Friday, November 29, 2019

Li'l Pears of Sunshine: You're Doing GREAT

This is for YOU, because you need to hear this today...and every day.

We have no problem encouraging others and letting them know how great they are doing, but don’t forget to let YOURSELF know, too.

Whether you are having a good day or a bad day, hit the crest of sunshine or are trying to crawl out of a dark place right now—YOU are doing great, because you are CHOOSING to continue to move forward or are giving yourself the rest you need or taking the time to get yourself put back together—wherever you are right at this moment, you are doing what you need to in order to keep going. That’s not always easy and you are doing it! πŸ€—❤️.

So hey, Sunshine, YOU are doing great. KEEP GOING!

Feel free to share here today or with someone else something positive to show yourself you are doing great!

🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞

For the full series, check out my Instagram page at @lilpearsofsunshine 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Li'l Pears of Sunshine: Paint Your Sunshine

There are colours in you that NO ONE ELSE in this whole wide world has or even knows exist…not until you show them.

YOU are unique and special in ways that others NEED you to share…physically, mentally, emotionally—your smile, your light, your talent, your kindness, your compassion, and even the wild or quiet parts of you. You never know who needs your particular shade of sunshine, so please, don’t hide it.

Time to Paint your Sunshine all over this World!

If you can, try to take a moment today to scroll through and explore a few blogs or posts of someone you’ve never visited before and share a pear-size piece of your sunshine with someone new!

🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞

For the full series, check out my Instagram page at @lilpearsofsunshine 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Li'l Pears of Sunshine: Ringmaster

Yep, it is a reality that everyone needs to face--the crazy, wild, unpredictable parts of your life are all yours. Ups, downs, family, children (oh man, talk about monkeys!), relationships, work, trials and triumphs are all part of the circus of life. Sometimes there is only one ring lit up in the spotlight, and other times it could be three or four or five rings all going at the same time—clowns, elephants, lions, fire-rings, and balancing acts all vying for your attention.

But remember, this is YOUR circus, so if something needs to change, YOU have the ability to do so. It isn't always going to be easy, and often you will have to work those ropes and pulleys and curtains a little longer, help the clown find something to smile about, or take time out to take care of the sick little monkeys. Maybe you'll find you need something to add to your circus or maybe it is time to seriously consider changing up the cast or the acts.

Finding what works right for YOU is important. And even though it is your circus, it is OKAY if you need to ask for help to figure it all out.

So hey, Sunshine, this may be your circus, but remember, YOU are the Ringmaster--enjoy it and create the show of your life!

Who or what is in the main ring(s) of your circus today? πŸŽͺπŸ˜„.

🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞

For the full series, check out my Instagram page at @lilpearsofsunshine 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Quick Tip Tuesday: Your or You're

Two more terms that get mixed up quite a bit in manuscripts so offering a little clarification:

Your is a possessive term:

He is your boyfriend.

Your car is wicked cool.

You're is a contraction of you are:

You are going to the library.  /   You're going to the library

Let me know when you are at the party.  Let me know when you're at the party.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Li'l Pears of Sunshine: Spread Love

Who you love is who you love πŸ’–. It really is as simple as that. And don't ever forget to include yourself!πŸ₯°πŸŒž

Being happy with who you are, who you love, who and what you give your energy and time to makes all the difference in your outlook on life, in the way you treat others, and more importantly, in the way you treat yourself. Loving yourself by celebrating your uniqueness, loving your own special vibe, is so freeing...and in turn spreads to others, often without you even knowing. And that sharing HAPPINESS, KINDNESS, and LOVE promotes even more of the same in you, creating a circle of acceptance and LOVE that can spread far and wide πŸ’•πŸŒŽπŸ’•!

So hey, Sunshine, spread love freely by tagging someone in their posts today who you love or admire or who shares their love of life and/or passion for their craft freely to spread the loveπŸ˜„πŸŒž❤️

🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞

For the full series, check out my Instagram page at @lilpearsofsunshine 

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Quick Tip Tuesday: STOP YELLING!!

Overuse of exclamation points makes it read as if your characters are yelling All! The! Time!

A good rule of thumb is to seek and destroy the vast majority of exclamation marks (a good 90%), using them only when absolutely necessary to enhance the moment.  Instead, see if you can use stronger verbs/descriptives to paint the tone of the moment to really draw the reader in visually and with sensory details.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Li'L Pears of Sunshine: Every Shape is Beautiful

I’ve always been the “rounder” one—whether next to my naturally thin sister or my friends, even years of different co-workers. It took me a very long time to start accepting myself for who I am as a whole person, not just the container I’m in. Sure, maybe I'm not at the weight I want to be, but that doesn’t mean I won't get there if and when I'm ready. But my shape has nothing to do with who I am INSIDE, how I choose to treat others, my beliefs, my passions, or my choice of friends. And it especially doesn't decide for me how smart or creative or happy I can be.

