Little “Aha” Moments…


Woodpile Kitty

This week was full of small, unusual events. Ever have one of those? Not bowl-you-over exciting or anything, but just a steady stream of small things that help to keep us from drowning beneath the everyday stuff. 

It wasn’t without some stresses, as a press release I’d sent out pro bono in December for a local group created some unexpected waves. Then another pro bono task fell short of the organizer’s expectations so that had to be redone. Twice. (My husband may be right about no good deed going unpunished.) 

But on the upside, I got to spend time with a good friend who was back in the area on business; I was invited to write on a unique and exciting new book with a group of very talented writers, and thanks to the members of my super critique groups, the editing on “Merciful Blessings” is coming along at a steady pace.

My good friend Karen Bostrom was offered a contract by Wild Rose Press for her latest work, and although I have yet to hear back from any of the editors or agents who have requested my manuscript in the past 6 months, I have rescinded my decision to give up fiction writing all together.

The guest bloggers I’ve invited to visit here have accepted and I’m hoping for more to come. Published story writer Chelle Martin will be my first and we’re working on February dates when she’s recovered from her cold.

I had a LARGE “aha” moment this week when I was reading an article on the Author Marketing ezine. It’s a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that truly simplified my entire writing life: “Every character should want something even if it is a glass of water.”

When we’re planning our characters before writing that book, or editing the novel we’ve just finished, isn’t that a great question to keep in front of us?

“What does that character want?” Check and make sure that each character wants something, and that the reader knows what it is  – and why they can’t have it!

I’m still shaking my head over this. It is the complex concept of Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, distilled into a single sentence. Thanks, Mr. Vonnegut!!

I hope your week included moments of “aha”, too. Read a great book or write a good chapter? Good for you!!! Keep it up! And if you want to share with us, please do!

See you in a few days!



About NL Quatrano

Award-winning author, speaker, editor and ghost writer, Nancy owns a full-time editing, writing and specialty publishing business: On-Target Words/WC Publishing. Volunteer/member of professional writing organizations including Florida Writers Assoc., Sisters in Crime, and AWAI. 2010 Professional Woman of the Year by the NAPW. Linked in Editor Pick May 2013. International Women's Leadership Association nominee for Outstanding Leadership 2014. Author of Murder in Black and White, Still Shot, Merciful Blessings, and numerous published short stories.
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2 Responses to Little “Aha” Moments…

  1. Your “aha” moment was thought-provoking and relevant to one of the things I’ve been thinking about: what about living my life as if I’m the main character in my own real-life novel? (And I don’t mean my sagging middle, though I’m working on that, too, post-holidays!)

    Maybe we should ask ourselves what we really want. You said KV says every character should want something, and I think it would be tremendously poweful to be aware of what that something is and go for it! Sometimes we are so busy getting through all the stuff we do in life that we forget our own goals and motivations as we deal with the conflict.

    As the heroine of my own book/life, it’s important for me to get clear on what I want and then ACT to “make it so” as Captain Picard would say. No one’s stopping me except me, though I confess that sometimes I’ve used my responsbilities to others as my reason or excuse NOT to make my wants SO.

    I beleive it’s important to do pro bono/volunteer work, AND I am learning that I need to learn when to say “Yes” and when to say “No” – or at least learn to ask for help, delegate, or set limits on my time so that I have time to write and to finally clean my office!!! I am making progress at last! Also, it’s only as a writer that I have direct control over the whole cast of characters. I can make them do anything I want!!! Unlike “real” life. So I’m concentrating on doing what I need to do.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your ideas, and know that you make a big difference in other people’s lives by expressing yourself and being who you are! Have a great week with lots of delightful surprises and fewer of the kinds of “aha” moments and “learning experiences” that steal time away from what you most love to do. 🙂 Karen

    • NL Quatrano says:

      Thanks, Karen! Yes, you’ve made a great point. We do get so caught up in doing what must be done to keep up with the tides, that we lose sight of our goals. I think it’s even easier to do in real life than it is in a manuscript or project.
      I’ve finally succumbed to the idea of writing them down and posting them beside my desk, where I spend 70% of my life. At least they aren’t so easy to overlook now. And, I find I’m marking them off that list more frequently!
      Thanks for sharing your perspective. And congratulations on the new contract offer! I know you’re excited about the February release of “Dangerous Sands” – I know I can’t wait to buy my copy!!!

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