I finally found a Nicholas Sparks movie I like.

The Best of Me. Unlike The Longest Ride, this one had way more depth, and more emotional connections between the characters. You believe in the romance they form. You believe in the relationships they make. You want them to succeed. You believe these are real people, who want real things, and go about getting it their own way.

Granted, I found some of the twists predictable. SBT can attest to the number of times I shouted out for characters who were then injured, or gasped in places where I assumed one thing, and then was given another. It had some other good twists, though! Things that were set up earlier in the movie, and came back to haunt people. Those are the best kinds.

Also, I could’ve sworn the main character Amanda looked familiar. I was right. I knew I’d seen her somewhere else. (I also knew I’d seen the main character Dawson somewhere. Enchanted was a damn good movie.)

For these reasons, I don’t have much to say about it.

In general, though, I’ve noticed a few things about the Sparks movies I’ve seen that I’ve touched on before. They’re always white. They’re always hetero. They’re about people from “different worlds.” They typically have some sort of country backdrop. They have some sort of time jump, be it going back in time for a parallel love story, or going back in time to when the leads were younger. And the leads are always super young and super good-looking.

It gets boring. And predictable. I mean, yes, this movie was fun for a girl’s night, something (fairly) easy and flirty and heart-wrenching when you want to watch people kiss. But I can do better.

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Dreams about dogs…

…and shock collars and microchips.

This is what I get for watching all those training videos.

(And I still have to level up with the “leave it” practice. They’re getting there — they’re learning to not just eat the food right out of my hand. But they don’t quite have it yet.)

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#ROW80: the story moves forward

Figured out that little snag from before. When characters do things out of character, for the sake of the plot, you can feel it.

Really, everyone can. You might not have words for it if you don’t know that that’s what’s happening, but when you get to a point where a character who always lies starts randomly telling the truth, it gets your attention. It doesn’t feel good. You can feel something off about it, and it drags you out of the story.

That’s what happened this past week. I didn’t realize it at first, but the editor’s comment on it caught me (because it caught her). “Why does the character all of a sudden start doing what she’s told just because one person tells her to? She hasn’t up until now.”

No, I realized. She hasn’t. So why did I say that she did?

Because her doing what she does would keeping people around her in the dark about what had just happened. It would make the reveal for what happened more shocking for the other characters.

Except not really. It just makes the character feel like someone we don’t recognize.

So I changed it: saved the story as a new document, went in with red font, and played around with the scenes where the character acts strange. I think it reads better now. I also feel better about it — that nagging sense of “why is this part so wrong?” is gone.

Now, to fix other small-but-not-small discrepancies.

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Of Progress! We’re Making Some.

The fence is going up. It’s happening in fits and starts and little tiny pieces, but it’s happening. Boyfriend is playing the role of Hammer, in that he’s doing most of the work. Because of course.

It helps that he’s the strongest of us all, and if there was ever a Male Snow White movie about stereotypically desired male attributes, he could play Snow White. (Or I guess you’d have to rename it to something like Broad Shoulders so that it could both maintain the idea behind the princess’s name, and match the male appearance in question.)

Anyway, I digress. The fence is going up, and all will be well with the world after it’s finished. 🙂

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On Doubt

I thought this article would pretty much exactly what I needed to read right now. It’s not, but it’s interesting (partly because I did some research on Jonestown while writing book 2), and it touches on what I needed — sort of — towards the bottom.

I have a lot of doubt right now for professional reasons. I’m doubting moves I’m making, and which ones will set me back. I’m asking for tons of advice, and not sure about any of it.

Our fear, Liz Gilbert says, is the most boring thing about us. We all have the same fears.

So what you have to do is make choices. Make the best choices you can right now. And then, in the future, if you find out something that, had you known it today, would’ve changed your choice: forgive yourself. Forgive yourself, knowing that you are doing the best you can with what information and options you have available to you.

<3

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One Stupid Little Argument…

…and I have no idea how to fix it. It happens right at the 3/4 point of book 2, and is critical to get through because of what happens at the end of the book. But it’s just not there yet. It doesn’t sit right with me. Time to find out what’s there, what’s still unknown, and what needs to stay unknown until the last possible second.

Good thing I like lists.

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Describing Frightened

It’s worrying your fingers while you wait for the dentist to come back and give you Novocaine for a wisdom tooth withdrawal.

It’s being the last group to perform in a series of short plays, and realizing you can’t remember your first line the second you get on stage.

It’s walking down the hall to find your basement door open, and then it hits you: where did you last see the cat? Did it get out?!

It’s the ticking clock in the back of your mind, counting down the days to when you move out for good. It’s wondering if it’ll really be alright, or if you’re just opening the door for something waiting in the wings.

#ROW80:

I’m this close to finishing the prequel short story draft for my news friends, which I avoided all weekend because sad things are tough to write, and I wanted to get it right the first time. (I’ll be talking more about this, and some other changes I’m making, in the next news issue.)

Oh, and there’s also been progress with book edits. Somehow, they’re making it through all my efforts at procrastination.

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Also, from today through the end of the month, my book is only $0.99 on Amazon. <3

“Later,

she’d figure out how to finish whatever her mama had started.”

From book 2 of the Almost Human Series.

I love it when lines like this make their way into my drafts. <3

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#ROW80 and One Line

I’m making way more progress on my book than I thought I would. Doesn’t mean drafting new material is always easy, though. 😉 I like that layers get added to it in revision, and I hope they add more depth to the story. Right now, it just sounds (to me) like I’m forcing conversations to happen between characters.

But that’s how I always feel…

And today, we might work on the dog fence! My body has never been more ready. Not even kidding.

Here’s a line from the book, in case you’re interested:

With a sigh, Helena sat next to her, looping her arms around her upraised knees. For about a minute, they sat with the July sun baking the tops of their black and brown heads. Zara tried not to count the precious seconds of quiet she had left before her family showed up, reminding her of everything she’d failed to do. At the end of that minute, though, Helena asked, “You wanna tell me what’s going on?”

Freshly written today, definitely going to be edited in the future, but I like it. It’s decent work for a draft.

Want more of this? Then come get up close and personal with me and my projects on the first Monday of every month.

Of the Saturday Evening Post

I should’ve been posting these at night from the start because then I could’ve titled them like this, and they would’ve been a clever reference.

Do you have things to do that you don’t want to? Yeah. My list of things includes:

  • making book edits (this is more fear-based than anything, but you can read more about it here),
  • walking the dogs (they pull), and
  • (this is the one I’ve been scared to admit) updating things (esp. FB, Twitter, IG)

It’s easier to just say “here’s what I’m doing” than divine up glorious pictures and follow everyone’s feeds. I have a doggie fence to construct (not even kidding), and lots of marketing-based changes to make to The Road to Hell. (Not to the story, but to pretty much everything else around the story. News friends, you’ll hear about this first…once I have things more firmly in place.)

For right now, have a look at where my head’s been:


 This is a draft (one of many, apparently) of a book 2 prequel short story I’m working on. Basically, deleted scenes that didn’t make the cut for being Not the Main Story, but give you some insight into the before of everything. News friends, this is one of the ways I’m saying I LOVE YOU!
I also personally love bonus content, so I’m enjoying this when I’m not freaking out over which version to go with — longer, or shorter…

Want more of this? Then come get up close and personal with me and my projects on the first Monday of every month.