone call with a bad report from the doctor’s office. Please excuse me for being derailed from posting. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes you get news that you find so upsetting you can’t think straight. I’m hoping that it will turn out to be nothing, but  forcing my mind to stay off the worst case scenario, researching on WebMD, and consulting other WEB medical sites has required my full attention.

Monday’s letter was H.

 

Haiku: A three-line, seventeen syllable poem, usually about nature. I’ve tried my hand at Haiku a couple of times and only managed a few meager poems. Some of these are beautiful. Some of the haikus, not my haikus. Mine were more like misguided limericks.

Hardcover: Book bound with hard cardboard cover, then covered with a paper dust jacket. There are very few books that I will spend the money on for a hardcover book anymore. However, having said that I will throw down some jack for a select few first edition hardcovers! 

HEA: The Happily Ever After ending.  This used to be standard fare for romance novels. It used to be standard fare for several genres in fact. Louis Lamour’s westerns typically had the HEA with the hero riding off into the sunset at the end after beating the bad guy, getting the girl, saving the current town from ruin, and getting Timmy out of the well! The fictional world of HEA is a far better place than the current trend of noir, harsh reality within fiction. Seriously, who wants to read the same terrible tragedies that we lie?

HEMINGWAY CODE: Hemingway’s protagonists are usually “Hemingway Code Heroes,” i.e., figures who try to follow a hyper-masculine moral code and make sense of the world through those beliefs. Hemingway himself defined the Code Hero as “a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage, and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful.”  This code typically involves several traits for the Code Hero:

(1) Measuring himself against the difficulties life throws in his way, realizing that we will all lose ultimately because we are mortals, but playing the game honestly and passionately in spite of that knowledge

(2) Facing death with dignity, enduring physical and emotional pain in silence

(3) Never showing emotions

(4) Maintaining free-will and individualism, never weakly allowing commitment to a single woman or social convention to prevent adventure, travel, and acts of bravery

(5) Being completely honest, keeping one’s word or promise

(6) Being courageous and brave, daring to travel and have “beautiful adventures,” as Hemingway would phrase it

(7) Admitting the truth of Nada (Spanish, “nothing”), i.e., that no external source outside of oneself can provide meaning or purpose. This existential awareness also involves facing death without hope of an afterlife, which the Hemingway Code Hero considers more brave than “cowering” behind false religious hopes.

The Hemingway Code Hero typically has some sort of physical or psychological wound symbolizing his tragic flaw or the weaknesses of his character, which must be overcome before he can prove his manhood (or re-prove it, since the struggle to be honest and brave is a continual one). Also, many Hemingway Code Heroes suffer from a fear of the dark, which represents the transience or meaninglessness of life in the face of eventual and permanent death.

Hook:  A narrative trick in the lead paragraph of a work that grabs the attention of the readers and keeps them reading.

HOMILY: A sermon, or a short, exhortatory work to be read before a group of listeners in order to instruct them spiritually or morally. Examples include Saint Augustine’s sermons during the patristic period of literature. Chaucer himself took two Latin tracts on penitence, translated them, and turned them into a single sermon by placing the text in the mouth of the Parson in “The Parson’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales. In the Renaissance, the content of English sermons was governed by law after King Henry VIII, becoming an avenue for monarchist propaganda. I find this term is often misused by many authors. I don’t know what they are referring to when they use it but it isn’t this. 

Homonyms: Words that are spelled and pronounced alike but have different meanings. For example – pool (of water) and pool (the game).

Tuesday’s (Today) letter is I.

(See, I knew you’d get the HI eventually!)

ICEBERG – THEORY: Hemingway’s idea that good writing should consist of simple, direct sentences and plain description on the surface, but beneath that simplicity should be hints of psychological tension or symbolic depth suggested by what is visible above. He told an interviewer, ” I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eights of it under water for every part that shows.” What remains unspoken or unwritten may be as important as what appears in the text.

Imprint: Division within a publishing house that deals with a specific category of books.For example, Harlequin has several imprints. Mira,  Silhouette Desire, Nocturne, Historical Undone, Romance Suspense, Harlequin Teen, Steeple Hill are just some of the imprints from Harlequin.

Irony: When a person, situation, statement, or circumstance is not what it seems to be, but the exact opposite. 

