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DIG! Review March Power Word

31 Mar

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DIG!:…Deep and Plant Seeds of Truth

27 Mar

Our power word this month has two meanings for me (so, what’s new?) but they both connect somehow.

First, when I think of DIG! I think of digging in the dirt…something I love to do.  And with Spring on our doorstep, I think of seeds.  As a writer, I’m planting seeds.  Faithfully, I keep coming up with new ideas, new characters, new stories and writing them down.  Just like the farmer, I sow these tiny investments — these seeds in the tilled soil.  Will they pay off?

Frank Vincentz 28 Sept 200

Not all seeds grow into a plant but if you plant enough, some will, won’t they?  I just have to keep seeding, and of course, doing everything I can to give the seeds the nourishment they need, by going to my critique group, going to conferences, meeting other writers online and off, and revising my stories.  And someday, someday, there will be a harvest.

The other meaning of DIG! for me has to do with digging deep – not into the characters but into myself first. Though I dearly love beautiful wordcraft, the emotional truth is what’s so compelling in a story.  Truly, I’m most satisfied when what I write makes the reader cry.  (Okay, except in picture books.)  To make the characters’ emotions resonate, I must first find the seeds of emotional truth within myself.  I have to remember and be willing to feel again the fear, the loneliness, the tears, the anger and the hope as I’ve felt them deep in my gut before. Only then, can I plant them in my characters. They say write what you know.  I don’t think they mean on the outside, but what you know on the inside.

I am now at a place in my YA novel where things are really starting to happen to my main character.  Here’s where I’ve got to dig deep.  I can’t flinch away.  If she’s going to feel it, I’ve got to feel it.  I’ve got to keep digging until I find those seeds of truth and plant them in my work.

Pass the tissue please.  I’m ready to DIG!

DIG! Gold in the Mountains

20 Mar

beachmound2I am greedy gold digger. And you can be, too. But first, a day trip.

Last Saturday we met up with my husband’s family in nearby Cocoa Beach. As I enjoyed chatting with my sister-in-law from a low lounge chair, I watched Michael help my son build a sandcastle.

“What is that?” I asked my husband when he returned.

“A castle,” he said. “With a mote, see?”

To be clear, this was not a castle. It was a hill of sand with a plastic shovel shoved on top. Slurping the last of my Diet Coke, I prepared to answer the call. I would mold this plain monolith into an architectural triumph truly worthy of its oceanfront real estate. Or so I thought.

beachmoundThat’s how it is at the outset of imagining our creative project. We envision a grand construction, replete with well-hewn walls, arcing steps and majestic spires. Digging around our idea is the easy part. But like my sandy heap, when we dig into itto form it into something more than a moundit can feel like an unmanageable mountain. Parts we thought we were solid start to crumble as we touch them.

That’s how it was with my would-be historical novel. My initial years of staggered research would have never ended either, if it hadn’t been for my Chicks pushing me past it. I’d still be digging myself into a hole, hoping to find new treasure to help my story take shape. I was hiding under the seemingly legitimate cover of research, convinced I needed more to put it all together.

“You have enough,” Eva told me one day as we floated around her pool. “Don’t be afraid to fill in the blanks.” Some time later she gave me a pirate reference book I didn’t have, in which she wrote further assurances:

“Tracey, you fought a good fight, did all the research possible and now is time to walk the plank. Don’t be scared and jump right in. The water will feel warm and calming, and all those ideas will come out flowing.”

While Florida gopher turtles like this one dig holes in my yard for shelter, I want to come out of my safe hole and do a different kind of digging.

While Florida gopher turtles like this one dig holes in my yard for shelter, I want to come out of my safe hole and do a different kind of digging.

Every time I start a new scene, which I’m happy to say I did again this week, I get scared anew. The urge is to dig down into the earth to search for more glittering gems, or worse yet, to simply avoid picking up a shovel altogether.

But in order to actually create something, I need to dig inside. Inside my settings.  Inside my characters’ heads. Inside my plot. Inside my imagination.

“I have enough,” I remind myself. “Fill in the blanks.”

That’s where I’m digging now, onward and upward. I’m proud to be the greedy climber I am today. Inside is where the gold is. And however long it takes, I’m determined to find it, up in these here mountains.

DIG! Digging into edits

16 Mar

I’m editing. Really. I almost want to end the post here because that’s pretty much my life right now. Knee-deep in the edit dirt, since I’m talking DIG here.

When I received the edit letter and marked-up manuscript of OLIVIA TWISTED back from my editor, Stacy Abrams, I kind of freaked out for a moment. A long moment. I think my first thought was “Does she not love me/the book anymore?” It’s silly, because of course she does, but there seemed to be so many areas of opportunity. And everything I thought could be swept under the table, she caught. There were also many places where she felt I could develop certain plot lines or characters more.

Thus began the digging. As I explored each character, I realized that I had missed many opportunities to develop motivation, personality, and relationships. Some things worked, some fell flat. So I started moving around, asking my characters a lot of questions about their motivations (yes, they talk back) and adding several scenes. And reading back through it, it seems to work so much better–like it pops! So yeah, Stacy is pretty genius in my book (along with genius Nicole, her intern).digging man

Of course, as I write this, I’m still editing and staring at my deadline like a deer in the headlights (I’m from Texas originally so I know this look). That’s probably why this post is short—my brain is a little fried.

Eventually, the edits will be finished and I’ll send it back with the hopes that Stacy will like the changes. And from what everyone says, the first edits are the toughest. After that it’s like cake. Well, anytime you reference something like cake, I’m happy!

Anyone else in edit world these days? How’s it going?

DIG! Digging Yourself Out Of The Mud!

6 Mar

digging 1

This past weekend I did my 2nd Tough Mudder Obstacle Race! I though it was fitting for this month Power Word Dig!  It was a 12 mile run with 25 obstacles course, in which you are constantly in mud or in water.  Was it hard? Yes it was hard and I don’t think I would choose to do these kinds of event by myself.  I did it with a group friends.

On the Tough Mudder website they really emphasize on team work there moto is “To get through mud, fire, ice-water, and 10,000 volts of electricity you’ll need teammates to pick you up when your spirits dip. To get over 12 foot walls and through underground mud tunnels, you’ll need teammates to give you a boost and a push. Tough Mudders are team players who make sure no one gets left behind. To that end, all Mudders are expected to uphold our ideals and exhibit teamwork and camaraderie both on the course and off it”.

This is how I feel with my fellow chicks.  Without them I would not be where I am now.  They have given me the courage to go out there and try new things, to be creative, to write and to pursue my dreams.  There faith in me has helped me DIG myself from things that were pulling me back, my insecurities, my fears and my worries about what others might think.    Dig 2Because of them I have become braver!

I still have lots of Digging out to do but I know that I have my fellow chicks to help me out when I get stuck.

P.S. No, they won’t do a Tough Mudder with me, I’ve tried to convince them maybe you all might have better luck LOL.

March Power Word: DIG!

28 Feb

It’s almost Spring.  Can you dig it?

I love every season. What I most love about Spring are the buds that begin peeking out, bringing color back to nature’s palette.  Before that can happen, though, seeds must be sown. It’s no different with creativity. As a creative gardener, I dig deep into the soil, or rather, the soul.  There, I bury seeds and trust that my Chicks, and all of you, will water them, give them light, clear the weeds away and usher them into the world.

One of these seeds is already blossoming and will be revealed tomorrow across the web, including on this blog.  I’m soooo excited about it, but that’s all I can say at this point, other than check back here tomorrow!

In the meantime, the power word for March is: DIG!   How will you use it?

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