Friday, December 16, 2011

Decorations and Preparations

Christmas is but days away and last minute preparations are in, or nearing, full swing. Time spent with the Savior remembering His gift to us, and quality time with family, is our first priority.

But unpubbed writers, after you hang the last ornament on the tree, share the story of Jesus' birth, exchange gifts as a reminder of that event, and later, tuck your children and yourselves into bed, brace yourselves.

ACFW's Genesis contest opens in early January.

Ack!

In my next few posts, I'll share a few tips to prepare your entry. Easy changes that can help you polish and improve your submission, so stay tuned.

And from my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Recipe: Mint Cookies

It's the holiday season, and ovens around the world are producing cupcakes, cookies, pies, and, for some reason, fruitcakes. I've made at least one batch of my Christmas fudge, but a friend passed along a recipe for a mint cookie that looked good. It's gluten free recipe, made with almond flour and another ingredient I'll likely never buy, so I hunted around for another.

I found this at Recipetips.com:
www.recipetips.com/recipe-cards/t--2343/andes-mint-cookies.asp

And here's another from allrecipes:
allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chocolate-Mint-Cookies-I/

So what does this have to do with Front Porch Fiction? Darlin', it's food. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Creative Clutter

Goodness! Please forgive my lack of manners. I haven't visited the porch in some time. Not because I'm disinterested. I've been inside, decorating for Christmas (directions: pull pre-lit tree from box, jam the three pieces together, then plug it up. It's amazingly pretty) and working through some clutter.

I have a goal of sorting through the boxes we've been storing in the attic for over eight years and getting rid of stuff. I'll keep the old love letters, pictures drawn by my kids, and other little mementos, but textbooks and software stored on floppy disks have no right to the space. Neither do old clothes and the Super Nintendo my kids used to fight over (hubby and I usually won that battle). Not when someone out there could be wearing the one, and the grandkids playing with the other.

I'm also working through clutter in a novel. I started this story several years ago. Finished the first draft and followed that with the first revision. Regardless of any changes made, the first--and most important--chapter proved to be a problem.

Starting where I did, in the middle of a party, I had to introduce too many characters and relationships. After meeting with an editor at the Blue Ridge Conference, I decided to back up and open just minutes before the party began. It helped, but one relationship still confused people, so I sorted through my options and backed the characters up another half hour.

Now I had two people in one quiet little setting and time to get to know them. And, with the use of one prop, I could subtly introduce others, clarifying relationships, before the characters reached the party location. Even better, once I cleared the bottleneck, the story livened up again. I've been revising a chapter a day and having a blast doing so. I've missed these characters.

A chapter a day. A box a day. An easy way to tackle the clutter.