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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Character Flaws...

So most of you know my current work in progress is titled Rock Bottom. I don't know that I've ever really talked about the book itself much, but I figure most of you know the basic storyline as a lot of my friends have read at least the first 3 or 4 chapters.

For the few that haven't read it it's about a woman, a sarcastic, quirky woman, named Kate, who's sister, Paige, is an alcoholic. During the beginning of the story the reader will presumably believe it's Paige who is hitting rock bottom because of a drinking and driving accident at the end of the third chapter. However, Kate is like many of us "Christians" who believes she has it all together and she's not nearly the "sinner" her sister is--but throughout the story she realizes her own self-righteous attitude and finally sees the sin in her own life.

I was working this week on making the story even more twisted by giving the hero in the story a very unique flaw. I won't give that away right now so that when my critters read it they can find out for themselves, but anyway, I give him this flaw and wonder, hmmm, is it too much? I read a book this weekend for the ACFW Book of the Year contest and when I found out something the hero had done I was sickened. I couldn't believe the hero had done this and he was still going to be the hero, LOL. So this brings me to my question, how much is too much when it comes to character flaws? I'd be interested in hearing the flaws of your characters and if you struggled with giving them those traits.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Writing Related Meme...

I was tagged by my close friend and fellow Hoosier, Crystal Miller , and thought the concept of this meme was too cool to pass up. ;) Hope you’ll join in and share some of your writing/reading experiences.

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to?

I don’t know if it counts since I’m actually writing it but not finished with it, but I’d have to say my current work in progress, Rock Bottom, would be the story of my heart. Because of my own personal upbringing and things in my own life that I’ve experienced, the storyline is very close to my heart. It’s a story that I want to do right and use to bring glory to God. It’s also a story that I feel is helping me to heal and move past some of the hurts of my own childhood. I know…deep, but honest. LOL.

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?

Oh, man. I have a shelf full of books I need to read. I never thought I’d have a never ending supply of new books, but I’m finding that it’s almost a curse as much as a blessing. It’s so hard to know which one to pick. I really, really, want to get into Jerome Teel’s Divine Appointment. I love politics. Or rather, the idea/concept of politics. I’m also excited to get to Colleen Coble’s new book, Abomination and I have a stack of Love Inspired’s that I’m excited to read, mainly because I find them to be very easy reads that are just a nice way to relax and enjoy good clean Christian Fiction.

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)?

LOL. I had this archaic computer, I think it was called a TS80 or something. My grandpa gave it to me. He’s a computer nut. ;) Back then it was so cool.

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month?

This depends on how busy I am with the reviews and now the first reader gig, but I’d guess maybe 10-15 depending on the size of the books. :-/

5. What's your most favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned?

Actually, my work computer (that I don’t own) I love how fast it is, it’s a custom built computer, flat panel monitor, DSL Internet, laser printer. It’s awesome. I go in sometimes on the weekend just to use that computer.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don't read historical fiction--shame on you.)

You know I first read Janette Oke and Lori Wick. They were THE Christian authors when I started reading Christian fiction, and though my tastes have changed a lot, I still love a good prairie romance or anything set in the 1800’s in England or Scotland.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?

I can’t do one. LOL. I have two distinct books that made a huge impact on me. One was Don’t Hurt Laurie by Willo Davis Roberts, and the second was The Chronicles of Narnia. Those two books took me directly into the story. I remember looking forward to reading time after lunch so much. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next in the stories. Of all the books I read back then, those were the ones I’ll never forget. I’d love to write something that touched someone so much they remember the story 20-25 years later.

Now I tag, Jennifer Tiszai, Malia Spencer, Georgiana Daniels and Rachel Hauck. Copy the questions above and fill in your own answers. Then, tag someone else!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


So I got my first rejection the other day and it was a bummer day for sure. Sigh. I had submitted my suspense, Prescription for Murder to Steeple Hill for the Love Inspired Suspense line. I have a small confession in that I'm not surprised it was rejected. Every day I feel like I learn a little more and a little more, so even since last winter when I finished it I know there are a million things I'd change now. :-/ I've started reading for Steeple Hill on a freelance basis and if I'd have received my book I'd have probably suggested a rejection, so there you go...I'm nothing if not honest.

