Archive for April, 2014


Car Crashes and Rejection Letters

April 27, 2014

Recently, I crashed my car—not hard, but still. Fortunately, I was driving in a parking lot, and although I did jam my thumb, no one was hurt. Needless to say, it was not my best day.

After I had driven home, I crumpled onto the couch and wondered why this had happened. Despite it being April, there was snow and ice. The other driver had admitted that he was driving too fast for a parking lot. It was early in the morning. My list continued to grow, wondering what lessons I needed to learn from the experience.

As I pondered a few answers, I noticed that my feelings and emotions were similar to those I’ve had after a rejection pops up in my inbox. My immediate reaction is shock, then anger, and finally, self-doubt. There are always questions. In the end, I move on.

Rejection for a writer is part of the process. I’ve written about it before. It’s important to hide under a blanket for a while, feel the pain and answer the questions. There are things to learn. Bad things happen. But we can move on. Rejection is simply a chance to do something differently and find the right answers. What an opportunity to sink onto the couch and discover something new for my manuscript.

And this round, there will be no car-crashing days.



April 18, 2014

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else. – Gloria Steinem

All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take a deep breath, count to ten, and tackle each task one step at a time.- Linda Shalaway



April 2, 2014

Tonight a fox came to the door. Trotting quickly, quietly, and moving like a stealth robot, the fox  appeared at the sliding door to our deck, raised a paw and tapped the glass. Then he scampered off.



Animals come into our lives like omens.  As pets they choose our homes, arriving to teach us something about love, compassion, and play. The wild ones startle us with their presence. They may guide us. Some give us answers. Others show up to remind us of something or someone. Animals act as symbols in our lives.

An animal totem in our writing acts no differently, and they can play an important role in our work. As a writer, it can be difficult to choose an animal to wander through your words. Asking these questions might help.

Is the animal the right symbol for the story? If it’s a pet, does it define or change a character in some way? How can an animal move the story forward?  A person’s reaction to an animal is a terrific way to show, instead of tell something about the character. For example, how would the main character react to a fox pawing at the door? Scream? Want to pet it? Shoot it? Each angle makes for a very different character.

Use an animal in your story to give it more depth.