My size doesn’t define the person I am, and yours DOES NOT define you, whether you feel too thin or overweight, gangly or thick-ankled, apple-shaped, stick-shaped, or pear-shaped—because EVERY SINGLE THING about you, is 100% unique to YOU, and that is why you are so BEAUTIFUL. No one else is like you and that is what makes you so special, so beautifulπŸ’–.

You hear all the time that beauty comes from within…that’s because when you start embracing yourself, all of you, the cloud of other people’s opinions lifts, letting your inner light shine out, and it is a truly beautiful thing.

So hey, Sunshine, every shape IS beautiful. EMBRACE YOURS! Share something about you in the comments--shape, personality, passion, your choice--and then go and share a sunshine and a heart today in someone else's post to let them know they are beautiful, too.

🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞

For the full series, check out my Instagram page at @lilpearsofsunshine 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Quick Tip Tuesday: Mom versus mom

A confusion I see a lot of in manuscripts is the capitalization--or not--of Mom/Dad/Mother/Father.

The general rule is that if you can use a proper name to replace the word, then it should be capitalized.

A) “Hey, Mom,” he yelled.
B) “Hey, mom,” he yelled.

Try: “Hey, Susan,” he yelled.

So, in this case, A is correct--capitalized.

A) Jenny took her Dad to the grocery store.
B) Jenny took her dad to the grocery store.

Try:  Jenny took her Frank to the grocery store.

LOL, nope, that doesn’t sound right at all. In this case, B is correct--not capitalized.

So, for a quick reference whether to capitalize or not, simply read the sentence out loud using a proper name in place of the parental term of choice.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Li'l Pears of Sunshine: The World needs more YOU

Why does society make it that if you don’t match, you don’t fit in? If you aren’t wearing the right style, or aren’t the right size, or think the same way, then you just don’t measure up…what is with that!?

What fun is there in everyone being exactly the same? Yes, it hurts to feel left out or put down for thinking/acting/dressing/doing differently, believe me, I know, but it took me far too long to realize I was/am just fine the way I am. Great, in fact, because when I finally stopped trying to be just like “them” and especially the way “they” wanted me to be, I found the happy, grateful, unique person I was meant to be.

Respectfully, people have their own lives to lead, and in whichever way they choose, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow their path, take their dark nasty and put downs, or can’t live life in the sunshine, full of hope and positivity, with a grateful heart, in our own amazingly unique way.

So hey, Sunshine, hold your head high and just be your sunny self, because YOU are so much more than “them.”

Feel free to comment with one Positive word to describe YOURSELF, then go around and tag a few friends with a sunshine 🌞 and a positive word on their post to show them you see the special individual they are, too πŸ₯°.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Li'l Pears of Sunshine: Bravery

Why does not finishing something or changing the plan halfway through have to mean we failed at something?

NOTHING is failure, because everything teaches us something…whether what we can handle, what we need more work on, what we like or what we don’t like—what we will accept and what we shouldn’t accept from others. And all those lessons are the footwear for our next step. And that is all starting over is, another step.

Keeping one foot in front of the other isn’t easy—you fall down, pull yourself up again just to trip up and tumble again, but if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, always moving, then you are NOT failing; You are Brave, courageous and life-affirming. (I like the term I heard recently, “falling forward”) No, it isn’t easy sometimes, more of a struggle than you even tell others, right? But that’s okay, because starting over means you have AMAZING COURAGE not to stop, not to give up, but to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. 100 times, a 1000 times, it doesn’t matter. Just keep starting over if you have to, every minute, every day, every job, every relationship. Every step forward is taking you closer to where you are meant to be, to whom you are meant to be with, to the incredible person you are meant to be and want to be.

So hey, Sunshine, starting over is NOT failure—it is Bravery. YOU ARE BRAVE. Just keep telling yourself this.

Do you know someone else who could use a little help with starting over, with that next step? Feel free to tag them in the comments, and maybe tag a few on their social media posts today with a heart and a strong arm ❤️πŸ’ͺ🏻 to let them know you see their bravery, too.

🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞  🌞

For the full series, check out my Instagram page at @lilpearsofsunshine 

Friday, October 04, 2019

Li'l Pears of Sunshine - Wine anyone?

