The 12 Days of Christmas — My Book Therapy Style

For me, the Christmas season is enhanced by the music, both contemporary and traditional. Of course, the past few years, I’ve been on deadline, so the holidays are a combination of festivities and pursuing word count. And for those of you who might have just finished NaNoWriMo, memories of your recent rough draft might be lingering in your mind.

So as I pondered today’s blog post, I opted for a bit of fun — a twist on a favorite Christmas song: The Twelve Days of Christmas — My Book Therapy Style. 


On the first day of Christmas my rough draft gave to me … 

12 Days Of Christmas MBT Style Notepad

[Tweet “Celebrate the season with the 12 Days of #Christmas – MBT Style! by @bethvogt #writer #fun”]

Your Dream Is Worth Your Effort

Your Dream is worth your effort

Hey! I’m filling in for Susie May this morning. She just got back from a fantastic retreat with some marvelous marketers in Texas, so she’s in catch up mode. I was telling her about a conversation I had with the great Matt Jones at Jones House Creative about writing. I told him, “Your dream is worth your effort.” He in kind, immortalized the line in a screen saver for me to used and remember!

It’s so true. Your dream is worth your effort. Worth your time. Don’t let anyone or anything steal it. TV? Not worth it. I laugh at Hollywood award ceremonies. They want me to watch them give awards to each other? Well hey, Hollywood, show up at ACFW Carol Awards this year. Watch us give awards to each other. What’s that? You don’t care? Now you know how I feel.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a great show. I’m a Downton Abbey fan. A Castle and Bluebloods fan, but I learned long ago not to let entertainment steal my dream. Entertainment is a dream killer. We give our time and our emotion to others. The pursuit of pleasure or distraction.

After watching a movie or TV show, I can’t write. It takes forever for me to get back into the voice and emotion of my own work. Reading, however, inspires me. Because it requires me to use my own voice and imagination muscles to make the story live. I can translate that into my own works.

So today, we at My Book Therapy, exhort you to give your effort, the best you can, to your dream and eliminate the dream killers.

Your MBT Therapist,

Rachel Hauck

Like this?  Click to Tweet:

Your dream is worth your effort! Great words by author @RachelHauck! #mybooktherapy #amwriting



Just for fun! The Pizza Party Video

I’m on the road today – so there’s not conversation with Sally. Instead, check out this video from our 2012 Wild West Pizza Party at ACFW!  Thank you to videographer Justin Auguste for his amazing, creative work!

To save, right click on the link below and “save link as” to your local computer.

Video Edition

Thanks for a great time, MBT Voices! See you next year!
Susie May

The I’s have it. But should they?

Ever listen to a conversation where “I” was the predominate word? I did this, I did that, I went here, I went there… I, I, I, I.

After awhile, the picture is etched that the person talking is really into themselves.

The same idea applies to writing in first person. As the writer and storyteller, it’s easy for us to get going in the first person narrative and forget to not let the “I’s” have it.

When I started working with editor Ami McConnell, she warned me. “Watch the overuse of I.”

“Hnnm, in first person?” I thought, but answered, “Okay, I’ll do that, very good idea.”

Yes, it’s way easier said than done. It takes time, rethinking and rewriting to avoid the over use of I, or starting every sentence in a paragraph with that same slim pronoun.

Okay, I can hear the question, “How can I avoid ‘I” when writing in first person?”

You can’t, but you can change the way you structure a sentence to minimize I’s effect or to omit it completely. I found it hard at first to adjust my I sentences, but after awhile, it became a habit.

Here’s an example in my just finished work, Sweet Caroline (Feb 2008):

No answer. I check the pantry. “You here?” Still no answer. The kitchen feels cold and abandoned. Regret strangles my heart from some dark inner place, but I refuse to surrender.

After reading this short paragraph, the last phrase “but I refuse to surrender” doesn’t feel necessary. Or, it could be reworded to “but surrender is not an option.”

Frankly, the sentence really ends with “Regret strangles my heart from some dark inner place.” The reader gets the picture. When the galley’s come, I’ll edit out the last part.

Here’s another example:

I slumped down against the side of the boat, pillowing my head against a life jacket. “I’m not sure Mitch ever knew.”

This is a perfecty fine sentence, but it could be reworded to read, “Slumping down against the side of the boat, I pillow my head against a life jacket.”

Here, “I” is buried in the middle of the paragraph. It doesn’t stand out as much, but communicates as effectively as the first sentence.

Take a look at something you’re reading or writing in first person, and see if those “I’s” don’t stare at you from the page. If you see a sentence or paragraph with three, four or five “I’s” rewrite it, figuring out a way to trim them down.

Listen to me now, this is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. Some sentences and dialog will have I’s, it can’t be helped. This Doc Chat is just to make you aware.

Avoiding the overuse of I does make our work stronger, and causes us to go deeper in the character’s POV and with our own writing to NOT let the “I’s” have it.

Have fun!!

Frustrated? Confused? …Dreaming of the day when an editor calls and says, “I MUST publish your book?” Don’t laugh — it could happen, it does happen, all the time, and you could be next! What’s holding you back? Flat characters? A Saggy plot? Lackluster writing? Let the Book Therapists help. We believe that deep inside every troubled story lies a deep-seated problem. But it’s not beyond hope… Your book simply needs therapy. Stop by MY BOOK THERAPY and…get published!