IDEAL READER: The imaginary audience who would, ideally, understand every phrase, word, and allusion in a literary work, and who would completely understand the literary experience an author presents and then responds emotionally as the writer wished. Something my social media coach taught me,  make a wanted poster for my target audience – the group of ideal readers.

IMPLIED AUDIENCE: The “you” a writer or poet refers to or implies when creating a dramatic monolog. This implied audience might be (but is not necessarily) the reader of the poem, or it might be the vague outline or suggestion of an extra character who is not described or detailed explicitly in the text itself. Instead, the reader gradually learns who the speaker addresses by garnering clues from the words of the speaker. 

INFIXATION: Also called epenthesis, infixation is placing an infix (a new syllable, a word, or similar phonetic addition) in the middle of a larger word. Some languages regularly use infixation as a part of their standard grammar. In English, infixation is often used in colloquialisms or for poetic effect. Shakespeare might write, “A visitating spirit came last night” to highlight the unnatural status of the visit. More prosaically, Ned Flanders from The Simpsons might say, “Gosh-diddly-darn-it, Homer.”

INTERNAL AUDIENCE: An imaginary listener(s) or audience to whom a character speaks in a poem or story. For example, the duke speaking in Browning’s “My Last Duchess” appears to be addressing the reader as if the reader were an individual walking with him through his estate admiring a piece of art. There are suggestions that this listener, whom the duke addresses, might be an ambassador or diplomat sent to arrange a marriage between the widower duke and a young girl of noble birth. This term is often used interchangeably with implied audience.

Boy oh boy, let me tell you if that didn’t play havoc with spell check!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

Golly Gee! #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

Today is brought to you by the letter G.

I don’t know if it was that my brain wasn’t awake yet, or that it was really difficult but it took me a long time to come up with G words.

Galleys: The initial typeset of a manuscript sent to the author for review before it is printed. Type size and column format are set, but page divisions are not made. Galley can be reviewed online in digital format as well. 

Genre: The type or category of writing – like mystery, science fiction, romance, fantasy, etc.  I write in the romance genre and in nonfiction humor. Upcoming work will be in a subgenre of romance. 

Ghostwriter: A writer who is paid to write for someone else. A ghostwriter does not get a byline or any credit. They get paid for the content they write, in a flat fee. They don’t get any royalties for the books, they don’t get any other recognition. Usually, celebrities hire ghostwriters and then sell the book under their own names. There are others who hire a ghost writer as well. 

Guidelines: Instructions for submitting work to a publication. Each publishing house has their unique guidelines. If the house does not have a guideline, I would advise staying away from them. I’m leery of small houses. Many of them either are closed or are closing.  Some of my author friends are having some terrible issues getting the rights to their books back from closed/closing houses. I count myself as lucky to have my full rights back for my book! 

 

 

 Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

E-F #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

Today is brought to you by the letter F.

However, I’m going to backtrack and include E because I was getting some medical tests done yesterday and it left me completely exhausted.

Edit: To review a piece of writing to correct grammatical, spelling, or factual errors. Editing often includes shortening or lengthening of a piece of writing to fit an available space before publication. Self-editing can save you many headaches once you send your work to an editor. I have started sending my clients a pre-editing form that they make certain edit calls before I see it. It’s in their best interest and it will ultimately result in getting their work back faster.

Epic: A long narrative poem, told in a formal, elevated style that focuses on a serious subject and chronicles heroic deeds and events important to a culture or nation. Nowadays, we see epic attached to just about anything. “That was an epic movie.” “Her response to the instructor was epic!” Epic is used as a subgenre of fantasy. An epic fantasy is like Lord of the Rings. It’s not written in poetic style,  but it vastly encompassing chronicling the heroic deeds of two seemingly unimportant hobbits.

Euphemism: A phrase used in place of something disagreeable or upsetting. For example – “passed out” for “fainted”. Using the word murder is distasteful, so instead authors will use snuff out, rub out, knock off,  kill, a one-way ticket, and other slang terms. Just as an interesting aside, I  have found many confuse euphemism for colloquialism.

 Fees: Money paid to the writer for his/her services.

 

Flash Fiction: A piece of fiction written in less than 500 words. I first stumbled upon the phenomenon of flash fiction via Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds. It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

Formatting: The manner in which a manuscript is prepared and presented. There are professionals that do this although many Indie authors do this themselves. Formatting has changed a lot with the advent of ebooks. 

