Thursday, April 30, 2015


Finding time to write has always been a topic for an interesting discussion.  Everyone has their own views on this subject. 

Some people write a little bit every day—an hour before work in the morning, during their lunch at work, or an hour in the evening. This goes a long way if you add it up.  One hour a day for seven days equals seven hours’ worth of writing per week.  In a month that is 28 hours.  How many pages would you get done in 28 hours?  At even one page per hour, that’s 28 pages, which isn’t a lot but it is way better than zero.

The question one must ask themselves though is can they get down to the business of being creative and getting words typed in just an hour?  For me this is not even doable.  When writing I need to wind down, remove the clutter from my mind, refocus on my story and what is going on in the story, before I can even start to think about writing.  Thus, this never works for me because by the time I get all those things done, the hour is up.

Some people, including myself, like to have at least 3-4 hour slots to write.  Once I spend the hour getting in the right mode for writing and start writing, I just want to keep going.  Usually at that point, I end up writing for hours until I must force myself to say enough and call it a night.  I usually can manage to get about 10 -15 pages done, which usually is a chapter.

Regardless of how your writing process is set up, everyone knows the key to getting words on the page is to have a plan, no matter what it is or what your page count ends up at.  And we all know how quickly the days go by, which turn into weeks, and then months and even years.  What will your page count be for this week, month, or year?

Nanowrimo is a challenge for writers to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.  It takes place every November.  In April they have a new writing challenge called Camp Nanowrimo, where you set your own goal on how many words you will write per day and for the month. 

If you are looking for a challenge, check it out. If you’re not up for camp, just keep on writing so at least when the end of the month arrives, you can have pages to count towards your own personal writing goal!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I’m sure everyone has heard the phrase, A picture is worth a thousand words”.  Most people probably don’t stop to think about what it really means though.  I know I never did until I was having a conversation with my son regarding the production of short films. 
He writes screenplays and I have written several screenplays, also.  A typical screenplay is 90 to 120 pages.  Each page equates to approximately one minute of film, making the 90 page screenplay an hour and a half movie and the 120 page screenplay a two hour movie.   To a novel writer who is used to writing 60,000 to 80,000 words, which usually equals 300 to 400 pages, a screenplay may sound just way too easy to write. 
Veronica Roth, author of the book, Divergent, which was made into a movie and just released, was interviewed for an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press regarding her feelings on whether the movie accurately reflected the story in her novel.  She realized once the movie rights were sold, she would lose control on which parts of her book would be used in the movie, but in the end, she felt they did a good job.  The interesting point she made was that in the beginning of her novel, she spent a lot of time on back story to build her futuristic world for the story.  When she watched the film, it became quite apparent how the thousands of words she wrote to explain what her futuristic world would look like, could be shown on the screen in just a few minutes. 
As the saying goes—A picture is worth a thousand words!  But we are writers and that is what we do. We write thousands and thousands of words to tell our stories.  So let’s keep on doing what we do—writing down the words to those movies going on in our heads and telling stories our way!

Sunday, September 21, 2014



            When I first heard on the radio that a commercial jet disappeared over the ocean, my first thought was that it was abducted by an alien space ship.  Then my next thought was that I must’ve not heard the news correctly. 
            In this day and age how can a plane possibly go missing?  I mean we do have radar, don’t we?  We have satellites capable of tracking pretty much everything, so why can’t they track planes over the water?  The mere fact that they obviously can’t is quite scary.  We think we are so smart, have come so far in our understanding of science but we lose a large plane?  Maybe they just aren’t telling us everything?
            Then the sadness sets in.  So many lives have been lost.
            At this point you may be asking yourself what this has to do with writing?  Susan Grant is a New York Times Bestselling author who writes romance and also is a commercial airline pilot.  One of her first books, Contact, was a Futuristic Sci-Fi Romance.  It had an intriguing storyline involving a commercial flight from LAX to Hawaii which naturally flew over the ocean, and then, of course, there is a major incident on the plane.  The Captain has a heart attack and dies and there is fear the plane has been hijacked. It appeared the plane would crash and everyone would die.  But instead the plane is beamed aboard a large alien spacecraft.  It was a fabulous read!  And it was at least 10 years ago.  However, the story was quite memorable, as I have mentioned it on occasion throughout the years.  I am sure at the time she wrote this novel she never dreamed another commercial airliner would go missing over the ocean, but it happened only a few weeks ago.
            They always say the best place to look for story ideas is by reading the current news stories.  Headlines read, “Airliner missing on flight over the ocean.”  Story line reads, “Airliner missing while crossing the ocean abducted by alien spacecraft.”  Susan’s story was great, but I bet we could all write an intriguing story from that news headline.  They all would be great stories and they all would be different.  So write away!



