Nighttime Writing Tools


Nighttime writing tools: Mac, coffee, Scrivener, chewing gum, and anything from my garden that smells good.


Story Character Sketchiness

Writing a first draft is like hopping in a car and driving without a specific destination. You go where you go. For example, just when I think I have Rose’s character down, she does something I don’t have listed on her sketch — like being late. According to my notes, Rose is a responsible employee. She’s smart, an excellent worker, has many awards for her contributions, and guards that fame in interesting ways. This week I had an idea to start a scene with Rose being late for work, and her expertise is crucial to winning a visiting client. Late? What could make her late? Guess I’ll find out soon.

I am not the most patient story writer. Sometimes I get so impatient that I write my story scenes out-of-order. For example, I couldn’t wait to write Rose’s first sighting of the petal collector. Even though I still don’t know what happened to make her want to take her life, I gave her a glimpse of the person who would make her even more unhappy. That’s the way I write — things go one way, then the other, and eventually they all meet to make sense and a story.

So, Rose is late for work, and I still don’t know why.

(Click here to see the beginnings of Rose’s story, The Petal Collector.)


Spring Cleaning

Springtime means it’s time to clean up and clean out. A task I love is rearranging my bookshelves. A few books will leave for the season to make room for those that I’ve stashed away.

One of my favorite books for writers is the classic The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web. The book is a gem. Strunk first published it in 1920; White, one of Strunk’s former students, revised the book in 1959. Strunk’s wit shines through the lessons, which makes his writing style guide an even more enjoyable read.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see the fun I’m having with flat lay photography, like the one above. I started experimenting with this style back in January, and it forces me to step up my creativity, especially since my goal is to post a new photo every day.



Short Story in Progress: The Petal Collector

One of the photos that inspired my current short story work-in-progress.


I’ve given my short story an easy working title: The Petal Collector. Here are a few of my notes for the scene I’m working on:

Rising Anger

  • Rose cannot keep herself from watching the petal collector. (From her office window.)
  • It makes her angry to see a person getting so much joy from picking up dead things. And he’s taking petals from HER death-countdown bush.
  • What is that book he brings out to read every single time he visits the garden? Thinking that it might be a Bible makes her both angry and envious. (Weave within story.)
  • She wants to end her life, but she gets a stirring inside whenever she follows his activity.
  • What’s up with this guy and his petals?
  • More importantly, why does she care? She imagines a number of scenarios.
  • At the end of the scene, she smiles at something he does, which also makes her angry.

Read my earlier post to learn the original inspiration for this story. As soon as I have a decent draft of a scene or two, I will post it here on the blog. Stay tuned!


Classic Book About Love by Henry Drummond

Scottish evangelist Henry Drummond shared a message — The Greatest Thing in the World — in 1894. His little talk on a Bible passage was soon published, and it’s never been out of print. My copy is from the 1950s, and written inside is ”Janet, My love, Aunt Ruth.”

I remember when I first read the passage in the Bible and saw that the words describing true Love are all action words, not emotions. That was a lightbulb moment for me. Take time to read 1 Corinthians 13 for this Valentine’s Day. Maybe what it says will give you a new idea about love, like it did for me.

Click here for the passage: 1 Corinthians 13.