Do you find you save things, waiting only for the perfect time to use them? Saving a particular bottle of wine for a special occasion or saving that beautiful paint palette until you have just the right inspiration for the perfect painting so as not to use it all up? I am guilty of this—especially holding back from using new and colourful art supplies until I have the perfect idea, perfect project, because I don’t want to waste them, use them all up in case I need them for something better in the future.

But…isn’t that what special things are meant for? To use…to enjoy? To make us happy? And how many times has it happened before that the bottle of wine goes vinegary before that special promotion or birthday comes around, or the pretty paint or colourful glitter pens you couldn’t wait to get dries up before you even took the chance to use them?

WHY do we have to wait for a “special occasion” or the perfect moment...isn’t every moment we are breathing, spending time with family and friends, a little time enjoying our own company, tapping into our creative vibe, or just relaxing after a long day at work a reason to celebrate? A time to enjoy life to the fullest? EVERY MOMENT is special…because YOU make it special. So hey, Sunshine, remember--sometimes you CAN have your wine AND drink it, too—and those ARE the best days.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Quick Tip Tuesday: A litTILe but big issue

Amazing how one little word is a main correction in every seven out of ten manuscripts I edit.

Till...til...'til.  Which is right?

As usual, it all depends on what you are trying to say...

He slid the ten dollar bill into the til and took out a five to hand back for change.

Till -- a store's cash register.

He slid the ten dollar bill into the till and took out a five to hand back for change.

Til we meet again.
I ain't givin' you no money til you show me the goods.

Till we meet again.
I ain't givin' you no money till you show me the goods.

'Til -- is the short form of Until...the apostrophe goes in place of the missing letter.

Until we meet again.
'Til we meet again.
I ain't givin' you no money 'til you show me the goods.

Til is technically not a word -- mostly used in abbreviated reference of "Today I Learned"

Hope this helps and you can say, "TIL how to use till and 'til the right way." 😁

Friday, September 27, 2019

Li'l Pears of Sunshine

Last Wednesday on Instagram I debuted my new art series Li'l Pears of Sunshine, and I'm excited to share the first one here with you today, too!

Frost Your Words With Kindness……ESPECIALLY to yourself! Why is it we can be so kind and encouraging to friends, family, and even those we’ve just met, yet be so brutal and hard on ourselves? We put ourselves down for what we perceive as not good enough, for not measuring up or being who we think we SHOULD be rather than happily enjoying and reminding ourselves of the wonderful, unique, amazing person we actually are.

The concept for this whole series began because I slowly (very slowly) started to recognize this constant, negative dialogue I had with myself. I started practicing mindfulness, using a simple phrase to pull myself back when I caught myself immersed in that negative thought/overthinking spiral…”Bring it on back, Sunshine," and in a gentle voice--as in bring your focus on back to the blessings right in front of you. My dad used to call us Sunshine like that when we were kids (and even now sometimes😁) and always with a big smile on his face. It always made me feel happy and special, making it the perfect, positive reinforcement. And it honestly worked. Yes, it was a slow process, and I’m still working on it--but I actually get proud of myself now because I catch the negative patterns so much sooner, switch them out, and focus on all the blessings in my life that show me positivity really is a far better path. So, frost your words with kindness, Sunshine, and remember to show YOURSELF the same love and encouragement you so generously give to others πŸ₯°☀️🍐. 

This is just the beginning, so if you want to see more or follow the series, I will be posting new ones twice a week on Instagram @lilpearsofsunshine, once a week here on my blog and occasionally other social media sites like facebook and twitter.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tuesday Tips: Do you have the right time?

(Repost from July 2018 because I am finding it relevant yet again for a handy tip)

Are you sure?  Because quite a number of manuscripts that cross my desk don't.
  • Characters are noted as preparing for a birthday party in two weeks, but a month passes before the actual event happens.  
  • A court date is set for Monday, but the characters meet to discuss it the next Thursday.
  • The characters meet on Thanksgiving, kiss under the mistletoe on Christmas Eve, then sleep together a week before Christmas.  
Sure makes readers scratch their head and think, Huh?

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your manuscript is to print out a blank calendar page--weekly or monthly, even yearly depending on the time frame of your story--and keep it beside your keyboard as you write.  Jot down a quick reference note on the day the story opens and every time a day goes by or a time lapse such as "a few weeks later" are mentioned. Underlining, highlighting, or making main events bold also helps. (If you are anything like me, you'll have a cupful of colored pens beside your monitor, too 😍) 

Having a calendar to make notes on not only gives you a visual of the timeline and pacing of your story, but you will quickly find the holes that can happen, the gaps needing to be filled or validated to make the story flow appropriately.   As you revise, keep track again, maybe in a different color, to ensure new details, added scenes or pages, stay on target or show you where you need to revise again to ensure the timeline makes sense to your readers.

