Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to Start your Novel


(source: thewritepractice.com)

I just read this great article  on this awesome website and thought I'd share it!  It's great advice about conflict versus world building!  Read other posts too on this website.  They're really good!  This website also will send you daily writing prompts to practice.  It's a great tool for getting better at writing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Moments That Matter Most





Loved this video about focusing on your family in life!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Self Editing Tips

(source: theatlantic.com)

I finally have some time in between vacations this summer to post!!  I wanted to talk a little bit about self editing tips I have learned over the years.  Self editing can be problematic because once you've stared at your work over and over for weeks and months, you tend to lose objectivity.  I've learned some methods, however, that help you read with objectivity, even if it is your tenth time editing!

1. Read out loud.  This is the best tip I use.  I always find things I've missed, even if I'm reading out loud for the second or third time.  Grammatical errors, pacing, awkward sentences, character and plot inconsistancies are all easier to catch this way.

2. Read the manuscript backwards chapter by chapter.  This is especially helpful for catching grammatical stuff and awkward writing.

3. Put your scenes and sequences on sticky notes and stick them up on the wall in order to check your structure and pacing.  

4. Wait a week or two before picking it up to edit.  This also is the best advice ever.  Once you've had some distance from the manuscript you'll be surprised what pops out at you.

These are the self-editing tips I use all the time.  But after you do all these, it's STILL very important to let other people read your work.  There are things that they will notice that will be very valuable to you as you craft your story.  You need the opinions of others to produce the highest quality product.

Hope you all are having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

My Favorite Humor Writing Book

I can't remember if I've posted this before, but I have a favorite book on writing humor that I refer to over and over. It really taught me all I know about putting humor into my books. The funny thing is....writing humor is actually not fun and games.  It's quite a lot of work using a lot of different tricks. It is definitely something you can learn. You don't have to be naturally "funny" to put humor into your books. I REALLY enjoy humor, but I'm not that witty when I'm talking to people. I just happen to know a lot of tricks that make people laugh when I write...and you can find out about them too. They are all in this book, called, "Comedy Writing Secrets," by Mel Helitzer.


I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! 


Monday, July 07, 2014

Kid Humor

Ha ha ha!  I love kids!

(source: 9gag.com)



Thursday, July 03, 2014

Ahhh! Vacation!

(source: tropicalvacationspotsblog.com)

We're on vacation for the 4th!  Check back next Monday for more fun!  Hope your family has a happy 4th of July!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Guest Author Humor Essay


Today I'd like to welcome author, Rebecca Jamison, to this blog about many random author thoughts.  Rebecca has written THREE awesome novels called, "Persuasion:  a Latter Day Tale", "Emma: A Latter Day Tale," and "Sense and Sensiblitiy: A Latter Day Tale".    Her website is www.rebeccahjamison.com, if you want to check her books out and read her blog.   I am so excited to have her here!


Just for Life on the Funny Farm, Rebecca has composed a humorous family essay about her own family life that I wanted to share with you!   Here it is:  Enjoy!

Homework and the Child Abuse Hotline
By Rebecca H. Jamison


My son, Owen*, wasn’t much for doing homework. Every afternoon after school, I’d sit with him, coaching him through the hour-long ordeal. I tried setting timers, giving rewards, and withholding privileges. Nothing seemed to help, but I stuck with it. For three long years—from first through third grade—Owen completed every homework assignment.

I knew Owen was smart enough to do the work on his own. What I didn’t know was that his mind was occupied in a much grander scheme—a way to get out of the homework hassle altogether. Everything clicked for him one fateful day when a police officer visited his school to talk about child abuse and said these magic words, “If an adult ever does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, call the child abuse hotline.” He then handed Owen a little pamphlet with the hotline number.

That afternoon, Owen came home with a gleam in his eye and the pamphlet in his fist. When I asked him to sit down with me for homework time, he quoted the police officer, “Officer Murphy said that if you do anything that makes me feel uncomfortable, I should call the child abuse hotline.”

“He didn’t mean homework,” I responded.

“Officer Murphy said that if my parents did anything to make me feel uncomfortable, I should call,” Owen said. “The way you force me to do my homework makes me uncomfortable.”

This tactic wouldn’t have worked on most parents, but Owen knew my shameful history. I had already been accused of abusing him. It all had to do with his sister drawing a fake purple birthmark on his bottom (because, you know, every child should have a birthmark.) Someone thought the “birthmark” was a bruise and called child protective services. The officer had cleared me immediately, but I still lived in fear of another report.