Thursday, March 22, 2012


October and November tend to be prime boutique months as every weekend there are multiple boutiques where women can shop for new and unique items. The nearby Wild’s Golf Course held a boutique in November. Once I heard about it, I checked into getting a table to sell my book, Real Norwegians Eat Lutefisk, but they were already full. Since it was close by and I wanted to check it out to see if I wanted to reserve a table next year, I made plans to meet my cousins there. I arrived early and decided to take a look around. It was a top notch boutique, that was obvious. Sadly, I have to admit that I felt extremely underdressed. Who gets this dressed up to go to a boutique? I had on every day jeans, a casual knit shirt, leather jacket and medium heeled shoes, but almost everyone else had on high heeled leather boots, designer jeans, fancy scarves around their necks and big jewelry. Their hair looked like they had just left the hair salon. And to top it all off, almost everyone had a glass of wine in one hand. I really don’t think it had been that long since I’d been to a boutique that they would’ve changed that much, but I definitely felt way out of my league. After meeting up with my cousins, we browsed the tables of unique and different items for sale. I did happen to find a child’s hand made hooded fleece coat with Scandinavian looking trim, so I purchased one for my granddaughter for Christmas. No one had eaten so we took a table in the bar’s dining area and had dinner. Later in the month, I went to Shepherd of the Lake’s Boutique. This one I had received a registration form but it ran for 3 days and I would’ve only been able to be there for one day, so I had to decline. Since I had never been to the boutique before, I went mainly to see what it was like. I met my sister there and we walked through three floors of vendors. We saw many booths with items we hadn’t seen anywhere else. They definitely did a great job on marketing the show, since it was absolutely packed full of eager buyers. A fellow Beaver’s Pond author, Marilyn Jax, had a table to sell her new book, Road to Omalos, so we stopped to chat. These two boutiques were both very upscale. The main thing I got out of attending them was to definitely dress up when I go to boutiques from now on and be prepared to have a glass of wine, because it definitely wasn’t so much about what the vendors had to sell, but instead it was about the look you portrayed to everyone else. Next year I will do much better, now that I know.


King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway came to visit Minnesota Oct 11-18, and it was their first visit since 1995. Minnesota has over 850,000 people who have at least some Norwegian ancestry. Their first stop was in Decorah, Iowa to visit Luther College which was marking its 150th anniversary and the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum marking its 130th anniversary. Next they visited St. Olaf College in Northfield and then on to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. A church service was held on Sunday at Augsburg College in Minneapolis followed by a reception hosted by Governor Mark Dayton at the governor’s mansion featuring Minnesotans who were honored by the Norwegian government. A royal dinner was held that evening and Bjorn Hagen, my father’s long- time friend from the Norwegian Glee Club, was privileged to attend. He was very excited and proud to attend the dinner and it was a night he will always remember. The following day, the Minnesota National Guard flew the royal couple to Duluth, where King Harald re-dedicated Enger Park, which was originally dedicated by his father, King Olaf V in 1939. On the final day of the visit, the couple unveiled an exhibit at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, marking the 100th anniversary of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reaching the South Pole. The King and Queen then flew to New York City, where they attended an American-Scandinavian Foundation conference, attended by officials and royalty from all five Nordic countries. I wanted to attend one of the functions while the royal family was in town but it proved impossible to get a ticket. I thought it wouldn’t be that difficult or I would’ve tried earlier to get tickets. It became apparent that unless you knew someone or were someone of great importance you wouldn’t get a ticket. There was very heavy protection surrounding the royal couple while they were in the U. S. most likely because of the Oslo bombing and massacre in July. It would’ve been an awesome experience and although it didn’t happen for me, I am happy for all those who were privileged to meet the King and Queen of Norway on their visit to Minnesota in 2011.