And if your story is to happen in a certain time frame, even better.  Jot down the start day and the end day, which now gives you a direct timeline to play with.  Fill in the main events, scratch them out, mark the days up again, and keep playing around with it until you find the natural flow of events necessary for an accurate time frame.

But what if I write by the seat of my pants, you ask?  Pansters unite--because having a calendar doesn't mean you have to know every detail right away, that's why you keep the page beside your computer, so as the creative juices flow and you twist and turn your plot and characters, you can make quick notes on the calendar page, too.  Then, when you look at it after the first draft, you have the perfect visual reference guide to assist you in making those decisions needed for revisions, those fine-tuning details that really bring your story to life...and on time.

A search on Google for free calendar pages will produce loads to choose from, or simply draw up a blank template of your own.

Whether you are a planner or a panster, it's a good idea to have blank calendar pages in your writer's toolkit to pull out before beginning each new manuscript.



πŸ™‹Don't forget to check out my links on the side to pop on over and visit me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Just a few more days...

If you have been following me on Instagram--@bystacydawn--then you will know that it is only a few more days before I debut my new signature art series...

I am so excited!!  This Wednesday is a big day for another reason, too, and I will share both of these on the blog then as well as setting up a new regular blog stay tuned!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Happy Summer

Hope you are all enjoying your summer!

I'm looking forward to our annual camping trip coming up next month--minimal technology allowed which is always a nice breakπŸ˜‰ 😊

Life has kind of taken over this year, lots of changes and still more expected, but come September, I will be working full steam ahead on the ebook for Demystifying Deeper POV with more details, examples and the short story of Dane and Kathleen included as an added bonus. I am beginning an artistic venture I am really excited about and can't wait to share.

Until then...stay happy and hydrated in the sunshine!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hosting TWRP Chat -- Swat That Fly!

I will be hosting this week's The Wild Rose Press Tuesday Chat tomorrow, June 11, 2019 at 8pm

Do you panic and cringe when told there is too much Telling versus Showing…or worse, a lack of Deeper POV in your manuscript? Do you even know what that actually means?

You are not alone—not by a long shot. Many writers struggle with these terms, and that is why I created DEMYSTIFYING DEEPER POV.   Join me for the live Chat at 8pm - 9pm EST for tips and tricks to Swat that Telling Fly right out of your manuscript!

If you can't joint me Tuesday, don't worry, you can pop over and read my four-part blog series on DEMYSTIFYING DEEPER POV here: 

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Finally Spring

I know, in reality it is just a few short weeks away from summer...but the winter just seemed to go on this year making everything late.  We only just started seeing blooms around the homestead this week.  Aren't they just lovely!

Lots of projects in the works and some big changes both family-wise and professionally happening in the background.  Hopefully, I will  get back on a more consistent blog schedule soon for you πŸ’–

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Playing Catch Up

Seems this is all I am doing lately, catching up from one thing or another.  Just a busy time of year both work-wise and family-wise.  So, I apologize for the lack of posts lately and want to leave you with a little spring least it was when I drew this, but this morning, we woke up to SNOW again πŸ˜†.  Sheesh.

Anyone want to send a little spring my way, feel free πŸ˜πŸ’ŸπŸŒ³

Sunday, February 17, 2019

How are your goals going?

Does this look familiar? 😁

I am really hoping not to play that game again!

The difference this year is that my husband has joined me in a health journey and we are taking it slow and steady with a lot more planning instead of just winging it LOL.   

I think the biggest thing is that over the last year I have realized a lot of patterns, or should I say acknowledged a lot of patterns that are more defeating than helping.  I even listed them out with some plausible and positive ways to change as it keeps them more in the forefront of my mind so I notice when I start falling back.  Don't get me wrong...there is a LOT of falling back; you can't change YEARS of habits in one month (boy, do I wish I could!) but I am trying to focus on the fact that I do actually catch myself and it is this recognition and mindfulness of learning that is moving me forward one step at a time. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Writing Wednesday Tip - "Naming Chapters"

Just a quick tip today because the snow storms this week have been wreaking havoc on the internet service πŸ’¨πŸ˜±

A lot of submissions cross my desk where the chapters are titled with the main characters' names....and I simply have to ask the question why?

For starters, it can belittle both you and the reader if you have to TELL them who the chapter is about, especially over and over and over again:

Chapter One:  David
Chapter Two: Lily
Chapter Three: David
Chapter Four: Lily...


