#62 - Abinadi

Having read the Out of Jerusalem series by H.B. Moore, I knew I would love her newest book, Abinadi. And I wasn't disappointed.

Before reading Abinadi, I never wondered what the Prophet's life might have been like before the events that occur in the Book of Mormon. Moore not only asks those questions, but she answers them. She takes research and knowledge about the peoples living in Mesoamerica at the time of Abinadi, and combines that with a healthy dose of imagination, weaving a story that is both believable and engaging.

The story begins with Abinadi as a young man, a believer of the true gospel in a time when King Noah rules in wickedness. Abinadi falls in love with a young woman named Raquel, but his hopes for a marriage seem unatainable. As the daughter of one of King Noah's priests, she is expected to marry a member of the King's court.

Another young man soon enters the scene: Alma, a new priest in King Noah's court, whose father had been an advisor to King Zeniff. He remembers a time when King Zeniff ruled in righteousness, and feels his conscience prick him as he lives the lifestyle that comes with being one of King Noah's priests.

The story is filled with action and intrigue, and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page. But the thing I loved most about this book was the way the characters came to life on the page. The story of Abinadi has so much more meaning when we see him as a real person, as full of hopes and loves and fears as any one of us.

Abinadi is the first book in a series Moore is doing on the Book of Mormon prophets. I look forward to reading her next book, Alma the Elder, with the continuation of Alma's story as he carries the work of Abinadi forward.

I highly recommend Abinadi, and all of Moore's books. Don't miss the chance to study the lives of these great prophets in a way you never have before.

You can read more reviews and get information on Moore's upcoming books at her blog: My Writer's Lair

#61 - NaNo Update

As many of you know, I'm not doing an official NaNo challenge this year. I have another book I /have/ to finish. But I'm trying to use NaNo as a motivator in finishing that book.

And I've written over 18,000 words!

I don't know if I'll win NaNo this year, but if I can write "The End" on a book I've been working on for a decade, even if I don't finish it until Christmas, I'll definitely count myself as a winner.

Right now, my total novel is over 38,000 words. That doesn't count the scenes I've written but haven't added back in to this "final first" draft.

I'll report back in later in the month to let you know how I'm coming along. Maybe I'll make a major push over this last week to see what I can really do. I would have to write 4500 words per day to make it. Hmmm. Technically, I know I could do it, but realistically . . . I'll do my best. :D

#60 - My First Blog Award

So, can you believe I received a blog award for the first time and I haven't posted about it yet??? That just shows you how much I'm working on my book! (Or reading while eating big marshmallows. Between the two, my time is completely monopolized.)

So . . . Drumroll . . .

Elana "Hearts" my blog!!

Thank you Elana! I "heart" your blog too! :)

So, my first role as, um . . . whatever I am now, is to award five more people with this prestigious award.

It was difficult to choose. So many great blogs, so few awards to give out! But, choose I must, and so, the envelope please...

First of all, no awards ceremony would be complete without an award being given to Janette Rallison's Blog. Janette is an awesome author and you should check her books out, too! You can often find Janette at her blog, lamenting over things like what to call her next blockbuster book. :D I "Heart" your blog Janette! :)

Another blog that I just "Heart" is Queen of the Clan. Danyelle is a fellow writer, and a fellow queen of her castle. She blogs about a mix of topics - life, laughter, love, and how to make a thankful tree, specifically. :D

Next, maybe No One Suspects The Butterfly, but I would suspect Heather of being a person who can write a great blog! She has a lot of insights and I love to read it. I "Heart" your blog, Heather!

My favorite Girl in a Whirl, Ali, can write a pretty mean blog, too. I "Heart" your blog, Ali! You always have such great insights.

And, last but certainly not least, I "Heart" a Green-Eyed Frog. Wait, that didn't come out right. But, anyway, Kim has posted some amazing photos she's taken with a macro camera lens. I love checking it out to see what new pic she's put up.

So, that about wraps it up, I think. I'd like to thank my internet service provider, blogger.com, and, most of all, my dear hubby for working so hard so I can afford to stay at home. Otherwise, I never could have put in the time and effort it took to win this award.

Thank you everyone! :D

#59 - Call to Action

I don't often stand up and shout from the rooftops about anything, but this is an issue I feel so strongly about, I couldn't stay silent.

President elect Obama has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law in his first 100 days in office. I feel we all need to do everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen.

FOCA would establish the right to abortion as a fundamental right (like the right to free speech) and wipe away every restriction on abortion nationwide, including partial birth abortions. (For those who are unfamiliar with partial birth abortion, it is a procedure done late in the pregnancy term, when the baby could have lived viably outside the womb. The abortion is performed part-way through the birthing process.)

