Write More, Write Better in 2014

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I’m a bit late with this post after a heavy night to ring in the new year.

After preparing all day (shopping, cooking, cleaning) for a small party for my teenagers, I slinked off to my bedroom and read Divergent until 11 pm, then fell asleep, then woke up in time to share a tepid toast of sparkling grape juice with everyone before staggering back to bed in  stupor of exhaustion. I’m the life of the party!

But despite my lackluster showing this year when it comes to hard partying, I still will give a stab at those new yearly resolutions. For my writing career, I want to write better and more. And maybe take a grammar class on the side.

To help me, I’ve thinned my stacks of writing books down to a few favs. Maybe they’ll boost your writing goals, too.

To jump start a new manuscript I find myself turning again and again to The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Cowden, LaFever, and Viders.

H&HThis book helps me settle on my characters and get clues to how they interact. Think of this book as the wooden, articulated form for sculptors. It’s a basic form to pad and flesh out and make as individual as you like!

Once I have my hero and heroine (and sub-characters) nailed down, I need to figure out what’s important to them. I turn to my well-worn copy of Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon.

GMCI had the fortune to attend one of her classes and it was fantastic. The book is just as good. She helps the author save so much time plotting by forcing the gist of the characters’ goals, motivations and conflicts. What do they want, why do they want it, and what’s going to stop them? I could not recommend this book more.


The last book that I find very helpful is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Ackerman and Puglisi. This books is so helpful in keeping me from having pet words and phrases when describing my characters. It a habit to be dreaded and avoided at all costs.

Of course there are other books out there that are tremendously helpful, but these are the copies that keep me coming back for more–which I hope parlays into better writing and more completed novels.

And I have lots of story ideas simmering on that back burner!

What are your goals for the new year?


2014 – Planning Out the New Year by Pepper Phillips

Goals 2014

I admit I love lists…and spreadsheets.

In my computer I have a ‘House’ worksheet. It is huge!

Cleaning Schedule, Books I own, Books I read, To-Do list, Errand list (oh yeah, I have passed by the bank four times because I was thinking of something else while driving). Calendar for the year that runs down the page with Birthdays and Anniversaries keyed in and other important appointments. My Wal-Mart shopping list where the items are keyed in according to aisle…then they change things around and I can’t find anything.  Plus lots of other information I deem necessary to run my life.

Then there is my writing life.  I have several spreadsheets keeping track of my career.  Sales, Progress, Plan…some are new, designed by other wonderful women who love spreadsheets, and some are mine.

Yesterday I sat down and planned out the first six months of 2014. Which books I would finish or start and finish and the list is impressive. I hope I can stick to it this year. Last year was a dud in my book. I hit a brick wall on one book and it’s still not finished. However, it is down for February.

Right now I’m stalled on my NANO book, which isn’t nearly at 50k words, it wasn’t supposed to be that length as it’s a novella. Plans were that I would finish it by the end of the year. I have two days.

Can I do it? Yes, if I work like a demon for two days. But then there is other work, some of which I must finish today, so my morning is already planned out.

I’m comfortable with a list, it keeps me on track, they help me accomplish what I want to get done…like writing this blog for the day. It’s on the list.

I was telling a grandkid the other day that before my hubby and I married, we made a list of things we wanted to accomplish together. We hit every item on that list except for the last one. Instead of retiring to operate a hunting and fishing lodge, we expanded into something bigger but we still house and feed people.

I can’t imagine living without a goal to strive to…this year’s goal is to get my stories out there.

What are your goals for the new year?


Image credit: convisum / 123RF Stock Photo