Kung-Fu Writing–Taking on the Year of the Dragon

They were Kung-Fu Writing! Those geeks were fast as lighting! Adverbs a little bit frightening! Okay, I’ll stop. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon! Hiyah! *does really lame karate kick*. And yes, I screwed up and initially put Year of the Tiger. But was it really a goof? I think NOT. 2012 is gonna be WAY better…it’s the Year of the Dragon…infused with TIGER BLOOD (Thank you, Charlie Sheen for going crazy. Bailed my @$$ out of a major oops!)

Anyway, I have been a writer for many years and you learn by a lot of trial and error what tools are awesome and what are a total time-suck and waste of energy or money. For instance, the Universal Control???? TOTAL waste of money. It did NOT allow me to control the universe.


Many of you have made New Year’s Resolutions to:

  1. Take your dream to write seriously.
  2. Invest more energy, time, resources to becoming a professional writer.
  3. Finish your novel.
  4. Self-publish.
  5. Indie publish.
  6. Land an agent.
  7. Train howler monkeys to use nunchuks on anyone who interrupts your writing time.

All of these are awesome goals and, when it comes to the howler monkeys, just take it from me and skip trying to potty train them. A diaper will work and Season Three of Toddlers & Tiaras makes them highly aggressive, ergo better bodyguards.

I wanted to take some time to list books, tools, and other miscellaneous items that I think all writers need to be less likely to end up on a roof with a shotgun and a pan of brownies successful. These are all tools that have helped me grow tremendously in my profession, and I would like time to share them with you guys.

Best Books for Learning the Craft & Profession (in no particular order, cuz they ALL ROCK!)

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

Hooked by Les Edgerton

Save the Cat by legendary screenwriter Blake Snyder

The Writer’s Journey–Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler

Plot & Structure by Nationally Best-Selling Author James Scott Bell

Bullies, Bastards and Bitches by Jessica Morrell

Fire in the Fiction & Writing the Breakout Novel by Mega-Agent Donald Maass

Write It Forward–From Writer to Successful Author & The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by NYTBSA Bob Mayer

Social Media & Author Platform 

Yes, I am partial here, but my methods are fun and won’t make your head explode.

We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media to get you started.

Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer for when you’re ready to lose the Big Wheel and take on the Big Girl/Big Boy Bike and some training wheels.

Blogging to Build Your Author Brand Workshop in April for when you are ready to lose the training wheels for good. This class is limited to only 100 slots and this class fills up FAST.

Social Media for the 21st Century Author is to teach you guys about social media. What works? What doesn’t? What is a total time suck? What sites are essential and which ones can you ignore?

Favorite Conferences & Workshops

Anything offered over at Write It Forward is well worth your time and money. Many classes are taught by New York Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer. There are all kinds of craft workshops and even a workshop to help you understand the new options in publishing. This class is designed to help you discern which publishing avenue might be the best fit for you and your work.

For those of you who write Historical Fiction, the amazing author Victoria Martinez will be teaching a course about How to Do Historical Research and Writing and Natalie Markey will be offering a class about How to Be a Mom and a Writer and Do It All….without using duct tape or shock collars. Who knew? *shrugs*

DFW Writers Workshop Conference 2012 I will be teaching three classes and MEGA-AUTHOR JAMES ROLLINS is the keynote speaker. I have been to quite a few conferences but this one is always my favorite. If you can’t go to any other conference, go to this one!

The Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention is a conference all writers must do at least once, even if you don’t write romance. The workshops and networking opportunities are almost unparalleled. Not only that, but those romance authors seriously know how to plan a party.

Essential Tools for Maintaining Health and Sanity

To keep your back and joints healthy, I cannot recommend Bikram Yoga enough. See if there is a studio in your area and try it out. For those of you in the DFW area, I go to Bikram Yoga of North Texas. Come hang out! Detox and prevent joint and back issues that are common to writers. (Or if you are like me and already have the joint and back issues, it helps A LOT!)

Yoga in general is AWESOME for writers. If you don’t have time or money to go to a studio, I recommend Rodney Yee on video (and pick up a copy of Joy Held’s Writer Wellness for more tips for being a healthy and balanced writer).

More MUST-HAVE Tools 

A Keurig Coffee Maker



I love this little gadget. When I brewed coffee in a pot, I found I either had waste or ended up drinking too much coffee. If I happened to get engrossed in work, I could end up with old or burned coffee. No more! I can make my coffee by the cup so it is fresh every time. I can change my mind what kind of coffee I want.

Autumn Harvest? Donut Shop? Hmmmmm….maybe a nice French Roast or some of that Hippie Dippy Organic stuff I got from Sprouts. I can change my MIND, and, as a woman? That…is….awesome.

I can even switch to tea, hot chocolate or chai. The Keurig even makes ice drinks! Wheeeeeeeeeee! Huh? Too much caffeine? Why would you say…wheeeeeeeeee!!!!


Feel stiff or sore from sitting too long? Brain feel like silly-putty left in the sun? No more! I use my Kinect every two hours. I get up, turn it on and do a couple of fun obstacle courses that make me move and groove and get the blood back in my brains where is belongs. I like Kinect Adventures best for the purpose of getting the cobwebs out of the noggin. The only potential down-side is you do need to be self-disciplined enough to get back to work!