It will eradicate state and federal abortion laws that the majority of Americans support and prevent states from enacting similar protective measures in the future.

Twice, President elect Obama has voted against saving the lives of babies who lived through attempted abortions. We can't let his views on abortion become laws!

Please read the expert analysis by Americans United for Life (AUL) and sign the Fight FOCA petition

#58 - Never Delete Anything

I've learned a really important lesson this past week as I've been rushing to finish my first draft. Luckily, I didn't have to learn it the hard way - I learned it the awesome, amazing, fun way!

Like I've said, I've been working on this book for a decade. That's a long time. My writing has really (and, I do mean really) improved over that time period. So I have scenes from my book that I wrote yesterday, and scenes I wrote ten years ago. One of my characters used to be Julie, a young girl living with her parents in Idaho, who meets a boy named Todd at the beginning of the novel. Now, she's Kristen, living in an apartment in Chicago with her dad, dating a guy named Zach.

The funny thing is, it's still the same story. My characters have just grown and changed as much as I have.

So, the other day I was writing a scene, and I went back and found a similar scene from my original work. I didn't have much hope that it'd be salvageable, but it totally was! It's way better than what I was about to write. I kept saying things like, "I am so good!" At one point, I was almost singing, "I'm too sexy for my shirt!" LOL. You think I'm joking, but I'm not. I'm really that vain. It evens out the times I want to throw my whole novel on the dung heap, spit on it, and walk away.

Anyway, back to my story. I only had to twist and turn a few events, a line here and there, and sometimes only a word or two in places. And it's an awesome scene! I can't wait for my critique group to read it. :)

So, when you cut that chapter out of your novel, DON'T DELETE IT!! Put it in a file and save it for a rainy day.

I actually used a program called Page Four a couple years ago, and I took my entire novel out of Word Docs and put it into scenes in Page Four. So, instead of having a file called "Chapter 1" I have files in there named "Angela's Party" and "Out of Gas" I find it sooooooooo helpful!

Whether you use Page Four or Word or whatever, I'd highly suggest using this method, at least until you've written your whole first draft and you're just in the editing stages. It's just so much easier than wading through "Chapter Three" thinking, "I know I wrote that part about the blind date in here somewhere, but I don't know where it is!" Or, worse yet, opening your "Novel In Progress" file and having to scan through the whole thing to find what you're looking for.

Maybe it wouldn't be helpful for normal writers under normal writing circumstances, though. But for anyone who's on their fourth half-draft of a decade-old novel, do the Page Four thing. :D

And, just so you know, I've now written 2654 words in November. For being 1/4 of the way through a 50,000-word challenge, it doesn't seem like much, but I do feel like I've gotten a lot done in general, fixing up broken scenes like the one I mentioned above.

#57 - Minor Update

I just had to share my joy with someone. I wrote over 1400 words today and really fleshed out a chapter that I wrote, probably 5 years ago, and I'm so happy with it! So, I'm not feeling so tortoise-y anymore. :)

Here's to continued success over the next 22 days!

#56 - Fulfilling a Dream

It has been my dream since I was a little girl to be a published author.

Last year, I took part in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. Not only that, but I won. I managed to write 50,000 words in 30 days. (26 days, really, since I didn't write on Sundays) You have to write an average of 2000 words per day in order to win.

Here we are, one year later, and I haven't actually finished the first draft of that book, despite the immense head-start I got that month. On top of that, I haven't actually finished the first draft of the book I started writing a decade ago, either!

I have a critique group I'm working with now and that's helping me get back on track, if for no other reason than the need to get 6 pages ready to be critiqued every 2 weeks. But also, the feedback they give me is so helpful and it is generating ideas of what I need to do to wrap up this first draft and write THE END.

As I was thinking about the upcoming NaNo challenge, I knew I couldn't start a new book. I'm not going to work on any other writing project until this book is done! (I'm working on the decade-old manuscript at the moment) But, the thought occurred to me that I could use NaNo to propel my books from "Work in Progress" to "First Draft". If I were to write 50,000 new words, I could probably finish both the books I'm working on.

On October 31st, I made up a spreadsheet and got all ready to go for the next day. November 1st came, and I hit the ground running.

And, They're Off . . . . . . (imagine turtles waddling away from a start line)

(That's how I feel right now!)

Here's what I've done so far:
On Day 1, I wrote 69 words.
Day 2, 247.
Day 3, 146.

So, I haven't gotten off to a very fast start here, as you can see.

It's more difficult to build up a word count when you have to work with previously written material. But, I'm not giving up. Even if I don't write 50,000 words, I'm determined to write at least enough words to finish my first draft of this book.