Every year Midwest Fiction Writers group, a chapter of Romance Writers of America, offers a Fall Harvest Workshop at the end of September. This year the conference presented Margie Lawson’s Deep Editing Master Class. Margie Lawson has a Master’s of Science in Psychiatric Counseling and is a world-wide lecturer. On Friday night for MFW’s 35th anniversary, they offered a formal dinner with guest speaker, Mary Janice Davidson, who is from the Twin Cities and is the New York Times Bestseller author of the Undead Vampire series. She was as hilarious in person as she is in her writing. On Saturday, the workshop consisted of Margie Lawson’s intense, hands-on, deep editing class complete with multi-colored magic markers to highlight different sections of our manuscripts. Sunday was a half day class with some final pointers from Margie and included a delicious breakfast brunch. Fall Harvest is promoted to all writers in the Twin Cities area and to all RWA chapters across the country, although most of the participants are Midwest Fiction Writers members. This year again it was tough to get people to sign up, probably due to the conference being held at a location on the North side of the Twin Cities making it a long drive for those of us who live out in the far southern suburbs and requiring a car rental for out of town people. Also the cost was high considering there weren’t editor or agent appointments included in the conference and considering the state of the economy it was hard for many people to justify the cost without having an opportunity to pitch their stories to editors and agents. I guess most writers are just more willing to put out money to go to an out of state conference if there are multiple classes taught by more than one speaker and definitely more enticing if there are editors and agents attending. It may be time for MFW to take a serious look at making some changes in their current conference offerings and going back to the types of workshops offered in past years. It was certainly a pleasure to meet Margie and hear her ideas regarding deep editing, but of course with editing, it is just one of those things that requires sitting down and trying it on your own manuscript. So we’ll have to see if after working through the deep editing process, my manuscript becomes a keeper for a publishing house!

Monday, January 30, 2012


My son is a Ballroom Dance teacher and his studio, Cinema Ballroom puts on a Fall Showcase every year at the end of September. The show consists of students showing off what they have learned in Salsa, Cha Cha, Rumba, Tango, Waltz and Swing. I am always impressed with how far the students progress each time, so each time I watch a show I vow to make it to the Beginners class on Wednesday nights. It always sounds like a great plan until Wednesday comes around. Somehow after working all day, when it's finally five o’clock, the sun is setting and while walking to my car I am freezing, going straight home sounds so much better than driving across town to take a dance class. On those rare nights I manage to get over to the studio for the class, I am always glad I made it there. And after the class is over and I have learned beginning steps to two different dances, I know it was definitely worth the effort. I am always proud to watch my son dance. This was not what he set out to do, he sort of happened upon it after college and I guess he fell in love with Ballroom Dancing. After struggling with some health issues this past year, I am finally feeling like I have more energy and I am even more determined to make it to the Cinema Ballroom dance classes on a more regular basis. So once we hit the nice weather of spring, I will be there. It is always nice to have someone accompany you so you don’t have to walk into a class alone. My cousin, Karin, met me at the studio to watch the Fall Showcase and we both enjoyed watching the dancing. Hopefully, I can convince her to join me in the spring to take a class. And of course the dresses the women wear are always beautiful. In fact, one of the reasons I want to learn Ballroom Dancing is so I can wear one of the fabulous dresses. I’ve had Ballroom Dancing on my goal list for a while now; hopefully this will be my year to make it happen!