Freewriting: Writing continuously without worrying about how well you are writing. This kind of informal writing is meant to explore one’s thoughts, unload one’s feelings, or reflect on something. This takes practice!  This is one of the ways that I clear my mind. I will set a timer and for thirty minutes just write –  write whatever I am feeling, whatever I am grumbling about inside, whatever is weighing on me at that moment. Then I take a break, get a cup of coffee or a glass of water and then free write my story. I get the most words down like this,  but it will require more time spent in editing. I use this when I’ve been logjammed in my writing. For instance, yesterday I was working on my WIP, and I got hung up on a small detail. This happens often, getting hung up on a detail. This particular detail is the name of my Main character. When I read the beginning of the chapter to my daughters, they began laughing and giggling. My character’s name was Terbius Jaspar. They thought it was hysterical and couldn’t believe that I didn’t see that everyone  – EVERYONE – would hear it as turd bus -AKA the big green rolling turd. *Hangs head* I spent the rest of my writing time coming up with a new character name. 

Then of course there are the rabbits that pop up everywhere!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

D is also for Deadlines


My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms. Today is brought to you by the letter D.

D – Dialogue:

The words spoken by the characters of a story.

In order to tell the story, every dialogue needs to have meaning within the story. Whether that is character development in showing their strengths, weaknesses,  their backstory, or foreshadowing, it conveys an integral part of the story otherwise, why is it there? A dialogue can also be a way to share information without sounding like an info dump. Michael Crichton was expert at conveying information within the dialogue. By doing this he also kept the action going in the story, which in turn keeps the reader moving forward!

D -Denouement:

The final outcome of the main complication of a story or play. It usually occurs after the climax and reveals all the secrets and misunderstandings connected to the plot. In other words, you tie up all of your loose ends including that minor character that you left back at camp with a bullet hole in his leg, hoping that the field doctor would arrive in time. Inquiring readers want to know!

D – Draft:

A completed version of a writing which may be rewritten, revised, or polished. Just because you have a draft does not mean you have a publishable manuscript. On the other hand, I need to learn to let go and cut the cord. 

That concludes our lesson for the day. Tomorrow, it’s back to double bird killing. We writers are an evil lot!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

April A to Z Challenge 2017


Greetings! I’ve been pondering what to do on the April challenge for the past couple of weeks.  I have been wondering how I would do this challenge and manage to continue posting the #MFRW challenges on Friday.

In doing so, I’ve managed to miss getting my posts up! Way to go Ellie, way to go!

I’m still not sure how to get them all in, but I will try my best. I’ve been going gangbusters on revisions to Roxy Sings the Blues. April is Camp Nanowrimo and I am working on a new project that is top-secret for now in addition to the rewrites on Roxy. This new project has a hard deadline, so I have to be diligent in getting this one finished.

Despite all of the advice that is the current trend, which was the opposite advice from the 80’s and 90’s, the best way to get it all in is to multitask. Really, women are conditioned to multitask from the get go.

First thing first –  I have promised an excerpt or teaser since the beginning of the year. I shared one in Inquisitive Minds,  One Phone Call,  and Life Isn’t Fair, but aside from those, I’ve been negligent in sharing. So, today I will share a Tuesday Teaser from Roxy Sings the Blues.

“Detective Miller, Detective Alvarez.”

Devon Miller nodded in acknowledgment. He hated these calls. He hated seeing veterans in the homeless shelter. It never made sense to him. “What have we got?”

“Two males. Looks like meth heads, but we need to find out what’s going on. This is the fourth time this month that homeless guys have shown up dead. I’m putting you two on the case. Check with Dickerson in narcotics, see if he has any leads.” Seargent Brenner stood, flipping the body bag back over the victim’s face. “I want to know what they are taking, who they are buying from, what the cause of death was. I want a full tox screen and have Simmons report anything out of the order. Anything. Talk to some of the regulars at the shelter up the street.” He tucked his hands into the pockets of his black leather jacket, eyes downcast to the ground. Hesitating as if he wanted to add something more, but then changing his mind. He added, “I want reports on my desk in the morning.”