Kung Fu Fighting for Kung Fu Writing

If you want to have fun and get a great workout on your Kinect? Get Kung-Fu High-Impact. I laugh as hard as I fight. This game inserts you right into the plot of a bad Kung-Fu movie.

Want to do backflips on to rooftops? Be able to fight while flying? Want to shoot lightning from your fingertips? No problem! Be a star in your own Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon…if Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was seriously low budget and had monsters…and an out of shape hero wearing yoga pants and a scrunchee.

Thing is, play is good for all people, especially CREATIVE people. Kung-Fu High-Impact makes you feel like a kid and you get a great workout, too. I totally know I cannot discipline myself to do this during the workday, but it does make an awesome reward for a hard day’s work.

Next Must-Have Item?

The Nook

Okay, it doesn’t have to be a Nook, but I do recommend you get some form of e-reader. I LOVE my Nook. It is portable and I totally dig that I can change the font to giant old lady print. I am reading genres I had started to avoid, namely because of the teensy-tiny letters. *cough* High Fantasy.

Why do I prefer the Nook? I don’t know if I do, because I didn’t see any reason to own two e-readers. I like owning a Nook because it allows me to borrow books and lend books to other Nook owners. And also, most writers are broke. I think this is in large part because we buy WAY too many books. With e-readers, we can still compulsively purchase more books than we will ever have time to read…only now it is CHEAPER.

I can also download my manuscript onto my Nook so I can read for flow, and, since I am not at a computer, I can’t nit-pick my writing until it bleeds and yells.


Yes, I am a nit-picker.

This makes up my list of cool stuff all writers should own. And, of course, the thirty-foot Slip and Slide and snow cone machine are just a given *rolls eyes*. So of course I didn’t mention those. What are some other writing essentials? Books, tools, inflatable farm animals, lava lamps, hallucinogenic leftover meatloaf, or anything else I might have missed?

I LOVE hearing from you guys!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of January I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Winner’s Circle

Winner of Last Month’s 15 Page Critique is Gloria Richard. Please send your 3750 word Word document to author kristen dot lamb at g mail dot com (Yes, I am looking for a new assistant. Gigi got a promotion at her other job which is AWESOME…but I really kinda miss her).

Winner of Last Week’s 5 Page Critique is Lanette Kauten. Please send your 1250 word Word document to author kristen dot lamb at g mail dot com,

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books!

Happy writing!

See you next year!


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  1. Where do I find howler monkeys?

    Peopel are interrupting my editing time. I hope to be ready for publishing in a month. This is great. Thank you.

  2. You always make me laugh 🙂 Thank you Kristen!

  3. Thanks for the mention. I’ll be attending RT this year for the first time and it should be interesting. There is also a new conference: Fantasy, Futuristic and Parnanormal Writers Conference in New Orleans in early March that I’m looking forward to.

  4. Love this article, Kristen! And I’m actually currently in the Write It Forward.workshop for the next two months. So far, we’ve introduced ourselves and that’s it, but it should all kick into action today. If all goes well with WIF, I’m probably going to take your next two-month social media workshop. I understand how social media works — and I’ve got your books, just haven’t had time to read them — but I need that kick in the butt to get started, you know?

    I’ve got the books on craft that you’ve mentioned above and was a bit curious — do you tend to work through them as you would a “textbook” or do you just read a bit here and there, finding what you need as you need it? 🙂

  5. Spot on as always (Yes! to your advice about the howler monkeys–they can be a handful!). I finally caved and slipped over to the dark side of e-readers this Yule and (I hate to admit it) it’s great. Won’t replace my regular library, but esp. for classics I’m finding it more than worth the investment.

  6. Wow, we are soul mates! I’m in love with my Keurig too, which I got for Christmas. Heck I didn’t even drink coffee till I got that thing. I also love the Kinnect! And the kindle of course. I was using e-readers way before anyone knew they existed. Just call me tech addict 😀 My other writing essential is an iPad, for when I want to escape to an offsite location! Fits in my bag, lightweight, and not a lot to distract me. Well, besides Angry Birds…;-)

  7. Your classes sound awesome and I’m sure I will be taking them sometime in the future, but I have so much more work to do before I have a publishable book, I think it’s a tad early for me. Your courses will probably have gone through several revisions by the time I’m ready to make use of them. Slow writer syndrome!

  8. Great wrap up to shoot myself out of a cannon for the New Year and dont look back..already on a roll and this stuff will keep the fire blasting! Appreciate the laughs too, as usual.

  9. Don’t forget to add On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne LaMotte to your library. Best two books on writing I have ever read. I just keep them on my Kindle. When I finish these books, I go back to the beginning and start reading them again. I read in bits and pieces, let it sink in and come back to them later.

  10. I would have to add to your book list:
    from the inside out by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck
    deep and wide by Susan May Warren
    Kiss and Tell by Susan May Warren

    I love my iPad because I can do nook and kindle free books. I’ve so many I may never get through them all–best thing those books don’t take up space on shelves

    Diet Dr Pepper–got to have it

    • the writ and the wrote on January 6, 2012 at 11:18 am
    • Reply

    Awesome post. I’ll definitely be reading some of the books you suggested.

