Motivation

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Artist Date and Bento Box

When I was four years old, I made a caterpillar in preschool. I glued together cut-up egg-cartons to form the segmented body and stuck pipe-cleaners on the “head” to form antenna. When I finished, the teacher instructed me to put the caterpillar into my cubby hole, and the class went outside for recess. When we returned, the caterpillar was gone. In its place was a beautiful butterfly.

I remember staring at this butterfly, in delight and astonishment and wonder. Its wings stretched out in an array of color, and glitter dusted its body. Life was all about discovery and exploration, and anything was possible in this world. Absolutely anything.

Of course, then I grew up, and school was no longer about art projects and magical transformations. It revolved, instead, around analytical…
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Rewriting: the Love/Hate relationship of writing and how we manage it

I have a draft open on my laptop right now:  “Lucky Numbers v12 100p June4”.  Tomorrow, the version 12 will be version13.  One hundred pages will have been re-read and minute changes made, for the thirteenth time.  If I can finish those hundred pages tomorrow it will be submitted, along with the synopsis (currently version 14) to an editor who requested it at the WRW retreat in May.

But my secret is, I didn’t write all of it.  I’m putting the final rewrite on a manuscript I’ve been writing with a collaborator for two years.  This is the most recent version of the tale, and it’s been a long and complex production.

How do you handle rewrites?  Is putting the story down a breeze, and the rewriting a slog?  Do you plot as you go, and then have to go back and patch up all the holes you left behind?  Or is it all carefully planned, with minor time needed for…
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The Muse…To Tell or Not To Tell?

Today I happened to be innocently surfing the web, in search of…well, a kick start for a character, yes…a muse.  I came upon the official website of a talented and handsome actor and decided to check it out.  The website was under construction but there was one active tab I could click on.  So I did.  And it was a link to contact the actor through email. 

That is a dangerous thing in the hands of a writer on the search for that little something to give her some oomph behind a character.  My first reaction was to click on the link, type something cheesy about how talented and handsome he is and to be clever, add a little thank you for being my inspiration today. 

Thank goodness my secret sense kicked in just in time before I made a fool of myself!!

And it got me thinking…as a writer, which aspects of your personal process do you feel should be kept secret and which ones do you think are safe…
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I’m a Romance Junkie

Hi, my name’s Avery and I’m a romance junkie.

It all started in middle school with purloined copies of my mother’s V.C. Andrews and Jackie Collins. So brazen did I become that my sixth grade teacher – oh, she of the see-through blouses – sent my mom a note ratting me out for bringing The Thorn Birds for my independent reading time.

That wasn’t enough to rid me of my demons. No. I scoured used book stores for dogeared Harlequin novels. The sweet and sheltered heroine whose innocence reels in the arrogant and demanding hero (who later in life I realized was often a total prick). I’d devour the books in one marathon session in the tub, refilling it with hot water as necessary. Then I discovered Johanna Lindsey’s regency romance novels. Independent, smart, spitfire heroines out to right a wrong. And the heroes? Oh, yeah. Brawn and brains – and a title to boot.

The list goes on and on,…
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Who Are You Meant To Be?

You know how some things are a secret? Like the chocolate stash behind the canned vegetables at the back of the pantry. Yep, no danger of anyone finding the mini candy bars hidden there in my house.

Writing was one of those things for me.

I grew up in a less than ideal home and I used writing as my outlet. Over time the journal entries and poems of my youth evolved into short stories. Not very good ones at first, but it was still satisfying to see the story in my mind come to life on the page. And yes, for those of you wondering…I do in fact carry on conversations with my characters. In what other profession is it possible to get paid for talking to your imaginary friends? Yeah, in most places they medicate you and introduce you to a little thing called a straitjacket!

But I kept…
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At Least I Have Choices

Choice is a concept that is scary and liberating all at the same time. I find, as I sit to write another manuscript, I am sometimes frozen by having choices. The choice to use whatever word I want, to depict whatever emotion I wish, to whatever characters I create. But choice also gives way to fear: what if I use the wrong word, the wrong description, the wrong simile? This conundrum of choice reminded me of my decision to pursue another Masters degree, this time in something other than finance or economics. This was my essay that helped garner an admission and I find it more relevant than ever, now that I have forced myself to sit down at yet another book.

I knew if I focused my gaze on the greasy Kalashnikov slung across his back, I could disassociate myself from the rough hands that were fumbling my threadbare coat. The solider who was rifling through my pockets was looking for money, gold, diamonds or whatever other treasures he…
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Look, Ma! No hands!

My junior year of college, I was sitting in the library, typing away on my laptop, trying to finish up a term paper, when it happened: my hands froze. Not good-God-the-library-is-cold-I-wish-I’d-brought-a-sweater froze. Not even kill-me-now-I’m-never-going-to-finish-this-paper froze. No, I mean my hands physically froze, as in the muscles from my neck through my shoulders through my elbows through my forearms through my hands froze up, so that I couldn’t move them. And they stayed that way for a week. I couldn’t brush my hair. I couldn’t bring a fork to my mouth. All I could do was lie in bed, terrified that my life was never going to be the same again.

And it wasn’t. In the last 14 years, I’ve seen countless doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors. I’ve tried Western medicine, meditation, and acupuncture. I’ve had a variety of diagnoses. Fibromyalgia. Repetitive strain injury. Myofascial pain syndrome. And my personal favorite, “It’s all in your head.” Yeah, right, Buster. You try…
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Join Me on the Nothing’s Impossible Carousel!

In three days, I will celebrate an anniversary.  There won’t be any champagne toasts, no moonlit stroll, not even a single long stem, red rose….Well, actually there is one of those.  It’s rather permanent and its garden is very secret.  Only a handful have ever seen it.

This anniversary is of the day, five years ago this Saturday, when I learned for myself, that nothing is impossible.

I remember getting the phone call from the late Darrell Ives, (may his generous spirit rest in peace) as he boarded the band’s charter plane and let me know that he and the guys were on their way to me.  He mentioned where they were staying and asked me to meet him at the venue.  My heart had landed somewhere between my toes.  I was about to meet my musical heroes of the last twenty years and their head security man had just spoken…
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Thank You Al Gore

Okay  . . . I know that Al Gore didn’t invent the internet but I don’t know who did and I’ve got to thank someone!  The worldwide web has been key to my life as a writer and I don’t know what I would do without it.

Now, if you read the first ever post on this blog, then you the know that the Waterworld Mermaids was the result of a raucous game of “Romance Jeopardy” and the meeting of 13 virgins at the Washington Romance Writers retreat.  we came together – all new – but also recognizing names from the WRW Yahoo loop.  The first step in a new friendship – aided by the internet.

Writing is a solitary pursuit. “Butt in chair hands on keyboard” does not lend well to group activity. And if you want to be a writer, then you have to write. But, we…
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