Devon watched him walk away before bending to examine the body. He reached for a discarded straw in the pile of trash that the first body lay in. Using the straw, he opened the vic’s mouth checking for missing teeth, foaming, anything. “Still got his teeth. That’s something.”

Alvarez stood with his hands shoved into his jacket. “This kid is too young to be here.”  He bent swiping the hair out of the eyes of the second body. “Both of them are. I’d lay odds that test results are going to be the same as the last guys. I think our best bet is going to be Dickerson. See if he knows who’s dealing the designer drugs down here and find out how bums can afford it.”

Are you curious? Let me know in the comments! 

The second item on the agenda –  the A to Z challenge. With my push for Camp Nano, I ‘ve forgotten to put up my posts for Saturday and Monday.

First the rules of the challenge – every day of the week minus Sundays,  you are to post that letter of the alphabet. The theme is something that your blog is typically about. My theme is:

 

Are you surprised? I liked last year that there were categories to choose from but this year, there isn’t a list of themes it is make your own! Although, it did get me out of my comfort zone to try my hand at some photography which was fun!

That’s what this challenge is all about –  fun!

A – Attitude

(April 1) Writing requires a certain attitude. You have to have confidence in your ability. There is a certain egotism in thinking that others should read what you have written. I prefer to call it confidence but on the days that I am faltering in confidence, I go back to the word attitude. It’s a stance, a unique voice, your reason behind the desire to spend countless hours behind a laptop in solitude. It’s that gnawing at your soul that if you don’t get it down on paper it will make you go mad. It’s the knowing in your heart that drives you forward and overrides the countless times you’ve thought of giving up. In the end, there is a certain attitude, sometimes cocky sometimes timid, but overall it’s knowing that you can do this and do it well!

B -Books

(April 3) There are certain books that a writer should have on their bookshelf. I have:

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

On Writing by Stephen King

Writing Down the Bones  by Natalie Goldberg

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

And . . . if you are anything like me more than a dozen others.

 

 C -Characters

Characters drive the story. The best stories are character driven because it’s the connection to the characters that keep us interested. If the character is nothing more than a flat Stanley then who cares what happens to him but if the character is well-developed, we become involved, putting ourselves in their shoes, sympathizing with them,  on the edge of our seat hoping they make it out of that dangerous situation. What would Gone With the Wind be without the narcissistic Scarlet O’Hara?

So, … two birds with one stone or rather two topics in one post and it is by far not my longest post! I call that a win.

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

Author Superpower #MFRW



This week’s writing prompt is “My Greatest Strength”

Welcome to week 12 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

Welcome back to my little corner of the world. It’s interesting to me, one of the comments that is on the MFRW page; “Blogging is an opportunity for authors to connect with readers. Despite being fiction writers, blogging is an entirely different style of writing and often stumps us. Our challenge is designed to help our authors blog consistently, thoughtfully and with purpose.”

The reason that I find this interesting is that I have the opposite thought. It’s easier for me to write short blog posts than to stay focused for longer lengths of time to write a finished novel. There, I said it. My confession. It is difficult for me to focus –  hence why I have multiple unfinished and unpublished novels. I guess those earlier days of being an opinion columnist have conditioned me for the short bursts of thought, rather than to keep plugging away on one continuous thought. ADD tendencies don’t help. Anyway, moving into the focused topic for the day, my greatest strength.

Well, I can tell you ten things that it isn’t! Maybe that is a topic for another day. I had to think about this for a while,  in fact, I logged off of everything and pondered,  making a mental checklist of what I wasn’t good at. Those are easy and added to the time-wasting while my gears turned. I’ll admit it, I sulked.

My mind went down the list of all the things that I could see that my friends were good at. It’s a good thing I didn’t have any ice cream in the house or I would have drowned my sorrows in the company of Ben and Jerry’s.

It wasn’t until a phone call from a friend that I had a valid answer. I know, insecure much? She asked what I was doing and I told her bluntly I was wasting time while I was trying to think of something I was good at, something that would be my greatest strength if I even have one.  Don’t think I can’t see those eye rolls now, just as I’m sure she was rolling her eyes on the other end of the phone.

After a stern lecture for being down on myself,  she quickly rattled off things that she saw are strengths. She didn’t have to stop and think about them, she just rattled them off! Right, add ‘quick to think’ to the list of “not my strengths”.