So we had a long, psychology-based discussion about how my son felt about homework. I concluded that maybe I was being too hard on him. “Okay,” I said. “I’ll try to be nicer about it.” Because of our long discussion, my son got very little homework done that day.

The next day went about the same. My son wanted to discuss how homework made him so uncomfortable, and I found myself wishing there was some sort of parent-abuse hotline I could call to report Officer Murphy.

A week later, I still hadn’t convinced Owen that making him do his homework was simply good parenting, not abuse. “You know what, Owen,” I said, going out on a limb. “Why don’t you call the child abuse hotline and ask them whether making you do your homework is abusive?”

Owen’s eyes grew wide. “I lost the number.”

Without much effort, I found the pamphlet in a drawer. “It’s right here. Just call and ask them whether making you do homework is abusive. I really want to know.”

I handed him the pamphlet. He didn’t move.

“Here,” I said, picking up the phone for him. “I’ll dial for you.”

Before I got three numbers punched in, my son grabbed the phone from me. “Don’t make me call them, Mom.”

I paused, watching my son. Trying to be as sensitive as possible, I asked, “You mean calling the child abuse hotline makes you feel . . .uncomfortable?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Well,” I responded, “I wouldn’t want you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.” I hung up the phone. “Get to work on your homework.”

Owen sat down, pencil in hand, and did his homework without argument. Thanks to Officer Murphy, I’d found a solution to the homework dilemma.

*Name changed to protect the not-so-innocent.





Monday, June 30, 2014

Humor

Oh my goodness, I usually don't like to laugh at other people's expense.....but this one really had me chuckling!  The poor man!

(source: original 106 FM)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Favorite Pins Friday

I'm in a rush and only have time to post one writing pin, but it's a great one!  All kinds of FREE DOWNLOADABLE SOFTWARE for writers!  Check it out here!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Author Interview with C. David Belt

C. David Belt is the author of a paranormal series called, "The Children of Lilith.  


We are so excited that he took time out of his busy schedule for an interview!!

Welcome, David. What made you start writing?

Thank you, Kersten!  

What made me start writing?  The voices in my head, of course!  (One of them just happens to be a 270 year-old Scottish penitent vampire who lives in Salt Lake City.)  Seriously, though, I get an image in my mind—a tableau, if you will—that won’t let me go until I turn it into a story.  Story ideas can haunt me for years.  The image that inspired “The Children of Lilith” possessed me for a decade before I finally gave voice to it.  My current work-in-progress has been tickling my brain since I first read “King Lear” in high school.  

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I’ve been writing short stories most of my life and some (really awful) poetry.  When I was a twelve, I remember writing a dreadful werewolf story of which I was particularly proud at the time.  I didn’t start my first novel until 2009.  I finished that one about a year later.  It took another year before it was published.  The first copy sold almost immediately.


How do you decide what topics to write about? 

I write whatever’s screaming loudest to escape my noggin.  I love stories of redemption, selfless bravery, and the courage to stand firm in the face of evil.  Stories of personal sacrifice and pure love make me weep like mom at a missionary farewell.  


How do you research your topics?

I’m a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  If I need an expert on just about any subject, chances are I know one.  We’ve got doctors (of various specialties), lawyers, rocket scientists, criminal psychologists, professors of ancient scripture, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.  We’ve got people who are fluent in just about any language spoken on Earth.  We’ve got engineers, nurses, pilots, sailors, soldiers, and homemakers.  I once needed to research details about intubation during emergency surgery.  All I had to do was wait for Thursday night’s rehearsal.  I needed to understand the mind of a serial rapist.  We’ve got an expert on that in the Choir, believe it or not!  I also do a ton of research online.  I do hands-on research.  A variety of swords are featured prominently in “The Children of Lilith,” so I had the perfect excuse to expand my sword collection.  “Honestly, sweetheart, I NEED that German bastard sword so I can write about it accurately in my latest novel!”  (Truth to tell, that works more often than you might think.  I have a wonderfully indulgent wife, at least when it comes to swords and armor!)  


What type of writing schedule do you have? 

Mostly, I start writing at 11:00 PM after the family goes to bed.  About 2:00 AM, I look up, notice the time, reluctantly acknowledge that snoring in my office at work the in the morning might not be the best idea, and slink off to bed.  I also take my laptop with me and write anytime and anyplace I can find a free moment.  I even put the manuscript on my Kindle and take it into the Choir loft at the Tabernacle or the Conference Center and write there if I can find a free moment.   

How do you handle life interruptions?  