I'm sad, because I love the Love Inspired lines and really had hoped for the book to be a part of the suspense line, but for now I'm putting Prescription for Murder away and pursuing my other projects. I have Rock Bottom well under way and I've started another book targeted for the Love Inspired line too. It was really hard just tossing something I've put a lot of time into, but I think it's time to just move on and keep trying to improve my writing.

I will say that at the 2005 ACFW conference in Nashville I remember one woman saying she had received 19 rejections in one year. I thought then and still do that she's a better woman than me because I'd have given up after maybe 5. One about did me in. LOL. What about you? Any rejection stories you're up to sharing?

Oh and one last thing...thank you to my dear friend, Cara Putman for sending the Rockin' Girl Blogger my way. ;) I don't know if my friends will see this but I'm passing it on to:

Jennifer Tisza
Malia Spencer
Shirlee McCoy
Georgiana D
Crystal Miller

I know a couple of these girls might have been tagged already but I have to include them, they're my favorite girl blogs. ;)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Okay, how will this bring glory to Christ?

Quote from Rachel Hauck's blog this week "As for my legacy, how can I really say? To be known in heaven more than I'm known on earth?

I thought of a hundred things but this is what I want my legacy to be: that some day people will say, "I met a woman once. I don't remember her name or even what she looks like, she might have been a writer, but every time I was around her, I could see Jesus. I wanted to be more like Him. I knew He loved me."
Rachel Hauck

Sabrina here: I think sometimes it's easy for an artistic person to lose themselves in their art form and to forget why it is they have the passion for their craft. Or what brought them to that craft in the first place. I know I've had that problem lately. You know I'm not one of these writers that will say "I write because I have to" Or "It's like breathing to me--I have to do it" No I write simply because I enjoy it. I truly do. I enjoy stretching my mind and learning new things. I enjoy feeling like I'm not becoming stale and lethargic mentally. I like creating a written piece and having people be pleased with it. Whether that's wrong or not, that's how I'm made. LOL.

Anyway, I've been thinking lately about why I write Christian fiction as opposed to secular when everyone says there's better money in the ABA. But it's simple really, I write Christian fiction because I ultimately want to please God. I want to create something that my Father in heaven finds pleasure in. Just like we love when our earthly parents say "Wow, I'm so proud of you." I crave that same glorious response from Him. So lately as I write these books and my articles I've realized, I haven't implemented that into my work as much as I did at first. I haven't sat down and said, "Okay, how will this bring glory to Christ or how will this lead someone to God?" I haven't done that and I have to wonder if that's why I'm having such a hard time lately.

I think I haven't felt like writing because I'm not impressed with the end result. Sigh. It makes me sad that I'm going through this spiritual drought, so to speak, but it happens. I hear it all the time with other writer friends. And even non-writers...we as Christians all go through it. We have moments when our faith and our ministry is the most important thing in our life and we're passionate about it. Then we go through tough times or challenging circumstances and we fizzle out. But see I don't want to fizzle out. I want to continue to be on fire for Christ. I want to love the Lord so much that when people are around me they wonder if I'm some kind of freak. LOL. I want my passion back.

Can you tell I've had a setback lately? I sound all deep and depressing. LOL. But really, I'm going through a tough time and I've decided I'm done with it. I'm committing to change. Both in my personal life and my writing life. I'm going to reevaluate my projects and focus on the spiritual thread more. I'll let you know how it goes and maybe when I'm through this little desert I'm traveling through, I'll share some of what's been going on. For now I just needed to make myself accountable to some of my writing friends.

On a similar thread, one of the reasons for this post is because I frequent Rachel Hauck's Blog, not just because as a writer she rocks, LOL, but mainly because I never know what Rachel will have posted. One day she'll make me laugh and the next she will make me cry feeling convicted with some spiritual truth or biblical principal she's written about. This week I was particularly moved by the quote at the beginning of this post and I thought, "That's where I want to be Lord--I want people to see Jesus in my writing, to feel Your love through me and my written words."