Author Archives: Sara

Consolidation (kind of reposted…)

I have two main blogs – this one, the one I call my “writing blog,” and another that is more about the things going on in my life, and the fun things I do.  With dreams of being a published writer, I felt it was important to start blogging as a writer, connecting with other writer-bloggers, as well as agent-bloggers.  Knowing, or I guess more hoping, that my name would one day be known to people who read my books, who would also read my blog, I started blogging here.

At the same time, I had a life, a life removed from writing.  I wanted a little more anonymity in my life than my writing blog allowed.  And I figured that while some people would be interested in both my writing life and my non-writing life, most wouldn’t be.  Blogging is all about niche, right?  You must have a niche.  My writing blog was obviously in the writing niche.  My life blog was in the me niche.

But I’ve been absolutely awful at keeping up with blogging.  I have dry spells in blogging, like I’m sure everyone does.  I sometimes have ideas that I think should be cross-posted.  I sometimes have ideas that don’t really fit either.  I’m often so frozen with indecision that I do nothing.  That’s usually when I have a blog lapse.

So when I saw this blog post by Kristen Lamb, I thought a lot about it.  The part that really struck me was, it’s the “interests other than writing that are going to connect with readers.”  She goes on to say, “Readers don’t give a flying squirrel’s butt about three-act structure, Create Space, or the future of publishing…”

Well, duh.  No really, DUH!  She’s exactly right!  I was using my “writing blog” only to connect with other writers, not to connect with future readers.  So, then, what’s the point?

There is no point, obviously.  My friends and family, who I primarily write my “life” blog for (although I love anyone who stops in!) will probably also read my “writing” blog.  Very possibly, people who stop into one blog will be interested in the other.  Not every post, of course, but some.

I cook.  I sew.  I travel.  I write.  I take photos.  I’m an American ex-pat.  I’m interested in the world around me.  I try to embrace life.  And I’m often inspired.  If any of these interest you, please visit me over at

I’ve officially migrated all posts on this blog to my other one, and will be posting only on that blog going forward. There will be no new posts on this blog.  To those who have read my blog and subscribed, thank you so much, and I hope to see you again over on my other blog!



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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


Reblogging – FanFiction

I wrote this post almost a year ago, before Fifty Shades of Grey became massively successful. I thought it deserved a repost. What are your thoughts on FanFiction?

No "aspiring" about it

Writing Prompt: Think of a critical scene in a book you love. Write a different ending to the scene, then continue the story with the new ending in mind.

Congratulations, you’ve just written FanFiction.

Time Magazine had a piece in a recent issue about FanFiction – what it is, who does it, who likes it, and who doesn’t. It was a well written piece, and it really got me thinking.

I’ve never thought much of FanFic – and by that I mean I don’t think about it often. I’ve known about it for years, of course, and have read some, but sometimes finding something of quality is difficult. I don’t even have time to find new good blogs, let alone good FanFiction, so it’s simply not something I’m into. I don’t think I’ve actually written any FanFic, although I have thought out scenes in my head: What if Angel meets…

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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Fiction, Thoughts


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Toning up your writing

“Is your writing flabby or fit?”  That’s the question The Writer’s Diet asks, and it gives you immediate feedback on your writing, showing you where you have excessive verbs, prepositions, and adverbs (among other things).

I found The Writer’s Diet via MetaFilter, one of my all time favorite websites.  I’ve been introduced to hundreds of news stories, photographers, artists, singers, ideas, and interesting individuals I would never have discovered otherwise.  This is just the latest.  From the metafilter post:  “The WritersDiet Test, created by Dr. Helen Sword, allows you to enter a writing sample of 100 to 1000 words and have it graded from “lean” to “heart attack” on its level of excess verbiage.”  Well, of course I wanted to find out where my writing fell.

Since I wasn’t on the computer with my current WIP, I entered in the text of one of my more storytelling posts on my other blog, Blessed by Holy Water in Tallinn.  The results?  My overall score was “Fit and Trim,” with everything except the verbs coming in at lean.  My verbs, though, evidently need toning.  The site also highlights each of the instances within your text, so you can see where you might look into editing your content.  I can see each and every instance I used be, is, are, were, am, and was.  Very interesting, indeed.  You can also download a full diagnosis, which includes suggestions for improvement.

I definitely wanted to see what came up with my current WIP, so I switched computers and copied in the first chapter.  My results:

My current WIP is lean, baby!!

So what about this post?  “Fit and Trim,” although my verbs still need toning (but, it counted the 6 instances I used it in the paragraph above as examples, so I think I should get a break on that!).

Try out The Writer’s Diet and let me know what you think of the site.  Do you think it’s useful?  Where did your writing sample fall on the health chart?


Posted by on August 6, 2012 in The Writing Process, Useful sites


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I said it was *not* a full edit!

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to print out my current WIP in order to get a handle on the story.  I have a beginning, a middle, and an end, I just can’t seem to connect them all (actually, it’s more that I can’t connect the middle and the end together).  After struggling with the computerized version for several months, I wondered if printing the whole thing out would help.  I very emphatically told myself (and others) that this was not a full edit – I was not going to be editing for content, spelling, grammar, or any of the other small details.  I was focusing on the Big Picture.

