Some Christmas thoughts

Just a little reminder about keeping your perspective, from a sane voice speaking out in the noisy chaos of the holiday season. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Whichever you choose, make it a good one.

Chris Martin Writes

Just wanted to give you (and me) some things to ponder this Christmas.

Be careful not to push so hard to “keep Christ in Christmas” that you end up judging and condemning those who don’t.

Remember the men and women who have been killed in the line of duty, whether it be in law enforcement or the military.

It’s not really a big deal if people say Happy Holidays over Merry Christmas.

Jesus is so amazingly more than just a Christmas story.

It’s not worth maxing out every credit card you have just to give your children an “awesome Christmas.”

Jesus is not just the “reason for the season.” He is the reason we have daily relationship with our Father.

There are so many people who can’t be with their families. Let’s not ever forget that.

Jesus paid much too high a price for us to only celebrate Him one…

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To everything there is a season…


…and death is no exception.

Even when it is expected, death is a devastating event for those that are left behind. Grief is an overwhelming emotion that colors every decision and every word. For some, voices become soft and weak in an effort to comfort those around them. For others, words become sharp and cutting, knives used to exorcise pain and ease mourning. Some withdrawal like turtles, hiding in their shells in an effort to avoid facing the pain. Others push blindly forward, trying desperately to find their way out of the maze of chaos and despair. Grief can expose every one of these extremes, and reveal the entire range of feeling in between them.

Me? I try to find beauty in the things around me. Reminders that no matter how much pain I feel now, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, and life will go on. It does not have to be anything significant. The smile of a child, a glint of sun on snow, a kind word from a friend. Anything that touches my soul and reminds me of life contains astounding beauty.

Today, it is this poem.

Do not stand at my grave and weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Mary Frye, American poet (1904 – 2004)

For Buckshot, a man of quiet but fierce love, unyielding determination and unwavering beliefs. You have touched our lives in so many ways and will be greatly missed.

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#Hashtags for Writers

Twitter Feed for @cbstoryweaver

Twitter Feed for @cbstoryweaver

When I started using Twitter, I had no idea what I was doing.  Hashtags, retweets, mentions, DM’s; all that Twitter-speak was Greek to me. For the Twitter newbie, the whole process can be a little overwhelming. The volume of tweets doesn’t make the process easy, either. According to statistics, Twitter averages 500 million tweets a day, or 5,700 tweets per second. That’s a lot of twitting tweets. With all those tweets floating around out there, it is difficult to find the ones you are really interested in.

That is where hashtags come in.

Anyone with a teenager, or a TV, has probably heard of hashtags. They show up everywhere these days. It may just sound like an annoying catchphrase, but it is actually an efficient way to categorize ideas and information. In order for your intended audience to find your tweets, and for you to find theirs, hashtags are a necessary evil.

Over time, I have collected a list of hashtags that are writing related to help me find the tweets I am interested in. They are listed below. I have included a few others that are recommended for writers, but I have not tried all of them yet.


  • #AmEditing
  • #AmRevising
  • #AmWriting
  • #AskAgent
  • #AskAuthor
  • #AskEditor
  • #Author
  • #Books
  • #BookWorm
  • #CampNaNoWriMo
  • #Creativity
  • #Editing
  • #FictionFriday
  • #FridayFlash
  • #GreatReads
  • #Inspiration
  • #MustRead
  • #NaNoSprint
  • #NaNoWriMo
  • #Novels
  • #Novelists
  • #Poem
  • #Poet
  • #Poets
  • #Poetry
  • #PubTip
  • #Publishing
  • #SciFi
  • #SelfPublishing
  • #Storytelling
  • #WhatToRead
  • #WIP
  • #WordCount
  • #WordSprint
  • #WordWar
  • #WriteGoal
  • #WriteQuote
  • #Writer
  • #Writers
  • #WritersLife
  • #WriterWednesday
  • #WriteTip
  • #Writing
  • #WritingPrompt
  • #WritingSprint
  • #WritingTips
  • #WroteToday

I know it is an extensive list, but most of them are pretty much self-explanatory.  Try them out and keep the ones that work for you.

