The life of a novelist isn’t all about sitting at the computer plunking out page after page, chapter after chapter, of a manuscript. Much of what a novelist does is listen. I listen to the story going on in my head. But listening isn’t always that easy. I’m sure you’ve noticed that we live in a very busy, very noisy, world.
It’s for that reason that I am incredibly thankful that I have a little getaway place where it’s extremely quiet. Private, out in the boonies, and extremely quiet. This is a place where I can really listen.
Technically, it’s not MY place, but I’m privileged to have access as long as I make plans far enough in advance. It’s in Texas, and is located about eight miles from the nearest small town.
My Most Recent Getaway
I try to make every effort to take a break and run off to this hideaway for a four-day weekend about every three months or so. I did exactly that just recently. The weather was perfect which meant I could spend many hours outdoors.
This is my view sitting on the front porch. (Most of my time is spent here.)
This is the view in the back acreage.
This is the road where I take long walks.
During this most recent visit, I read, non-stop, through a completed manuscript, editing and making changes as I read. I was delighted with what I read. This is a sense of satisfaction that is difficult to describe. Fulfilling. Satisfying.
To cap it off, I’ve been attempting to finish up another novel, and the scenes for the final chapters were yet to be formulated. However, as I was able to get quiet, those final scenes — events as it were — came to me almost fully formed. That was thrilling.
Why hadn’t those scenes come to me before now?
Because I had not had quality listening time. Listening makes all the difference.
Everyone Needs Spaces of Solitude and Quiet
I believe this is true for any endeavor. In order to know what’s going on inside yourself (your heart and your head), there must be moments of solitude and quiet that enable you to hear. Really hear.
Who knows what creative ideas might be formulating in your little brain. Take time to listen and find out what they are!
PS: Heads up! Be on the lookout for Title #5 in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection. Forever is Over — coming soon!! (See back-cover copy below.)
What could be more traumatic to a sixth grader than to have her best friend and neighbor move away?
To have that friend return in eighth grade, totally changed.
But then, Lori Ann Layton doesn’t believe her former best friend has changed. Lori believes even though friend Maritza Novales is devastated by her parents’ divorce, and even though she now looks like a model for Seventeen Magazine — she’s still the same on the inside. After all, Lori knows Maritza better than anyone, or so she thinks. And now she sets about to prove it.
Lori is convinced all her troubles stem from her father’s election to the school board. He has pushed through a ruling for city-wide academic eligibility for sports participants at all schools. Four first-string football players at East Birch Jr. High are immediately off the team.
Lori is editor of the East Birch Junior High newspaper, (The Panther Paw Prints) and needs interviews and cooperation from the team, but team members are upset with her because of her father’s actions. Her friend, Amy, also on newspaper staff, says Lori should write an editorial saying she disagrees with the board’s decision. But Lori isn’t sure she is in disagreement with the ruling. It’s a confusing time in Lori’s life.
But then—insight and help comes from the very person Lori least expects.