Decades ago, as a B-52 pilot in the USAF, I developed the ability to refocus quickly after a distraction.  When you’re flying at more than 400 MPH at 200 feet off the ground (in a jet with a 192 foot wingspan) through mountainous terrain at night, you must always snap back to the task at hand… that or die.  Handle the interruption, take a deep breath, and get back to work.  


What have you always dreamed of writing, but haven't yet? 

Something that will actually be sold at Deseret Book.  For some unfathomable reason, they don’t carry LDS horror… yet.

What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?   

The most?  It is that unexpected moment of pure delight when a character speaks up in my head and says something like, “I would nae ever say such a thing, laddie.  Here’s what I’d say…”  

The least?  Writing action scenes!  I’d much rather write dialogue (especially if the character is dictating it to me).  And action/fight sequences in zero-G are the WORST!

What is your next project? 

I have two projects in the works: one, a standalone science fiction novel with a main character who is LDS, and the other, non-fiction.

“Time’s Plague” borrows themes and character names for Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and is set roughly a century and a half in the future. It starts out on a penal colony on Callisto (one of the moons of Jupiter). The story centers on Edgar, an innocent man, who has been sentenced for life (there can be no parole and no escape from the Hades Penal Colony) for a murder he did not commit. He was framed by his ex-wife, his best friend/business partner, and the cargomaster on the interplanetary freighter that he captained. The prison has no warden and is ruled by the prisoners, all of whom are male. The only non-prisoner is an android doctor who resides in the infirmary, separated from the prison by a secure airlock.  Hades is literally a hellish place populated by murderers and rapists—the worst of the worst. New prisoners and supplies are dropped from orbit and no ship ever lands on Callisto… that is, until a shuttle crash-lands. There is only one survivor—Edgar’s ex-wife, the one person in the universe he hates more than any other. No woman can survive on Callisto. Edgar has to figure out a way to get her off-world and protect her from the other inmates.  And he wants to know WHY she conspired to condemn him to hell.  

I’ve finished the first draft of an untitled non-fiction book on “the whole armour of God”, using the Roman imagery that Paul and his audience would have been familiar with at the time.  I still need to do a reference pass to provide sources for the information I present, and we need to do the photo shoot.  All the photos in the book will be of my son wearing the armor of a Roman officer.  (Yes, I do own all the weapons and armor.)

What is your advice for other writers?  


Be honest.  Don’t cheat.  Do your homework.  Research.  Research.  Research.  Get feedback early and often.  (I get feedback after every chapter.)  And above all, tell the story that YOU want to tell, regardless of whether you think anyone else will like it. 



Thank you so much for that interview David!  I love your advice about getting feedback on every chapter!!  David's website is Here, if you'd like to check out his vampire series!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Humor

This picture made me laugh...because my teenagers get so mad at me for doing this!

source: imgflip.com



Monday, June 23, 2014

My Favorite Recipe Book

(source: firstoptiononline.com)

You may have been wondering why I never post any fast recipes anymore.  Probably not, but I'm going to tell you anyway because it's going to CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!

The reason I haven't been posting fast recipes for the busy writer and mother is because I no longer NEED them.  Because I found the greatest recipe book on earth. (That may be the humorist exaggeration taking over in me, but it's how I feel.)  The book is called, Slow Cooker Revolution, by America's Test Kitchen.


I do not exaggerate when I say I cook out of this every day.  It is full of slow cooker recipes that do not look and taste like mush at the end of the day.  They use real ingredients and the spices they use give it amazing flavor.  My kids LOVE everything I have made from this book, as does my husband.  No, this is not an infomercial, this is just a mother saying to all of you people like me who struggle to get dinner on when we are so busy parenting and writing;  this will solve your problem!

I just put it on in the morning and go.  One less thing to worry about....and there are tons of recipes for every taste, which is why I can cook out of it every day.  I hope it helps your family as much as it helped mine!

Happy writing!  You'll have much more time to do it now!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Editing!

So true!!


Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Favorite Writing Pins

Today is the day I post my favorite writing articles I've read recently! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! (click on the captions below each pictures to get to the articles)














J.K. ROWLING'S WRITING PROCESS IN HER OWN WORDS


HOW TO WRITE THE CLIMAX OF YOUR STORY!!



Have fun reading!!




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Best Writing Advice Ever!

(source: goodreader.com)

When I was beginning my writing career, a friend of mine was a veteran novelist with three published books under his belt.  I asked him what the best tip he could give me was in terms of how to write a great novel.  He said that once, when he was struggling with writing scenes and getting in good description, character, and plotting all at the same time, a writer friend told him to add them one by one instead of all at once.

