Thursday, May 31, 2007


For those of you who aren't familiar with what a "Blush and Cringe"'s something I started on my blog eons ago, at its inception really, where I admit something really embarrassing to me which usually (hopefully) makes it really funny to you.

I am constantly having goof moments, so I could honestly write a Blush and Cringe every day, or even by the hour but who has time for that? LOL!

Anyway, here's the latest Blush and Cringe:

I was in the midst of a long distance phone conversation with a good friend who lives in another state. She didn't realize we'd gotten our children guinea pigs for pets. So we start having this conversation that I now refer to as a "Three's Company Convo" (Remember that old show? Three women and John Ritter? And how much of the humor there was based on misunderstanding, or on misunderstood or misheard conversation?) Anyway, this was one of those conversations. I KNEW I was talking about my guinea pigs, but my friend THOUGHT I was referring to my children when the conversation started like this:

Kelly: "What's that weird noise?"
Me: "They're squeaking for food AGAIN!" (thinking she meant the guinea pigs, which she didn't know we had.)
Kelly: "Uh, it's eleven at night."
Me: "I know. They squeak and screech every time the refrigerator cooler door gets opened."
Kelly: "It sounds so weird though." (Thinking the "They" I mentioned earlier meant my children.)
Me: "Hang on. I'll go get them some corn husks."
Kelly: Silence, then: "corn HUSKS?"
Me: "Yeah. It's good for their teeth, otherwise they get too big."
Kelly: "uh...."
Me: "Hang on. I have to open the cage door."
Me: "Yeah, otherwise they'll run all over the house pooping and peeing everywhere and chewing on stuff. That's why they keep sqawking, because they're trying to chew their way out."
Kelly: "Okay, now I KNOW you're not talking about your kids."
Me: I just die laughing, and when I am ABLE to speak again, I clear things up. No, I do not keep my children in cages and feed them corn husks.
And come one, anyone who knows me, knows how much I love my kids. I feed them every Thursday in fact.

Cheryl Wyatt Gal. 2:20 Pouring my vial of words over Him.

A SOLDIER'S PROMISE~ Steeple Hill Love Inspired~ Jan. 2008
A SOLDIER'S FAMILY~ Steeple Hill Love Inspired~ Mar. 2008

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have been buried in multiple contest stuff and polishing my know, the one we plotstormed together.
Guess what?
It's going in the mail tomorrow!!!
I'm polishing up the synopsis tonight and in the morning, then it's to the mail box we go.
Later this week I will post more ways I managed to cut nearly 7000 words from my manuscript.
Thanks for your patience and readership even though I've been MIA somewhat. I promise to start posting more.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I am finished with the rough draft of Chance's story, which is the plotstorm we've gone through together. (For those of you joining my blog readership late, you can find the PLOTSTORM label to the right to view the Plotstorms for the third book in my Wings of Refuge Series).

As usual, I am 5,000-6,000 words over. Meaning, my publisher wants the books to end up between 55,000 and 60,000 words.

So major cutting is what I'm doing now. I thought I'd post how I do this in case any of you struggle with what and where to cut.

First off, I have critiquers going through the entire ms right now. They bring an outside perspective on the story. Any places they think drags, I cut large portions (several paragraphs at a time) from those sluggish areas. Areas where it feels like the flow stops, or the story bogs. I condense what I said in a paragraph down to a sentence, etc. That sort of thing.

I also get rid of unneccesary words such as, "So, And, But, Then," Etc. from the beginnings of my sentences. I also nix nearly every "just" and "that" I can because most of the time, it will tighten the writing, and sound better without it. There are other throw away words, but I'll get into that later.

I am to page 50 of a 300 page manuscript and have already cut 2100 of the necessary 6000 words. Cutting 6000 words seems daunting until you break it down to what you need to cut per page, or per chapter if you prefer to do it that way.

In a 300 word manuscript, to cut 6000 words, you need to cut 20 words per page. That's it. That averages to about one or two sentences per page. See? Sounds much more doable. And some pages I've cut 50 words, so if I only cut 10 on the next page, I'm still where I need to be within parameters.

I also go through and omit most "ly" adverbs, and strive for a stronger verb instead. I especially try to stay away from "was" with "ing" words, and exchange that for a strong "ed" verb. For example. He was staring at her. Change to: He stared at her, or better yet: He stared. "was" with "ing" tends to make writing passive. We must strive to make writing active.

Another way I bring my word count down is to reconstruct sentences. Tighten the writing and omit wordiness. I will post some examples here. The first sentence is the sentence as I typed it rough draft. The second sentence is the reworked sentence, with how many words I was able to cut from the sentence by recrafting it.


