Monday, April 26, 2010


I went to SVRWA's meeting with my critique partner, Kadee Sinclair, this weekend and won a .pdf copy of the soon to be released "Love Writing: A Guide to Writing & Getting Published (Without Losing Your Passion or Sanity)" by Virna DePaul and Tawny Weber!! Very cool...and these lovely ladies were also the presenters of the "Conflict" topic at the meeting. Now, they also gave this same presentation at my local YRW chapter a couple of months ago, but I was unable to attend. However, conflict is something that is absolutely vital to any type of book. Without it..., well without it, there is no muchiness, to borrow a phrase from my blog a couple weeks past and the wonderful Alice in Underland. So important is muchiness to a novel, that I woke my very sleep-loving self up at 4 am to drive to Milpitas on a Saturday morning. Yeah....4 am in the MORNING...dark time. Really.

After some Starbucks run, and more coffee once we arrived at the lovely breakfast buffet put on by the SVRWA, I was wide awake and ready to be instilled with all the wisdom the two of them could impart. And boy did they impart! They gave a lot of GREAT information. It was a very "muchy" presentation, but clear and to the point. I very enjoyed it and had already decided to purchase their book coming out in June 2010. (You can find out more about it on their website But now I don't have to...but I still might, just to have a hard copy. :)

Anyway, back to conflict...Kadee and I were able to apply some of what we learned to her current WIP on the drive back...well she actually I applied it. I acted as a sounding board and a proper critique partner should. :) One of the things we learned was to layer your conflict. Hmmm....kind of like life. So simple, but not so easy to see sometimes when you are writing.

In life...there are tons of layers and complexity. I don't believe I've ever heard anyone say, "I need more conflict." (I've heard writers say this often. And, of course, they mean in their WIP...right?) But conflict drives us in life just as it drives a storyline. Without conflict, we would definitely react to situations differently. If we had all the time in the world to weigh options and figure out what we should do, no hasty or rash decisions would be made, resulting in consequences we should have foreseen.

But we are human, with instinct and emotion, and hopefully passion and purpose. Thus, conflict is a given. Maybe not to the degree we sometimes find ourselves, but some inner conflict will always exist. We do not have control of others or life around us, so external conflict will also come into play, making us deal with conflict on a daily basis. Whether big or small, these moments define us in some way.

So, as a writer, I will channel some of the conflict in my life into my writing. Yes, I can do that. Isn't that cool? That's one of the reasons I love to write. One of these days, maybe I will write about all of the conflict in my life, but for now I want to escape that conflict. To do that, I give my characters problems. And you know what? I can fix those problems!! Yay me!!

Okay, now I really need to get back to those characters and all of their conflict and apply Tawny and Virna's advice to my own WIP. Thanks again Ladies!

But my question to you is this. How will you handle your conflict? If possible slow down and try to envision the consequences. If you can't -- when the consequences come, accept them and move on. Because you know what? There's no going back. And to complain and use them as an excuse to act badly, well that's no good to anyone and not very muchy at all, now is it?

Treat all disasters as if they were trivialities, but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster. -- Quentin Crisp

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Time to shop, eat, and sleep, time to work, play, and sing, time to listen, laugh and cry...a time for all seasons. That's my very liberal paraphrase of the verse in Ecclesiastes. But the message is the same. There is a time for everything. The trick? The trick is in finding the right combination so you can fit as much into this life as it has to offer.

Everyone is aware of the concept of time. It begins the moment  when as children we are told that we will have to wait until a certain amount of it has passed before we are allowed our request. The older we get, the faster it seems to go.

If you ask someone about their life, their response will generally involve something they've done or an upcoming event. Rarely will they respond with what they are doing at that exact moment. Does that mean that no one lives in the moment? Most often, the answer is yes. We are always wishing things were the way were in times past or just hanging on for a future event to unfold. If only...??? If only we could appreciate the time we have at the moment.

