Seriously Write: The Discipline of Writing and the Fear of Failure by Olivia Rae

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@SandraArdoin

Even after publishing six books and having four other manuscripts looking for a publisher, I still struggle with sitting down to write.

Are you languishing in finishing your book? Author Olivia Rae visits the Seriously Write blog today and shares her encouragement to battle a fear of failure, as well as five tips that could help you conquer procrastination.

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What are your favorite writing strategies for finishing a book?

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Strong and Courageous: Am I Good Enough to Write This Story? by Marie Wells Coutu

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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Today, Marie Coutu shares the fear writing can instill when we choose to do something different with our stories. Welcome, Marie!

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Am I Good Enough to Write This Story?

I have a great idea for a novel. Or is it?

While trying to come up with an idea for a third novel in the historical series I’m working on, I thought of a possible plot. Then I envisioned a heroine who holds the key to resolving the hero’s troubles. She saw something, but she won’t say anything. Why not?

What if she is mute?

The idea seemed so good, I had to get up and write it down. (Some of my best ideas come when I’m in bed trying to fall asleep. Good for my writing, but not so good for my sleep patterns.)

Fast forward a day. The next night, as I lay awake, I realized how hard it might be to write a heroine who can’t talk. Especially in a romance. I mean, you can’t have juicy dialogue if one of your main characters doesn’t speak. So much for having your best parts of the story “between the quotes.”

Other writers have published successful novels with mute characters. Ginny Yttrup’s fabulous Words features a young girl who doesn’t talk. Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin includes a smThirsting for More Front COVER finalall boy who remains silent, and the other characters don’t know if he can’t or simply won’t speak. And apparently The Stand by Steven King has a mute character. (I don’t read horror, so I’m going on what I found online.)

Those authors, however, already excel at the craft and in sales. I have only three published novels and this would be only my sixth full-length book. (Actually, I just discovered Words was Yttrup’s debut novel. That’s reassuring.) But am I ready to tackle such a challenge, to include a handicapped character as my heroine?

Writing is all about improving our craft, expanding our horizons, stretching ourselves. If this were my first novel, I could make the attempt, then discard the whole idea if I found I couldn’t do it justice. But I need to include blurbs for three books in the proposal I’ll be pitching in a few weeks. My critique partner likes this idea, and the character is beginning to come to life in my head. (She’s not talking to me yet, though.)

Will I let fear reign, decide I’m not good enough as a writer yet, and search my files and my brain for a different idea? Or should I rise to the challenge and tackle this story, stretching my ability as a novelist? Dare I claim the same promise David made to his son Solomon: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or terrified. The Lord God, my God, will be with you” (1 Chronicles 28:20, GW)?

If I can pull it off with excellence, with God’s help the story could be one of my best books yet.

I’d love to hear what readers of this post think.

******

Marie Wells Coutu began making up stories soon after she learned to talk. At age seven, she convinced neighborhood kids to perform a play she had written. A native of Hopkinsville, she received BA and MA degrees from Murray State University where she majored in journalism and drama. After a career working in journalism and public relations, she returned to her first love—writing fiction—at the age TFM meme 99 cent April 2018of fifty-five.

Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the series was a finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards Contest and a semi-finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by Florida Writers Association. Her newest novel, The Secret Heart, from Write Integrity Press is set in Tennessee and Kentucky. An unpublished historical novel set near Golden Pond has been a finalist in five contests.

You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook page (Author Marie Wells Coutu), at her website (MarieWellsCoutu.com), or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu) or on Amazon.com.

Marie’s second book, Thirsting for More, which was a finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards, will be on sale for 99 cents April 15-21 (Kindle version). Check her website, MarieWellsCoutu.com, for more information.

 

 

Seriously Write: A Writer’s Perseverance by Sharee Stover

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@SandraArdoin

Do you ever see words and cringe because you know there’s a lesson behind them? For instance, the word perseverance for me conjures images of slogging through quicksand while carrying an oversized backpack. 

Sharee Stover visits the Seriously Write blog today with insight into what she’s learned from her dog about writing.

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Do you have that cheering section that encourages you to keep on keeping on when it comes to your writing?

Book Review: Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington by Annette M. Irby

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@SandraArdoin

Bainbridge Island is the second book by Annette M. Irby in the Finding Love on… series. Jenna-Shea Brown, its heroine,  is a character from the first book. Read my review for Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington here.

Shea Brown is a therapist who suffers from PTSD and, frankly, a mistrust of long-ago boyfriend, Liam Barrett. When circumstances throw them back together and they rediscover lost love, Liam distrusts his own ability to be reliable—a flaw he believes he inherited.

Shea is terrified that her new boss will find out how broken she is. After being frightened by a cockatiel while talking on the phone to her dad, Shea must get herself together:

She felt her blood pressure ease back toward normal. ‘It’s fine, Dad.’ Her voice shook. ‘Just a talkative bird.’

‘Well, good grief.’ You scared me there. He didn’t say it, but she heard the additional words in her mind. ‘Are you okay?’

Her breathing was still staggered on her long sigh, but yes. She’d be fine. ‘Better now. Thanks, Dad.’ No need to worry him. In truth, she’d need a good half hour to bring her heart rate all the way back to normal. With Dad on the phone at least she hadn’t dissociated this time. That was a victory.

Dad went quiet. The bird stayed where it was—perched on a skinny slab of wood that wouldn’t support her collection of fat candles. That mantel would have to go. Dad took a deep breath. “You’re still being triggered.”

She tried so hard to hide this broken part of herself.

The talkative bird belongs to Liam’s great aunt. Auntie Mat is a charmer with her theatrical gift for bursting into various accents on a moment’s notice and the way she dotes on Liam, treating the man she raised as if he were her own son. At one point, I found her laugh-out-loud funny. Except, Auntie Mat has a secret.

The story is peopled with numerous characters to grab the sympathy and caring of the reader. Besides the love story and Shea’s issue, a subplot involves Liam’s AWOL father, Jack, the man he hasn’t seen since he was a child—the man who now wants to make contact.

Then there’s Liam’s frenemy Burr. Dylan Burgess’s nickname fits as he’s like a sand burr in Liam’s shoe. But, oh my, his story really made me long for a happy life for him.

While I thought Shea’s mistrust of Liam’s reliability (and the reason for it) wasn’t as developed as it could have been, I didn’t find this book to be a sappy romance. It struck a chord of reality and moved at a good pace. Forgiveness and envy are major themes.

I’m giving the story 4.5 stars for the writing, the characterization, humor, and the genuineness of the relationships.

Do you have a favorite book set in a beach community?

Seriously Write: Names by Carol G. Heilman

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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

How does a writer of fiction name his characters? 

Does he pull them out of thin air? Not likely. 

Join Carol G. Heilman on the Seriously Write blog today as she talks about ways she uses to name her fictional characters.

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How do you choose the names of your characters?

 

In addition…

The ebook of my novella, The Yuletide Angel, is on sale for $.99! Grab it on Amazon while you can get it at the special price!

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