1. "Bitsy, are you really going to go leave this house looking like that?" Sasha asked, looking at her outfit with disdain. (21 words)
2. "You really going out like that?" Sasha's scowling eyes swept her outfit. (Cut down to 12 words, and shown intead of told. Also cut the tag ("said") since I have a beat, tag is not necessary. Only use one or the other to denote speaker, not both.)

1. He turned around and went to go look for Bitsy. (10 words)
2. He whirled, intent to find Bitsy. (6 words-cut 4 total)

1.She had on combat boots that came all the way up to her thighs. (14 words)
2.She wore thigh-high combat boots. (down to 6 words, cut 8 words by reworking)

1. They reminded Bitsy of the thigh-high Gor-Tex wading boots that Sasha wore to delve into hip-deep water inside the caves that she explored to catch a glimpse of her beloved vampire bats. (35 words) EEK! (Sheesh! I know THAT needed cut. LOL! But remember, it's the ROUGH draft. LOL)
Sentence reworked: 2. Reminded Bitsy of Sasha's Gor-Tex wading boots. (8 words, cut 27 words!)

The reason I cut so much of that sentence is: Sasha is a secondary character, so I'm trying to bring my heroine front and center more, and not have so much emphasis on secondaries. When Sasha gets her own story, then I can paste (since I do cut and paste cuts into a separate document for future reference) those details into my scene index and character charts and incorporate it into Sasha's story, since it really doesn't apply to Bitsy's story. If Sasha's story were going to come next, I'd focus on her more heavily than another secondary. Since it isn't coming for awhile, I really don't need to plant these details in here. I have several more books (please, Lord?) to write before Sasha's, so I can plant a sentence or so in each one about her, so readers can start bonding with her, and hopefully request her story. That's how I'm hoping I'll know if readers are endeared to secondaries, is if I get requests for their story. I've heard many authors get reader letters, requesting that a particular secondary, or minor character get his/her own story.

Anyway, I'm going through EVERY sentence of my ms and cutting ALL words that are not crucial and serve a purpose in the story.

I may post more reworks later, but hopefully this'll help you once you go to edit your story.

Back to hacking,


Cheryl Wyatt Gal. 2:20 Pouring my vial of words over Him.

A SOLDIER'S PROMISE~ Steeple Hill Love Inspired~ Jan. 2008
A SOLDIER'S FAMILY~ Steeple Hill Love Inspired~ Mar. 2008

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Squirrel's Story Starter for May 2007

As always, write a 500 word scene using one of the three Scene Starter Sentences. Be sure to use at least 5 of the 10 Prompt Words below. Email your story to me IN THE BODY OF AN EMAIL please. No attachments. Deadline for entry is the last day in May. Winner will be notified by June 1, 2007 and will receive a new Steeple Hill release of their choice. All entrants will be entered in the annual contest that runs 12 months. Winner of the annual contest will receive a (paid for by me) six month subscription to any Steeple Hill line of their choice through the Harlequin Book Club. Entries retain all rights to their work. I do not publish or post them anywhere. Those are Da Rulz. Below is this month's Story Starter prompt:

Scene Starter Sentences:

"They found her."
"Don't bank on it."
"Who's there?"

Prompt Words:


Email all entries to Cheryl @ (lose spaces before and after "@" sign)

Happy Writing!



I stumbled upon the Steeple Hill message boards when I first started learning how to write fiction. It is a wonderful community and a great source for learning, resourse and making friends with others who are pursuing publication.

Eharlequin recently interviewed me for a profile on the site, since I went from being a community member pursuing publication to one of Harlequin's authors.

Check it out!

Sorry I've been MIA from my blog the past few weeks. I had to go into a cave to re write book three since I lost it in a computer crash. Thankfully, I had a recent version on my flash drive. But they were such a mess I pretty much rewrote the book. LOL! I have about two chapters left, then comes edits and proofreading which I (obviously, by all my blog typos) royally suck at. That's why I always have at least one more set of eyes going over it.

Geek Squad thought they recovered the files, but unfortulately, they'd only recovered shortcuts of my story and not the actual document. WAAAAA!!

Buy anyhoo, I've been unbelievably swamped coordinating and judging writing contests as well. I like to give back to the writing community however and consider that I was asked to do it an honor. I learned a tremendous amount about the craft of writing, and about particular weaknesses in my writing from contest critiques. It feels good to be able to give back, though I still have lots to learn.

When I go to write the next book, I'll be doing another Plotstorm.