But how can you ignore these small mistakes?  I see them, move to correct, stop myself, remind myself that’s not what I want to do right now, skim several more sentences with that mistake still strobing in my mind, trying like crazy to stop myself from going back and correcting.

I’m only successful about half the time…


Posted by on August 2, 2012 in The Writing Process


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Being a writer is not very environmentally friendly

In an attempt to get a handle on my WIP Ann and Luke (working title), I printed the whole thing out this morning.  All 60,000 words.  It wasn’t something I wanted to do, because, you know, I’m killing trees, and I feel bad about it.  And I know it’s something I’m going to have to do many, many times in the course of editing and revising.  If only there were some other way!

I struggled with how to print the pages out.  Wide or narrow margins?  Single spaced or double?  Narrow margins and single spaced means less paper (less dead trees), but I’ll need space to write notes.  The way it’s currently formatted (compiled out of Scrivener) I have plenty of space between paragraphs, so I set the line spacing to 1.5 and kept the margins normal, hoping for a happy medium.

Then I wondered if I should print front side only, or front and back.  Again, front side only leaves room for notes, but really, do I need that much space for notes?  I probably do, but I’m hoping not, at least not at this juncture (it’s not a full edit at this point).  So I went with front and back, figuring I could slip in a blank page if/when I really need it.

I ended up using 112 pieces of paper, down from the original 330 when it was first compiled into Word.  And I feel a little less guilty about those dead trees.

But then again, I live in Finland.  Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about the trees.


Posted by on July 31, 2012 in The Writing Process


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It’s a writer’s life for me

Since I last blogged here, my life has changed drastically.  I am living every writer’s dream (well, one of their dreams):  living abroad without having to work for a living, all the time in the world to write.

Oh, if only I could say I was using that time well.

You see, last year I met the most amazing man.  Things were going well, and he got a job offer in Finland.  After some discussion and frantic planning, we got married and we both moved to Finland.

Unable to work, I am now a housewife.  With no kids to fill my time.  From 8 in the morning until 6 at night, I am free to do whatever my heart desires.  My job, my husband says, is to write.  He has full faith in my ability to write a best-selling novel and have it off to an agent by the end of the year.  He is my biggest supporter, my loudest cheerleader, my most enthusiastic reader.

And yet.

In the six months I’ve been a full time writer, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything.  I started to finish one work in progress, but got stuck and didn’t feel like it had as much potential as another WIP.  So I started working on finishing that WIP, and I’m stuck again.  I have two other stories in my head begging to be let out, but I feel the need to get something finished rather than start anew.  After all, I’ll never get published if I never finish anything.

I told my husband the other day that if I let loose on the two new ideas in my head, I could have 50k words pounded out in a couple of weeks.  I would feel (and be able to show him) that I had been productive.  It’s this finishing thing I have a problem with.

I am also, remarkably, fairly busy.  The other ex-pat wives I know are just as surprised as I am by that.  We don’t work, we don’t have kids, and yet we are busy all day.  Not with shopping and watching TV and lunch with the girls that lasts for hours, but with the normal housework and errands you always have – dusting, laundry, dishes, mopping; going to the grocery store, the bank, the insurance company.  It’s often after 3 before I have a free moment, and then I think, “Oh, I have to start cooking dinner in a bit, I don’t want to get immersed in something I can’t really devote the time to.”  You know, like figuring out how to connect Plot Point 1 to Plot Point 2.  Honestly, I have no idea how I got anything accomplished when I actually worked 40 hours a week.

Time to turn things around.  Time to make myself a job, with tasks and deadlines and goals.

Because that is my job.

Goal/Task #1:  blog every day.  Whether it’s here on this blog, or on my other blog about life as an ex-pat, I will blog every day.  My deadline is midnight my time.

Goal/Task #2:  From 9am-11am every day, I will work on finishing my WIP.  And only that.  No dishes, no laundry, no dusting – only writing.

GoalTask #3:  I will actively join a writing group.  No lurking allowed.

Do you have suggestions on how to make yourself work as a writer?  Please share!



Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Thoughts


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How I saved $125 on a litter box

The litter box – such an attractive unit of furniture. If you’re lucky, you have an out of the way place to put the Poop Palace – a laundry room, an alcove, an unused closet. I have a friend who keeps hers in her extra bathtub. I was lucky – I have a great alcove in my condo for the litter box. But I still wanted to hide it – who wouldn’t? I’ve seen furniture that hides the litter box, but I really didn’t want to spend $120 (they’ve evidently since gone down since I last looked) on something my cat was going to poop in. I started looking around for furniture I could convert – hack, if you will.

A trip to the Habitat Restore yielded this cabinet ($45):

I also picked up a cat door at Lowe’s for $20. One saw cut later:

The cabinet came with 2 shelves, so I left one at the top to store things. The Beau installed a slider ($8) on the second shelf so I could slide it out to clean the litter box.

The cat door was loose in the cabinet, since it was made for an outer door rather than a thinner cabinet wall, so The Beau also put weather stripping to tighten the door, with the added benefit of keeping some of the smell in.

I was worried about the cat using the cat door, but it hasn’t been a problem.

A similar cabinet is selling for $200 on Amazon. A drawer would be nice, sure, but I like the ease of sliding the litter box out, instead.

Not a bad trade off.

What’s your best furniture hack?

*Update:  The Beau is going to install a partition, similar to the one in the cabinet selling on Amazon.  🙂


Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Random


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