Some Light Reading

Work and family continue to keep me busy this month. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite posts from the blog. These aren’t necessarily the “reader favorites,” but I think they’re good glimpses at the various aspects of me. For newer readers who may not have seem them, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check them out. And maybe long-time followers will enjoy a rerun or two.

This is the (in)famous Watergate complex, including the hotel, which was in the news quite frequently in the early 1970s….

How I Got Here Redux recaps two early posts I made in 2011. It describes how I started writing a few years ago. Since the post was written, I’ve decided to shelve Summer at the Crossroads, which features in the post, at least for the foreseeable future. Still, they were good posts that didn’t see too many readers.

This little short piece of fun fiction also didn’t garner many comments or views. It’s by no means great, but I enjoyed writing it.

Who knew this little attempt at haiku would ultimately lead to the Meghan Bode Mysteries?

And just when I thought I’d wrestled one of my writing weaknesses into submission, a reality check bit me in the behind.

If you’re a writer and feeling a bit stuck, you might try out this exercise. If nothing else, it’s good writing practice. And you might also be surprised by what you learn.

I’m glad to say I’m still making progress with this part of my life—and getting compliments, not laughs.

And, of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without two of my most recent posts about the younger me.

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So there we have some posts that I really thought were good insights into me and my writing. I hope you have the time to visit some of them that are either new to you or are ones you enjoyed when they were written. And I also hope your week’s off to a good start.

26 thoughts on “Some Light Reading

    • Thanks, Gemma. 🙂 It is so different from what I normally write, but it was a lot of fun. Char’s suggestion of using zombies to get past writer’s block really did work for me. I think it’s a good tool to have in the writer’s toolbox!

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  1. JM, it probably won’t be a surprise to you that I really enjoyed reading about how/when you decided to start writing your novels. The short story was cute too!

    I’m still so curious about the premises of both of your novels. I know you’ve decided to put Summer at the Crossroads aside (for now) but you are such a good writer. I can’t wait to have the chance to read them! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Arlene. 🙂 I really hope to get back to Death Out of Time soon. And maybe someday the characters from Crossroads and I can come up with something that works for readers beyond me. I still feel like I let them down, and that’s been weighing on me since the first beta comments came in. Since spring, I haven’t really been able to do much more than finish Meghan’s last story. I hope that will change once I get home this weekend. I suspect every writer goes through at least one period of serious self-doubt, and this has been one for me. But Meghan keeps whispering, and I keep hoping that’s a good sign. 🙂

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  2. It was fun to go back and replay those posts. Once I started reading the zombie story, I asked myself “When did she post that because I totally remember the whole zombie theme.” When I saw March 2012, my jaw dropped. It couldn’t have been more than a year ago!! It’s fun to return to old posts, especially to read all the comments and to see how our points of view have changed over time.

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    • Isn’t it amazing how quickly time can pass? I still can’t believe it was four years ago that I started writing fiction for fun. Or that last March I thought I was close to being ready for publication! Luckily, I was smart enough to send the WIPs out for additional beta reads. Now, I’m relearning to write for fun first and trying to improve my technique. Maybe shorter works like Meghan’s stories will be the way for me to go rather than novels. We’ll see. Now that I’ve had this break with visiting family and friends and work may be settling down, I’ll see what the Muse and the characters would like to do….

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  3. I haven’t been able to look at all of these, but I really enjoyed the recap, and the zombie story. I thought Tricia was a little girl on some sort of adventure with Duane and Slimer! 🙂

    Good idea to offer these tastes of your archives. You should use one of your Sundries posts to let us know how much it spikes your hits and comments. 😉

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    • Well, for some bloggers, the “spike” might have been unnoticed. 😉 But for my stats, it looks like a number of readers did go to visit these posts. Maybe everyone didn’t hit all of them, but every post did receive at least five views. For a summertime post for a blogger like me, that’s a significant number of new views!

      Char’s suggestion to try writing about zombies when facing a brick wall, really did work for me in this case. The story was fun to do and helped me realize I wasn’t out of ideas for writing.

      I did think it was funny, though, that characters from a friend’s WIP would suggest the idea to me rather than any of my own! 🙂

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  4. Pingback: Reading is part of the writing process | 5 Writers 5 Novels 5 Months

  5. It was really great to read these pieces that you wrote before I started following you – they’re interesting, eclectic, funny and evocative – and with some great advice too – I love the idea of asking your characters what they think of what you’ve written about them.

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    • Thanks, Andrea. 🙂 I wanted to offer a mix of posts that reflect the various sides of me. If I’m anything, it’s complex…. I really encourage the exercise of letting your characters tell you what they think, whether you’re an outliner or “pantser” and whether you think characters are your own creation or they exist somewhere “out there.” I think it can offer some good insights that help flesh them out or to let us know about something important we’ve missed about them.

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  6. I hadn’t seen the zombie one – that’s a lot of fun and I can see how zombies could be a cure for writer’s block. 🙂 It’s nice to be able to go back in time like this while remembering those posts and some of those winter days of entertaining ourselves. Now it’s on to summer!

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    • Hmm, summer…. I’m currently in Chicago where the high was about 53 today with strong winds and morning rain. It didn’t feel like summer at all! 😀 But we’re heading back home tomorrow where it probably is summer. That isn’t always a great thing…. 😉

      Char’s suggestion to write about zombies is a good one—writing this little story really helped me get going again. So if you’re ever stuck, go ahead and give it a try.

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  7. I got a chuckle out of reading how your academic writing crept into your fiction. When I was facilitating salmon recovery efforts in WA state, I worked with many scientists and public sector officials–their writing is much as you describe. Helping them communicate more effectively with lay people was part of my job. I used to tease some of them by saying, “Just delete 2/3 of your ‘of’ words and your writing will become much clearer.”

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    • What’s really hard now is when I’m editing research reports. Part of me wants to make them “simpler” and reading more like a novel. And that’s not what our reviewers and audience expect—or want! “Lose the jargon” my creative brain thinks. “Not acceptable!” replies my left brain. 😉 Switching between the two is tough. For the day job, the academic writing is a must. For my fiction, I need to remember the off switch! Maybe someday I’ll succeed? 🙂

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  8. Having had to write my share of dry reports, I was often tempted to stick a joke in the middle to see if anyone actually read them!

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  9. Pingback: WIPpets, Light and Wonder, and Thirteen Helmets | regimcclain

  10. Love these kind of round ups. Awesome. 🙂 For me it was fun to revisit some of the oldies but goodies. For new readers, it’s a fabulous way to introduce some of your great posts that they missed. 🙂

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    • Once we start following a number of blogs, it’s hard to find time to check out someone’s archives. And there are usually great posts hiding there. 🙂 I figure this is an easy thing to post every so often to let newer followers know about them.

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