The better option is a clear first line or second line/short paragraph of specific perception to strongly establish point of view of the chapter/scene.  Deeper POV works wonders in these situations.  SHOW the reader who the main character is by putting them right in that character's head ASAP at the beginning of the chapter.  Even if you are using first person for each character, there are subtle and strong ways to ensure the reader knows whose perception the moment is in.

The second reason for not using names as a chapter title is that you are basically dropping a big honking brick wall into your story, which totally defeats the purpose, especially if there is a good hook at the end of the previous chapter.  This wall stops the read flat, yanking the reader right out of your story for a second or two to read a name that is actually redundant to Tell.  And these are PRECIOUS moments you don't want to lose, because those are the exact seconds they remember the laundry needs to be moved from the washer to the dryer or they aren't ready for the meeting the next morning and really should look over those notes or get a good night's sleep.  Without that wall, without that redundant Name, your reader will go right from the end of one tense chapter to continue immediately into the tension of the next, to find out what happens next, and keep turning the pages, eager to read more.

Just to be clear, it is not wrong if you want to title your chapters, but that title should have a purpose, mean something to the story, and just repeating names over and over for every chapter just doesn't have that impact, so instead, let the characters themselves give your readers a reason to keep turning your pages fast and furiously!

All content ©bystacydawn


☮ Visit me on social media and at my website ~ links on the side πŸ’Ÿ

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Don't Make This a Passive Year!

Let's start Writing Wednesdays this year on a strong getting rid of those passive verbs that make your manuscript Telling.

The trick is to let your character Show the scene through his/her specific experience of the moment, and part of this is using stronger verbs to mirror the tone so as to pull the reader into the experience with your main character.

Now remember, the first draft is just that, a first draft....let it all out and who cares how it reads or what specific words you use. THE most important thing about the first draft is that you get the story out of your head and onto the paper/computer screen--because there is a good chance it won’t ever get written if it stays in your brain while you try to get it “perfect.” Trust me, I know because I am sooooo bad at doing that.

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” 
~ Terry Pratchett

It is when you are revising that you want to start layering in details for the reader, choosing specific word that will paint a vivid picture, deepen your characters, and bring out a fully rounded story.

"Was" before an "ing" word is the biggest red flashing light you want to look for to revise the Passive out of your manuscript. To be clear, it is not wrong to have some of these type of verb phrases; you just don’t want to only have them, or have a large percentage of them, as it will lend to a Telling read. You  want to make sure you have sought out and assessed each instance to ensure if they are valid or could be stronger.

Let’s see a few examples in three different ways—Telling/Passive, the Better choice, and a Stronger version, which could Show more specifically the experience of the character in that moment:

Telling/Passive: was walking
Better: walked
Stronger: strolled, meandered, hurried, scurried, strutted, sashayed—each one gives a very different experience of the moment, and using the right word to mirror your character’s mood/perception at that time will strengthen the overall tone of the scene.

Telling/Passive: was eating
Better: ate
Stronger: gulped, chewed, chomped

Telling/Passive: was thinking
Better: thought, considered
Stronger: studied, mused, contemplated, worried

Again, occasional use of the passive can work, but when the goal is to draw your reader into the moment, a more descriptive verb that mirrors the tone of the scene  paints a moment they can experience with your character.

Try it in your own manuscript by doing a Find search for "ing" on a few pages at a time and see how many passive verbs you can strengthen.

Keep passive writing back in 2018.  Let's make 2019 a strong and active writing year! πŸ˜‰

~~~~~~~~~~~~   ☮ ~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Visit me on social media and at my website ~ links on the side πŸ’Ÿ

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Special Day!

We are celebrating Jimmy's Gotcha Day today.  Three years ago, he picked us to come home with from the shelter.

He is DEFINITELY a character and all attitude LOL.

But the funniest, lovingest, steal-the-middle-of-the-beddiest puppy ever.

If you pop over to my Instagram stories [ @bystacydawn ] or Facebook post you will be able to watch the video of him telling his mama he loves her πŸ˜πŸ’–

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Walking into 2019

I hope everyone had a good start to their new year!

I have been "filling the well" as they say and taking a bit of time off after a pretty gung-ho end of last year.  But I am slowly putting things together and will have the regular Writing Wednesdays tips and topics starting up again shortly, as well as working on the Demystifying Deeper POV ebook to have ready as one of my main goals this year.

Speaking of goals, here is another BIG one!

Okay, let's be honest for a minute, I am not actually, physically walking across Canada LOL. But I have made this journal spread so I can keep track of my steps to see how long it would take me and as intensive to move more every day.  I will share my progress province to province on some of the Sunday Funday posts 😁

What are your hopes/goals for this year?  Remember, big or little, something to focus toward helps pave the path to follow your dreams.