Wednesday, July 29, 2009


For those who missed my last note from the universe, you should know the universe sends me daily messages. Seriously, delivered to my email box five days a week. They inspire me and remind me what I need to hear. (I can put in a call to my people if you want the universe to send you love notes too ;) )

Today's dose of wisdom is one of those that I feel should be shared with all my friends. Because really, if you take out my name and substitute your own, you should get goosebumps and be inspired by the bright future ahead of you. No matter where you are on your journey, the best is yet to come.

"Look at it like this, Karen, the more challenging your life story has been so far, the bigger the goose bumps for future generations who retell it to their kids. Who will no doubt add, "And if Karen Hooper was able to do all that, so can you!"

We've barely just begun -
The Universe

PS. Peter Pan, eat your heart out. Huh, Karen...?"

Monday, July 27, 2009


Awriter friend sent me a link to my short story that was posted on Electric Spec's blog today. They are accepting submissions for the first two hundred words of short stories and critiquing them. Mine is today's victim. lol.

My first line didn't tell enough. It's an enigmatic beginning. Probably because I like the mysterious, magical and unknown, but I do agree that the reader should be clued in right from the get go. So I'm grateful for the critique. The reader would probably enjoy my story much more if they knew the MC had just made it to Heaven.

This is why we put ourselves out there, so we can learn and become better writers.

However, now I have to rethink the first line of The Kindrily. Because guess what? Yup, it has an enigmatic beginning. First lines are so important. I thought mine was great but now it may be back to the drawing board.

How much thought have you put into your first line? Does it hook, does it reveal, does it define the problem?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The story of The Kindrily barreled into my world like a Mack truck. I wrote the whole thing (plus parts of book 2) in two months.

After it was written came the real work. The editing, the revising, character developments, etc. Many of the great changes were because I had honest and fantastic beta readers that helped strengthen the story.

Now it's sooo close to being done (I think). I've got two more betas that still have to read through until the end. Once I hear their critique I know it will be even stronger. I wish I could wiggle my nose and voila! Finished. Ready to send to agents. Instead, I must practice patience. I know this--my father has told me I need to learn to be more patient at least 8,000 times in my life.

So I stare at this new truck, the one that feels like it's moving impossibly slow. I want to honk my horn, swerve around it, try to illegally pass over the double line, but instead I repeat, "Patience, Karen, patience." Then I take a deep breath.

Then I remind myself this is just the beginning. The Mack truck is long gone. I miss its flashing lights. I miss the deep loud horn vibrating the walls of my house. The future will be one slow moving truck after another (if I'm lucky). Query Truck. Agent Reading MS Truck. Editor Truck. Publisher Submission Truck. etc etc.

There is no room for road rage in the world of an aspiring author.

Friday, July 17, 2009


o yesterday I participated in the 10k Fun Day. I set a goal for writing 10k words in one day. I realized after I had written 5k or so that I easily met this crazy pace of writing when I wrote the first draft of the Kindrily. I wrote the entire novel in two months while working a full time job. I didn't have much of a social life for those ten months, but my obsession with my story kept me happy (and busy).

Yesterday, however, was a different story.
The first 3-5k were fairly easy. I caught up on some new scenes for book two and three that I'd been thinking about. I wrote a couple thousand words for my new story. But then the creative juices ran dry. So to reach my goal I forced myself to keep writing. The result...

I wrote a scene where my characters were bitching at me. Asking why I was making them say and do stupid things. Questioning why in the world I'd make them downward spiral into a sea of mediocrity. Why? Because I was forcing myself to meet a word count with no brilliant ideas. My characters asked ME to physically jump into the story so they could smack me or hold my head under water for awhile until I promised to stop writing crappy lines and uninspired action scenes.

I took a hint, apologized, moved most of it to the Cutting Room Floor folder, and focused on short stories or my Why I Suck As A Writer essay. Don't worry, I then wrote a Why I'm A Good Writer essay.

I made 10k. 10,006 to be exact. Though my last words to cross the finish line read "This has been the most frustrating day of writing in my life." (sorry Milli)
It's a great idea this 10k in a day thing, but I've learned that I prefer writing when inspiration hits me. Otherwise, it doesn't do anyone much good. Especially my characters--who are still throwing darts at my photograph as we speak. Don't worry, they will forgive me. We have that kind of relationship.

What about you? Do your characters get mad if you don't do their story justice?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I love quotes. Always have. Years ago when I watched "The Secret" I heard one of the speakers recite a Martin Luther King quote that gave me goosebumps.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

I couldn't believe I'd never heard it before. It's one that stuck with me. One that I need to remind myself of when I'm scared to take the first step towards something. Then, I remind myself of it when I've gotten through the first step, but need the courage, will, or strength, to take the next one.

I remember saying this quote to myself when I first though about writing a novel. So I stepped. Blindly.

For months I've been climbing a very crowded staircase. Many writers have been climbing for years without reaching a landing. Lately I've been hovering on my current step...

Staring up at the spiraling, intimidating, long path in front of me.
Wondering if all this climbing and stressing is worth it.
Is it foolish to believe I'll ever reach the top?
It looks impossible from way down here.
With such a long, long way to go.
Pushing through the pain.
Tripping & Stumbling.




Climb blindly.
But enjoy the scenery.
Make each step mean something.
Realize turning back is also giving up.
Set small, reachable goals, but keep dreaming big.
Don't compete with others climbing the stairway with you.
Learn, grow, and expand your support system--and horizons.
Put one foot in front of the other, passionately, even when it's hard.

Remember, we don't have to see the whole staircase. Keep in mind, we're not alone on this journey. Rest assured, the top is probably nothing like you think it will look like anyway. Besides, there is always another staircase waiting to be conquered. Keep climbing. Blindly. But with faith. Oh, and breathe. Just breathe.

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