Now Available

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Fourteen Rules Of Writing

 By Kristy McCaffrey

Image by Kristy McCaffrey
Many an author has posted such a list, and there's much good info out there if seeking guidance in the writing arena. I've been at this inscribing thing now for over ten years (more like thirty if you consider my childhood scribbles—yes, they do count), so it goes without saying that I've learned a few things along the way.

Here they are.

—Watch 'Romancing the Stone', a wonderful movie about romance author Joan Wilder. It's incredibly accurate, right down to the sticky notes all over her kitchen reminding her she needs to do this and that. When writing, we writers forget everything.

—I've given up trying to write before I've checked email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I write in the afternoons and evenings, which pretty much ruins dinner every night.

—Get an iPod to block out the kids and husband. I make playlists for each story, offering me one more avenue to procrastinate on my writing.


—Buy bookshelves to hold research books, but know that it won't matter. You'll still run out of room, so make peace with tomes strewn all over the floor.

—When I'm stuck on a scene, I've found the most effective method is to stop writing and wait for inspiration. Three days later when nothing hits, I return to the computer pissed off and write a scene in frustrated anger. But, hey, I've finally moved forward.
 
Image by Kristy McCaffrey
—I rewrite any sentence that contains 'lie' or 'lay' because I'm unable to remember the rule and too lazy to look it up.

—I always keep a thesaurus and dictionary handy. My trade is words, and my work is to make 'em count. (By the way, this doesn't count for 'lie' or 'lay'—a loathsome trickery in the English language.)

—Don't name an animal after a color. If you decide to change the name later, a 'search and replace' in Word will make you realize how many times you used the word 'white' within your manuscript (because it will replace all the wrong 'whites'). Now, it becomes apparent that the thesaurus has been neglected.

—I refuse to feel guilt when I use an adverb.


—I have a tendency to put spectacles on my heroines in every first draft, which I must later delete. It's the oldest trick in the book to make my ladies appear 'smart'. Did I mention that I wear glasses?

—I've learned to trust my muse. She's a sneaky little devil, never making things clear until the end of a project. By then I've eaten too much ice cream and moped around believing I'll NEVER make this story work.

Image by Kristy McCaffrey
—I'm a writer, not a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, and therefore there's no sense dwelling on bad prose (mine or anyone else's). Move on. I can always do better next time. (This is my pep talk after bouts of insecurity and lots of ice cream.)

—I obsess constantly about where to put commas, which has led to more than one restless night. I will edit year-old blog posts if I realize I missed a critical comma. And no, I'm not obsessive-compulsive, hyper-focused, or anal. (I will probably re-edit this post next year...)

—I keep writing until the heart of a story can be excavated. It always exists, and it's my job to clear the dirt and debris so that it can shine. I'm simply a translator of myth and symbolism into something others can enjoy. It's my gift, and my curse. I imagine brain surgeons feel the same way.



So, to recap. Writing is exhilarating, but also crappy. (I can't find 'crappy' in my thesaurus, so have no other word to use. Sorry.) Come join the fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Interesting Facts About Humans

By Kristy McCaffrey

Within 200 milliseconds of seeing an image, the brain can decide whether it’s a face or something else.

We are made up of 100 trillion cells, 22 internal organs, 600 muscles, and 206 bones.


You can survive without sleep for eleven days only.


Skipping breakfast may do more than affect your waist. In a series of classic studies on what it takes to age in a robust and healthy way, public health titan Lester Breslow (who died in 2012 at age 97) showed over and over again that just a few habits were critical. They included not smoking, exercising, watching your weight, no excessive drinking, not snacking, eating breakfast, and getting 7-8 hours of sleep.


Sleep doesn't just clear your head. Scientists now say it literally flushes out waste and toxins that build up in your brain during the day. During sleep, cerebral spinal fluid is pumped around the brain, and flushes out waste products like a biological dishwasher.


In females, about 1/2 a million eggs are produced on average, out of which only 400 have the potential to develop into a baby. Men produce approximately 10 million sperm every day, enough to re-populate the earth within 6 months.


Sugar may give you wrinkles via a process called glycation, in which excess blood sugar binds to collagen in the skin, making it less elastic. Cutting back on sugar may help your skin retain its flexibility.


We all have traces of Neanderthal in us. It’s been more than 5 million years since we separated from chimps, but only 400,000 years since human and Neanderthal lineages split. Asian and Caucasian ancestors interbred with Neanderthals as recently as 37,000 years ago, when they crossed paths in Europe.




Photo Credits
http://www.answers.com/topic/musculo-skeletal-system
http://www.keepingyouwell.com/care-services/sleep-disorders
http://eofdreams.com/breakfast.html
http://www.nadamoo.com/insidescoop/cleansing-detoxing-your-body-naturally/
http://teacher.scholastic.com/commclub/earth_day_activity1/
http://eofdreams.com/sugar.html
http://www.abroadintheyard.com/evolution-of-neanderthals-over-last-100-years-says-more-about-us/