So he began to write his first draft in order to get the plot down.  When he felt he had gotten the plot fleshed out really well, then he'd go back through each scene and insert setting details, then go back once more and add in character details to make his characters more real and make sure they were maturing and growing at the right pace.

This advice has served me well over the years.  Usually I use it when I am editing after I feel I've finally gotten the story "right."  It really helps me to be sure that each scene has character, plot, and setting, and that I haven't left anything out.

(source: writerswrite.co.za)

So don't worry about trying to get every detail of your story right the first time, or even the second time you write it down.  You can always go back and re-read it to insert any type of thing you want.  You'll find you make more progress and feel less stifled if you aren't worried about adding everything in at once.  Good luck!  And don't forget to pin this to your pinterest "writing" board.  It's advice you'll want to remember!

(source: zazzle.com)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kid Humor

Ha ha ha!!

(source: Sasha Carey)


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers are so Important!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What makes a Bestseller?

(source: eschlerediting.com)

I just read the most fantastic article on "What makes a Bestseller," by literary publisher, Sabine Berlin.  Just wanted to share.  Click here to find out more!

If you want links to more great articles on writing...follow my "writing" pinterest board here.


ALSO DON'T FORGET TO HONOR DAD TOMORROW!!!  MY FAVORITE LAST MINUTE IDEAS ARE POSTED HERE.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Contest/Prizes!


I'm teaming up with another author to offer you all a chance to enter a Star Spangled Summer contest!  Laurie L. C. Lewis is the author of several wonderful patriotic historical fiction novels.  The contest is a chance for families to learn more about their American hertiage and win great prizes by many authors who have teamed up to make it really fun!

Here's Laurie with the details:

This summer marks the anniversaries of some profound American history. The sesquicentennial of the Civil War continues this summer, and August and September mark the 200th of anniversary of significant historical events from the War of 1812. 

August 14th will mark the 200th anniversary of the British burning of America's capital, Washington D.C., including the torching of the White House, known then as The President's House, and the Capitol, which then housed the original Library of Congress. Along with these American architectural treasures, thousands of irreplaceable volumes were lost from our nation's library. 

September 12-13 will mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore, the birth of The Star-Spangled Banner, and the moment America began its love affair with the red, white, and blue,.

Sadly, economic issues and budget cuts have forced the cancellation of many public celebrations planned to mark these poignant events.

So families, it’s time to hit the road and create your own Star-Spangled Summer Adventure! 

Laurie L.C. Lewis, author of the “Freemen and Dreamers” series, which covers this period of history, and some of her author friends are hosting this Star-Spangled Summer Celebration to encourage families to rediscover America and her history. You visit local, state, or federal landmarks with your family, and we’ll provide some added incentive.



Here’s how you enter:

1.       Visit five American historical landmarks, (even your local landmarks count), between Flag Day, June 14th, and Defender’s Day, September 12th.

2.       Email photos of your family standing in front of a sign or building indicating where you went. Use this email address: starspangledsummeradventure@gmail.com

That’s it!

Additional entries will be awarded for those who promote the SSSA by posting the official badge and link on their blog, and link to it via their Facebook page, or on Twitter.  Just send an email with the corresponding link to starspangledsummeradventure@gmail.com

Additional entries can also be earned by submitting a brief, (250 words or less), testimonial recounting your experience on a leg of your “Star-Spangled Adventure.” These will be posted on my blog over the summer.

One family will be selected to win the prize package on September 13th. Visit the official Star-Spangled Summer Adventure page at  http://www.laurielclewis.com/summer-adventure.htm

Prizes are still coming in, but the package now includes a Vivitar Digital Video Recorder; a $50 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond; a commemorative set of the Charters of Freedom, suitable for framing; and a family-worthy collection of autographed books from authors in a variety of genres.

So hit the road, and let us see what great American history you find!

Warmly,
Laurie L. C. Lewis



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Kid Humor

(source: themetapicture.com)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What Should My Next Title Be?

(source: walrusproductions.com)

My publisher wanted me to give her ideas for the title of my next humor book, but frankly, the ones I came up with were rather lame, the best one being "Real Mothers Don't Grow on Trees".  Ahem.  Yeah.  Lame.

The last title, "Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother," really got the book a lot of attention in the LDS market.  This new humor book is for the national market, although it is basically the same humor essays about motherhood format.  What do you think?  What's a good title for a motherhood humor book?

Monday, June 09, 2014

Love

(source: parentingbeyondpunishment)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

How to find a Publisher or Agent

(source: varvara.wordpress.com)

Finding a publisher or an agent is the old chicken and the egg problem.  Which comes first, researching publishers and then writing toward their market?  Or, writing your novel first and then trying to find a market for what you wrote.

