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Monday, May 12, 2008

Let Me Rephrase That

I'm in the middle of a manuscript revision these days. Part of that process is to improve the dialogue between the hero and heroine. Thanks to me, sometimes James doesn't quite get his point across. Other times Rebecca gives a dull reply. So, I endeavor to sharpen his wording and put a bit more spice in hers.

How often in life do I muff up my words? Far too often, if I'm honest. I'll speak before I think about the consequences and hurt someone I care about. I'll say something better left unsaid. Or I'll put off saying what someone most needs to hear.

It struck me that I can learn from my characters. Every word they say counts, or should anyhow. I strive hard to help them express themselves clearly, to be sure that what they say matters. But am I as careful about the things I say? Or do I blurt things out and spend time regretting my words?

The tongue is such a small part of the body, but what trouble it can cause when I allow it free reign. What I say in haste can tear someone down, but I can also use my words to encourage and bless others when I take the time to choose them wisely.

Unlike my characters, I don't get the chance to rephrase or revise what I say. Helpful or hurtful, once I open my mouth and utter my words, there is no deleting them. Thank goodness for those small, but important phrases that can help when I blow it: "I'm sorry" or "Please forgive me." And thanks to the wonderful people who extend grace and allow me to learn from my mistakes.

I continue to work on my dialogue, marveling when James and Rebecca's conversation flows. And I continue to work on my own speech, rejoicing when what I say builds another up or brightens someone's day.

Here's hoping someone will say something today that makes a positive difference in your life.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Not-so-solitary Writing Life

When I began writing in earnest a little over two years ago, I knew no other fiction writers. My family and friends are incredibly supportive, but they don't have characters chattering in their heads at all hours or know what it's like to have a story begging to be put on paper. As much as they care about me and give me tremendous support and encouragement, they aren't writers.

I've attended three Christian writers conferences. What a thrill it is to sit in a room full of others who share my love of writing. I received wonderful instruction, and I met some terrific people. Talking with them about their writing journeys watered my parched soul.

Being a Golden Heart® finalist has opened up a whole new world. I had the privilege of being a guest on The Seekers blog along with the other inspirational finalists and was invited to join the 2008 GH loop. I'm now in contact with incredibly talented women who share my passion for romance writing and am learning so much from them. I check my e-mail and find uplifting messages from fellow writers all across the country and as far away as Australia.

Although I spend hours holed up at home in front of my computer screen, I no longer feel isolated. New friends are a click of the mouse away.