Now believe me, there is no gorgeous beach before me nor rum anywhere in sight, (dang it!) so I am not just waxing poetic about some dreamy sunset. But I am in a place in my life where time has become a double-edged sword.  I want it to pass quickly so that someone in my life can be done with a very hard time in their's. I want it to go slowly so that I can treasure each moment I have with all of those in my life who are precious to my heart. I also want it to slow down so that I can fit everything I need to do into the ever shrinking hours of each day, as well as some of the things I just want to do.

So I steal the moments when at two in the morning, one of my dear someone's is a little chemically blissed -- thanks to his IV, and cracking jokes that only he understands. But his laughter and smile are my medicine and better than any sleep I've ever had. Or when I come home and am wrapped in multiple hugs by other precious ones and their love replenishes me in so many ways.

I also write because it it allows me to do several things at once. And I am a big fan of the multi-tasking. I can visit with the characters in my head and allow their problems to take precedence over mine for a while. (Not voices...characters...big difference. Really.)  My imagination is not right or wrong, there is no mistake I cannot fix when I write -- if only life had a backspace! The beautiful thing about writing is the creativity, the fact that you took nothing...blank piece of paper...or screen as the case may be, and made something that conveys image, emotion, and hopefully a cohesive thought. But whatever it is, you built it from scratch from your brain through your fingers to page or screen.

I LOVE that. It's exciting and addicting and it's a very positive thing in my life that I have complete control over. I say when, I say who, I say how....oops, started channeling "Pretty Woman" there for a minute. But you get the picture. In a crazy world, where virtually nothing is in our control anymore, this is my way to exert some authority in my own life. Now, this does not mean that my writing is boring and staid, and completely orderly. Far from it -- I write romantic thrillers....romance, thrillers?? Never a boring combination! :) But I get to decide what happens, well as long as my characters agree, and we have an amazing journey along the way.  Hopefully, soon you'll be able to join us.

Until then, try to remember you can't live in the past and the future will be here before you know it. Don't waste all the moments you have in between now and then wishing for one or the other. Enjoy your life as much as possible in each moment that you have. Do what makes you happy. If you can't do it for a living, do it on the side. But do it, damn it. Don't wish your life away. Live it. Be thankful for it and if it's not the way you want it at the moment, change it. It is YOUR life.

What will you do with your time?


Donna O'Brien

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Much Muchier...More Muchness??

***Spoiler Alert*** You guessed it, I've been to see Alice in Underland...yes, Underland, she pronounced it wrong the last time she was there. But the kid was what, like eight? So we'll give her a break.

My point? I was truly capitivated by all of the characters but utterly intrigued by the fact that because Alice had grown up, she'd lost a lot of her "muchness". She was "much muchier" last time around. Was this muchness her ability to believe in Wonderland and/or her destiny, something only the hatter could see inside her, or simply part of her childhood that made her THE Alice? Perhaps, only the delicious Mr. Depp's character could truly answer that question...yes, I believe he was delicious even in his hatter makeup!

It's my opinion that her muchness was not just her imagination but her own freedom to believe in herself and in her ability to make her own destiny in or out of Underland. And Alice...she kicked ass! The only thing missing from the movie was a certain drunken pirate at the end. (Or he didn't have to be drunk or even a pirate, he could have been a sober sailor, but the hatter/Depp should have been in the end somewhere as she sails off!! I'm just saying...) Okay, ahem...end of rant.

Everyone has the freedom to believe in their muchness, their ability to take control of their own life and pursue their dreams and fight their own it is that needs fighting. But do we do it?

Writing is a big jabberwocky! Anyone who takes on writing a manuscript and sticks with are a slayer! [I'm including myself, thank you very much. ;-)] You put yourself and muchness out there for everyone to see and that takes guts.

So pursue your dreams, whatever they may be. If you write, keep writing and writing, believe in yourself, and always, always, be as muchier as you can be!



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