I would make a case for the former.  I think it is WAY easier to find a publisher if you research the market FIRST.  Because if you know that no publishers are accepting stories with animal characters in them, then you can avoid having spent a whole lot of time on writing something nobody will buy.  So if you are wanting to write a romance novel.  Look at what is out on the shelves.  Go to the library and read a bunch of books in the type of genre you are interested in. This is to help you avoid putting out the same old thing that is already out there.  You will be able to see where the market is over-saturated.

Then find a copy of the "Writer's Market."  Look up the publishers in the genre you are interested in writing.  Find their websites.  The websites should tell you what each publisher is looking for.  You can do this when finding an agent as well.  Then, once you have a good idea of what publishers and agents are looking for, write away!  You'll be secure in the knowledge that there actually IS a market for what you are writing, and you are not wasting valuable creative energy and writing time.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Favorite Family Pins

Today's the day I post some of my favorite pins that support families! It's also NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY!!  HOW FUN IS THAT?  (click on the captions to go to the sites)  Enjoy!
















Hope your summer is AWESOME!




Monday, June 02, 2014

The Influence of a Mother

I loved this video of the influence a mother has on her daughter. I watched this with my teen and it was a special moment for both of us.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

So True!!!

(source: dumpaday.com)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

How to Design an Easy Author Website

Seriously!  I am embarrassed at how long I waited to figure this out.  It is so easy to design a website on Godaddy.com using their web designing templates.  You can even do wordpress websites through them if you are more inclined to go that way.

Right now Godaddy is having a sale where you can use their web design templates and get a website for $1 a month for a year.  After that the price goes to $5.99/mo, unless you lock in a lower price for more than one year.  The domain is included in the package.

It took me 1 1/2 hours to design this website for myself for the upcoming new book.  Check it out!  What do you think?  I didn't even read any directions or watch any tutorials.  Everything is pretty self-explanatory.   Just use a little experimentation and it becomes very clear.  Try it!  Don't wait as long as me, or hire it done, because it is just so easy!

And just some eye candy for you...I love this time of year when the poppies come out don't you?  It feeds my soul!

(source: wikepedia.org)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Has this happened to You?

How many times has this happened at your house?

(source: feedly.com)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Writing with Irony

Humor writers know that Irony is one of the main weapons in their writing arsenal.  Irony is a tool that writers have been using since the time of the greek tragedies.  Here is a good definition:

i·ro·ny1
ˈīrənē,ˈiərnē/
noun
  1. the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
    "“Don't go overboard with the gratitude,” he rejoined with heavy irony"
    synonyms:sarcasm, causticity, cynicismmockerysatire, sardonicism More
    • a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.
      plural noun: ironies
      "the irony is that I thought he could help me"
      synonyms:paradoxincongruity, incongruousness More
    • a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
      adjective: dramatic

(Source: google.com)

An example of a character who uses irony to be humorous is Kuzco's body guard Kronk in "The Emperor's New Groove."  He is a giant man who performs feats of strength, yet he loves fine cuisine, can cook, and loves to be a woodland guide similar to a girl scout.  This makes his character hilarious!  We expect him to be mean but really he is gentle and sweet.  Watching his ladylike behavior while he tries to guard the emperor, and does it successfully is what makes him funny.

(source: blogs.disney.com)

Another example is the character Bartameaus in the books, "The Bartemeaus Trilogy" by Jonathan Stroud.  



Bartimaeus is a terrible, scary looking genie who likes the finer things in life, is a bit lazy, has a soft spot for humans, and is really kind at heart.  As we watch him try to be terrible with a kind heart it is really funny!

So if you want to add some humor to your writing, try inventing an ironic character:  Someone who appears one way, but acts another.  It will add a depth and humor to your story that your readers will thank you for, and it will make your characters more loveable for lack of a better term, and your readers will be clamoring to read more about them.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

8 Games to Play with your Kids!

Some quality time ideas from another blogger I enjoy!




Even though I don't homeschool, I think there are great ideas on this blog for kids!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kid Humor


(source: lotoflaughters.com)

Ha ha ha!  Reminds me of when I rescued my daughter from hanging by her suspenders on a high cupboard door.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dog Humor

Okay, okay, I could NOT resist posting this for any of you who have dogs in your family.


(source: dumpaday.com)


In one of my humor books, I definitely plan to write about my loving versus adversarial relationship with a dog who is smarter than me.  :-)