I recalled a list that my media coach made me put together when I was in a mood like this a couple of years ago. What did I do with that list? Add ‘organized’ to the list of ‘not my strengths’.

My husband and I went to marriage counseling, and one of the things I had to do was put together a lost of his strengths, and things I loved about him,  then put together a list of my own strengths. Compiling his was easy. Mine? Not so much.

Just a side note here, but don’t you find it ironic that karma or fate tends to throw things like this topic up in your path when you are at a low point in that area? Hmm? Just me then? Yeah, irony.

My readers don’t care that I’m a good cook – no make that a damn good cook. I’m not going to appear on Master Chef or anything,  but I manage quite well to feed my family tasty nutritious, and sometimes not so nutritious foods. None of us are starving.  You guys don’t want to hear that I am an exhorter, finding value in everyone else. If you’ve read even one of my blog posts, you probably already know that.

So as an author, what am I good at? Isn’t it sad that it took cheating to come up with something?

OK, asking my friend over the phone, going through my stack of notebooks for that list, going through the marriage counseling folder, are technically cheating. Hey, when you’re down you’re down.

In that folder, I found the list my husband made about me. I was in tears. It amazes me that he sees all these wonderful things in me.  OK, maybe I should make a run to the store and bring Ben and Jerry home for a celebration. Instead, I decided to make his favorite meal and dessert for him. ( It’s a small thing, but something I could definitely do for him!)

In the top five of both lists – the one from the media coach and my husband’s list, and one of the things mentioned from my friend on the phone made me smile and I admitted,  this could be the thing. OK, let me be honest here. There were actually a couple of things that were on all the lists, which made me smile this ridiculous goofy smile and cry happy tears.

So what is my greatest strength?

I am never lacking ideas. I rarely ever get writer’s block, instead, I have a flood of ideas and have trouble focusing on just one.

A friend will ask my advice on how to move her characters from point A to point B, and I have a couple of ideas. I don’t even have to think about it, I can rattle off a list of options for her. Another friend needs a title – BAM I give her a list of options and more than a few times, the author will decide on one of my suggestions.

I have a creative mind. I can come up with an idea from just about any prompt that you can throw at me. I can make a meal that is practically gourmet from simple ingredients. I can make an elaborate plot out of a simple idea.

I can throw boulder-sized obstacles into my character’s path to keep them from their objective. I can always think of “what can go wrong now” to avoid a straight line to the end.

My name is Ellie Mack and my super power

is my Creative Mind.

I have no problem with doubt in this area. I know I am creative. this is not an area that I second guess myself. Why it was so hard for me to see it, I don’t know.

  • Lame plot? I got a solution.
  • Flat characters? I have some ideas.
  • A new twist on an old theme? I got a million of them!
  • Wrote yourself into a corner? Did you see the loose ceiling tile?

A brilliant mind is one of the sexiest qualities a person can have.

Being smart is sexy!

It feels great to know that I can in all sincerity say I am confident that this is a strength.

Confidence is sexy!

Confidence gives you the inner fortitude to be bolder in your endeavors.

Boldness is Sexy!

Knowing that you are strong in an area is enabling and allows you to work harder.

Strong is sexy!

Being smart leads to confidence. Confidence leads to boldness. Boldness leads to being strong. Being strong builds confidence  . . . and the cycle begins to gain momentum.

I’ve got my sexy back!

*does a smexy dance to my inner music*

Yeah!

YEAH!

OH YEAH!

What does sexy have to do with strength? EVERYTHING!   Sexy is so much more than a perfect size four female body. Sexy is a state of mind. A romance writer needs to have a certain sexy state of mind in order to write those steamy hot scenes and interconnective tissue that weaves a magical story that unites two individuals within the pages of a novel. Confidence gives you strength in who you are and what you are capable of.

Just like the rock hard muscles of a trained athlete, an author’s mind flexes with training and conditioning. It builds strength. A strength that others easily recognize, even when you can’t see it. Plus, the strong sexy author can make the voices of doubt that echo through the dark corridors of my mind shut the hell up!

This week’s prompt came at a time that I was truly down and I seriously needed this to get myself back up out of the mire. Thanks, MFRW! I needed that!

What is your greatest strength? Do you need someone else to point them out for you like I did or are you confident in your own to know your strengths and value?

You can check out what these authors have to say about it as well! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie