Category Archives: My Writing Journey

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My front porch post – © Tracy Campbell

What?

Let me finish.

This is my last blog post because…I’m moving!

Where?

To a self-hosted, WordPress blog. Actually, I’ve moved and you just didn’t know it.

Why?

Features were missing on WordPress.com that I wanted.

Like What?

Well…

  • I wanted a unique blog

Imagine a world where all blogs were the same. Boring! So that’s why my patient, tech savvy designer, Karen Behne implemented my quirky ideas to create a blog and a website that reflects my wacky style. (Don’t peek yet!)

Unfortunately, I can’t take you with me and that means I run the risk of losing many of you.

Now What?

You’ll have to sign up again. Perhaps, after you visit my new blog and website you will,—sign up that is! I can only hope. 🙂

If I’ve piqued your curiosity, you’ll just have to pop on over and check out my new blog. And on my website, you’ll find a project I’ve finally completed, and I have another project in the works–details to be revealed at a later date.

Now that I’ve spread my wings and I’m soaring, I leave you with my butchered rendition of So Long, Farewell from the Sound of Music.

So Long, Farewell

There’s a sad sort of clanging

From the tractor in our barn,

And a gray field mouse squeaks, too.

Peering out the window

From my cozy studio,

A furry Crested yaps

along with me to say,

So long, farewell,

Auf Widersehen,

Goodbye.

So long, farewell,

Adios, Adieu, Au revoir,

To you and you, and you!

I leave and sigh.

Oh no, I’m glad to go,

I must not tell a lie.

So long, farewell,

Auf Widersehen,

Good…bye!

Don’t forget to visit me at my new and improved blogging homeclick here

Thank you! 🙂

Please leave your comments on my new blog.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Terrol!

So Long, Farewell – This Is My Last Blog Post!

Week 6 – Summer Short & Sweet Challenge – Have You Been Bullied?

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This week, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Week 6 challenge is to come up with a pitch for a picture book. I offered sweets in my first pitch.

Badge created by Loni at http://www.loniedwards.com

A writer needs to include three key elements for a successful pitch—character, conflict, and stakes.

Susanna’s definition is a:
“[Character] who [a unique, special, or defining characteristic of said character] wants/needs [goal] more than anything but can’t get it because of [obstacle(s)].

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write an awesome pitch (or 2 or 3) for a picture book. The fun part? It doesn’t have to be for a book you’ve written. Or even intend to write.

It can be a pitch for something you think up right here right now this very second! Or a pitch for a work-in-progress! Or a pitch for a bit of an idea you’ve been ruminating on since breakfast! Or a pitch for someone else’s published book – you take the story and boil it down into a pitch! Or take the idea from someone else’s published book, or a nursery rhyme, or a fairy tale, and change a detail of the plot, setting, character, POV etc. and make it into a new pitch idea! Anything goes!”

The challenge got me thinking about bullies.

Tracy Campbell - Whimsical Work of Art

Tracy Campbell – Whimsical Work of Art

Here are four scenarios:
Your boss threatens your job when you refuse to work weekends
Your ex-spouse threatens to keep your children from you
The new kid in class threatens to beat you up
The big, bad wolf threatens little red riding hood

Yes, bullies exist even in fiction. And no matter our age, we’ve all encountered a bully or two.

So here’s my first pitch on a fairy tale.

Timid, red riding hood needs to swallow her fear when the big, bad wolf breaks into her cottage, snatching her last batch of oatmeal cookies.

Here’s a second pitch from my middle grade novel.

Working Title: “Georgia Rose McLean and the Poisonous Paper Plane”

A new boy in class jams bubblegum into eight-year-old, impulsive, Georgie’s ponytail. When her hair-brained scheme for revenge backfires, she thinks she can never go home.

My pitch needs work. A pitch should be no more than 25 words. An ideal pitch is 12 to 17 words.

For more information on what makes up a good pitch, check out Janice Hardy’s blog post

To find out what some of the top fears and concerns parents may have about sending their children off to their first day of school, check out Positive Parental Participation’s blog post. 

Have you dealt with a bully? How did you handle the bully? Would you have handled it differently?

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Three Tips for a Successful Writing Career

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Coming up with original posts each week is a challenge. On Monday’s, I write a “To Do List”. On this long list are the words, “Post a blog on Saturday”.

I take a deep breath and then exhale. “Great, I still have five days to come up with something half intelligent.”

At the beginning of the week, I’m surfing the net hoping something will inspire me. By Friday, I’m scouring the net, desperate for an epiphany to strike. Then I stumble across a quote. I have an “ah ha” moment. I’ve discovered a gem.

Raymond Chandler wrote:

I’m further inspired because he was an author who didn’t start writing until he was forty-five-years-old. There’s hope for me yet.

Below are my thoughts on what this quote means to me:

Ability

I believe I’m capable of writing. And I believe we all possess the ability to become great writers. But it takes hard work.

Yes, I said hard work.

For me, writing doesn’t come easy. Even though I’ve read a trunk load of “How to Write” books, it’s a struggle. I digest what I’ve read by highlighting passages with a blue marker, and when that marker dries up, I pick up a pink one, and then a yellow one…you get the point. I read novels and short stories in an attempt to figure out how writers weave their sentences together. They make it appear effortless, but that’s the sign of a great writer.

Then a light bulb switches on in my brain and I say, “By George, I think I’ve got it.”

Ah, but when I try to carry out what I’ve learned—poof it vanishes. So I try again, and again, and again.

Case in point—I’m reading a book by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy, “Writing Fiction for Dummies.” (Now that’s an appropriate title.) They say, “A scene has two levels of structure, and only two. They are: the large-scale structure and the small-scale structure.”

They continue to say, “The large-scale structure of a scene is extremely simple. A scene has the following three-part pattern: goal, conflict and disaster. A sequel has the following three-part pattern: reaction, dilemma and decision.” Sounds simple enough. So now I’m trying to ensure my large and small-scale structure works in my novel. It’s a painful process. But with tenacity and hard work, I’ll figure it out.

Motivation

Where does my motivation come from?

It comes from within. It’s a desire planted in me by God. It’s the drive to accomplish something worthwhile. My motivation also comes from having a great support system in place. I’m blessed because I network with other writers and I belong to two amazing writing groups. They (and you know who you are) consistently provide encouragement. It gets me through those days when I think, “Is this really what I’m supposed to do with my life?”

Attitude

Truthfully, some days my attitude sucks. I wrinkle my nose and grit my teeth, certain I look like I’ve just sucked on a sour lemon. On those days, I’m ready to chuck my laptop out the window. Then I come to my senses, bow my head, and pray, “Lord, I need an attitude adjustment.”

Today, my attitude is positive. It may take years before I’m proficient enough to write a book, but with help from above, encouragement from my writing buddies, hard work, and of course, possessing the right attitude…

“By George, I’ll get a novel published.”

Until next week, remember…

“Life is a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

If you can relate, leave a comment or two.

Aside

I participated in an online writers’ quiz that I found on Randy Ingermanson’s site, click here. Randy is an award-winning author of six novels and one, non-fiction book.

I was relieved to learn that there was no right or wrong answer. The purpose of the writers’ quiz was a benchmark to determine where I stood as a writer.

Randy breaks down the writers’ journey into four stages.
1. Freshman
2. Sophomore
3. Junior
4. Senior
He said each stage should take about a year. And then hopefully I’ll be on my way to publication.

There were five questions. Each question was out of 10. Here are my results.

How long have I been serious about my writing?
Between two and three years – 5 points.

How did my critique partners rate my level of writing?
They say my writing is good. Some days I don’t agree – 6 points

How long was the longest writing conference you’ve ever attended?
I’ve been to a three-day conference – 7 points

How many editors and agents have you talked with in person?
I’ve talked to an editor about my YA novel and she asked me to submit it when it’s done – 7 points

How many proposals have you submitted to publishers or agents?
I’ve submitted a proposal to one agent – 5 points

I received 30 points out of a possible 50. Yeah! That means I’m a Junior and I’m on track.

These points are just an estimate of where I’m headed on my journey to publication. As Randy says, “The important this is to get published, not to score points on a quiz!”

Take the quiz and let me know where you are on this exciting journey.

Take a Writers’ Quiz