Happy Tweeting!


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Old Man Winter Blows

Winter is the bane of my existence. I know, I know. I’m living in the wrong place to have the right to complain, but anyone would be fed up with winter after months of shoveling, snow blowing, windshield scraping, and firewood hauling. Oh, and don’t forget the constant dripping noise coming from the kitchen because we’re under a run water advisory. So much for not wasting finite resources. If all that wasn’t enough, surely house breaking a puppy in below zero temps would push any sane person over the edge.

Suffice it to say, I am hating Old Man Winter right now.

For me, the other downfall of winter is the lack of people-watching opportunities. I love getting character and story ideas from the people around me, but it’s definitely not a winter time activity. It is not easy to observe people unobtrusively when it’s 13 below. They tend to look at you funny when you sit in the snow, teeth chattering and hands shaking, while you stare at them. People-watching is a lot easier when the sun is shining, it’s warm enough for shorts, and your hands aren’t trembling as you scribble madly in a notebook-and your teeth aren’t clacking together like one of those motorized toys.

I am really looking forward to summer and a little creative surveillance. That, and a puppy that doesn’t run back to the door after thirty seconds in the snow. In the mean time, I’ll console myself with the knowledge that, on good days, I get awesome views like the one above as I drive to work.

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Playlist for 2/8/14

I’m working on a story with a little darker edge to it, so some of my music choices this week are reflecting it.

Atlas Air (Instrumental) by Massive Attack

Damaged by Assemblage 23

My Only Swerving by El Ten Eleven

Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second by STRFKR

Choke by Hybrid

Momma Sed   Indigo Children   Sour Grapes by Puscifer

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That’ll leave a mark

While story and character ideas often pop into my head, usually at the most inopportune moments, they never arrive complete.  They are just images and half-formed ideas, things I have to think about for a while before they are ready for me to begin sharing them with the world.  This is one of the best parts of the creative process for me, as well as one of the hardest.

Building characters from the ground up is difficult for me, but not in the way that you would think.  Character sheets are very helpful and I use them often (see here), at least for my main characters.  They help me work out all the details about my characters lives, what they look like, and what their goals are.  That’s the easy part.  The hard part for me is knowing that each decision I make about their past will affect how they respond in the story, so I have to choose carefully.

Characters in a story are just like people, at least in the respect that their past makes them who they are.

We are like velcro.  Little bits of our past stick to us, giving us a new shape.  We pick up habits, develop ideas, form beliefs, all because of the people we knew and the experiences we had.  Baggage, if you will.  Those things tend to leave a mark, and those marks change us.  They change how we perceive things, and how we respond to them.

The characters I create are exactly the same.  That’s where the difficulty arises.  When I’m writing, I have an idea of where the story is going and how the characters will behave, change, and grow. If I choose their past incorrectly, then their responses to situations will seem contrived and forced as I try to make them fit into the story I have planned.  I have let these choices stand a few times, but then I find the story going into a completely different direction than I originally envisioned.  That can turn out good and make the story better, but I’ve only had that happen once.

I remember reading books as a child where you could choose your own ending.  Each choice you made gave you a different adventure, a different ending.  It’s the same concept.  Every choice you make for your characters brings them to a different place, their velcro holding on to the bits of their past that mark the journey they have taken to get there.

I need another cup of coffee.  I have a lot of creating to do.  Adding and removing baggage to my fictional characters is a long process.

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Post NaNo Blues…

Yeah…not so much, to be honest.

December 1st marks the end of yet another NaNoWriMo.  While I didn’t hit my goal of 50,000 words, I came pretty darn close.  After 30 days of writing without editing, which is pretty hard for me, I made it to 43,720. Not too shabby.

It’s very hard to be disappointed in numbers like that. After all, I do still have a life. Now is the time to focus, to release my inner editor from the cage I forced her into, and fix all the problems I let go throughout the month.

So congrats to all my fellow NaNo’s who made it to their goal. For the rest of us, tomorrow is yet another day; another chance to release the voices and the stories in our heads.

Happy writing!

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