Home Where She Belongs by Penny Frost McGinnis

Welcome to the holiday season! I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled theme, which is all about endings this month, and taking time to highlight the books of writer friends. If you’re looking to buy Christian fiction as gifts, the posts this week will give you ideas on how to wrap up a great story for a gift. First up is Home Where She Belongs by Penny Frost McGinnis, a fellow author with Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Here’s the back cover blurb for her debut novel.

Tired of being a pawn for her father and an emotional punching bag for her ex-boyfriend, Sadie Stewart escapes to Abbott Island where she spent summers with her grandparents. Would the love and faith she learned from them be enough to fuel her new life? She wants to believe God’s promises, yet broken trust holds her back. 

Joel Grayson left the island long enough to train at the Police Academy. The community trusts him, even though he’s failed. When he finds Sadie at her grandparents’ cottages, his heart skips a beat. He’d love to get to know her again, but no one needs to share the hurt he harbors. 

When Sadie discovers someone is sabotaging her future, she seeks Joel’s help. As they are drawn together, will Joel let down his guard and let her in? Will Sadie trust the man who loves her and the Father Who cares?

To get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what inspiration Penny used to pen (Sorry. Had to do it) her “small-town romance with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope”, click here to visit her post. Penny also wrote a guest blog for me about using nature in our writing.

What’s the best book you’ve received as a Christmas gift?

You’ve Finished NaNoWriMo. Now What?

Congratulations! You’ve finished NaNoWriMo. Now what?

Whether you reached your goal or not, any attempt a writer makes to work on his or her art is an achievement. But now that it’s over, what’s the next step? Although my attempt at NaNoWriMo last March didn’t accomplish what I hoped, I do have some advice for whatever shape your story is in, come December 1.

Let It Go

At least for awhile. I’ve always bemoaned the fact that NaNoWriMo is held in November. But the one advantage of doing it in that month is that December follows it and everyone is usually so busy in December that a writer really doesn’t have time to keep working on a novel started in November. And that’s perfect.

I’ve found that once I finish a story, I need to let it sit awhile without looking working on it at all. Times vary. Some writers need to leave it alone for only a week, others, a month.

For my latest short story, I worked on it over several months and then submitted it. Of course, after I let it go, an idea for improving the next to last line came to me weeks later. So I contacted the editor of the anthology. She said she hadn’t started editing yet, so if I had changes, I should go ahead and make them. As I dug back into the short story, I was pleasantly surprised how smoothly it read. Except for one part, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense. So I changed the next to last line and the dialogue in the scene that didn’t make sense. Stepping away from it for several weeks helped me see where the story needed work.

Edit, Edit, Edit

January will probably be a good month to bring your NaNoWriMo novel into the light and see how it looks. Now is the time to edit. No one writes a perfect first draft. If you haven’t edited a fiction story before, ask for advice from writer friends, check out writing blogs, borrow writing books. Editing will only improve your novel, and your want your novel to be the best it can be.

For more post on NaNoWriMo, click here.

How was your NaNoWriMo? What are your plans for finishing your novel?

Plots Points for NaNoWriMo

Need plot points for NaNoWriMo? Now that NaNoWriMo is more than half over, you may be running out of inspiration, especially when it comes to plot. For me, keeping a plot fresh is the hardest part of writing. Below are some suggestions to reignite inspiration as you head toward your goal for NaNoWriMo.

Let settings suggest plots twists.

A chase in a blizzard is different from a chase in torrential downpour. Shadowing someone in New York City is different from shadowing someone at a county fair. When you delve deep into a setting, the unique qualities of it will suggest plot points.

Let characters’ personalities suggest plot twists.

Do you have a character who doesn’t bother to filter her comments? Let that habit kick off a plot twist. An introverted character who keeps a secret could serve a similar purpose.

Fight stereotypes

If you have a cheerleader, make her a nice one. How would that change your plot? Turn your main character’s best friend–the quirky one with all the best lines– into an antagonist. Give your teen MC one parent who actually understands him. Fighting stereotypes can freshen your writing and produce potential plot points.

Have the main character lose something critical or gain something unexpected.

In my novel, A Shadow on the Snow, my teen detective Rae Riley is an amateur photographer. Shortly before her mother died, she gave Rae a camera. The camera is stolen during the story. That theft added so much to the plot.

Still need plot points for NaNoWriMo? Click here for more inspiration.

What do you do when you need fresh ideas for plot?

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