    • Donald Bueltmann on January 6, 2012 at 11:22 am
    • Reply

    Kristen, as always I love your humor and truth. I bought my kindle merely to see how my ebook would look before i offered it for sale. yes i could have used a PC reader but i wanted reality. now i use the kindle every day. currently reading George R R Martin.

  11. Just got an ereader for Christmas and do love that it can recieve a pdf file for reading manuscripts, and for all those books that come out in e-form before print form!

    Thanks for all the great tips.

  12. Just finished Story Engineering and it helped me understand structure and related concepts. I highly recommend this book.

    Also, anyone with an Android or Iphone can download the Kindle and Nook apps to read if you don’t want to carry around a full e-reader. I don most of my reading that way.

  13. Thanks for the recommendations. I got a Kindle for Christmas. One of the samples I downloaded was Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I am still debating on whether to buy it. I’ve heard you recommend the book before now (of course), but this may just be the tipping point to get me to buy it. 😀

    • shawn on January 6, 2012 at 11:34 am
    • Reply

    Ummmm no kung fu for you till I get home!

  14. Universal remote-so funny. How do you think up this stuff? Thanks for sharing your bests.
    Year of the Tiger-or year of the Dragon?

  15. Outstanding lineup of resources. I’ve got several of them, but others I need to review.

    Never been to the DFW con–usually go to the OWFI Con in Oklahoma City the first weekend of May so that’s another one nearby that’s inexpensive (www.owfi.org).

    Need to look into the Romantic Times one, too. I’m speaking at a workshop in Kansas City in March. Too many great resources, gotta pick and choose!

    • Sara on January 6, 2012 at 11:51 am
    • Reply

    Not to be picky but 2012 is the year of the Dragon not the Tiger (that was 2010)

  16. You continue to be my hero. I don’t know how you do it, I truly don’t. I love your book recommendations and your yoga recommendations (LOVE Rodney Yee!!!) and I will start making a goals list. A small, attainable one to begin with…you are so damn inspiring.

    • Coleen Patrick on January 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm
    • Reply

    Great post and advice– as always you rock!
    PS-I love my Keurig too 🙂

  17. The IV drip with Diet Coke is a must have at my desk. Great resources. I’ve always loved going to Thrillerfest, Colorado Gold Conference, NJRWA, Liberty States and so much more. Also, if you live anywhere near Central NY, the CNYRWA puts on a minicon every year. Two years ago we brought Bob Mayer in to do Write It Forward. I think this year is Anne Stuart. It’s more focused on craft, but its always a good time.

  18. Wow. I may just get a Kinect! That sounds so awesome.

    One little thing I cannot do without when I’m working: a mug warmer. Nothing worse than being absorbed in what you’re typing and the tea gets cold – blech. I’ve got the kind of warmer that plugs into the wall, and it does a great job. I’ve also seen ones that plug into your computer through the USB port, although I’ve never tried that kind. Also, in December, I had a little USB-powered light-up Christmas tree (about 5 inches tall, changed color and everything!) plugged into my computer while I wrote. Hubs just rolled his eyes (I’m really into Christmas, LOL).

    Thanks, Kristen, for a great list, and enjoy your Kung Fu weekend!

  19. I didn’t realize this was the year of the Dragon. I was born in the Year of the Dragon. I wonder if I should be celebrating or something. 🙂

    I’ve found Larry Brook’s book great as well. Really looks at story structure in a new way. I wanted to love Save the Cat, and for screenwriting I think it’s great. But I could never figure out really how to apply his structure to novels. The failing must be on my part, because my friend, Marcus, swears by it, and he’s a damn good novelist.

  20. Fantastic resources. Thanks, Kristen! I’d add a crockpot & smart phone/iPod speakers & the Pandora app to the list. The crockpot saves time & money, whether we work/write from home or elsewhere. Music helps me switch gears & relax.

  21. My favorite writing books that aren’t on your list are Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer and Debra Dixon’s GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. (As far as I know, GMC is only available directly from Gryphon Books for Writers.)

    The conference I recommend most highly to writers who are ready to begin querying agents (or to writers who are not quite ready to begin querying agents but want to know from agents themselves what they’re looking for and when they stop reading) is the Backspace Writers Conference in New York. They have two: one in November and one in May. Janet Reid just posted about the May conference on her blog. I know multiple people who landed agents as a direct result of this conference. (But it ain’t cheap, alas.)

  22. I appreciate this post. I hope I can rustle up the bucks to acquire the materials referenced. It’s much cheaper and probably much better than a college “writing class” anyway.

    thanks Kristen.

    I am now painfully aware of how badly I need a lava lamp.

  23. Loved it. I’m a Kinect addict. I just started Bob Meyer’s class, and it’s very promising.
    Yo, Kristen, please drop by my blog (and/or Karen McFarland‘s, Louise Behiel‘s, Jansen Schmidt‘s, Ginger Calem‘s). We’re hosting an Awards Blogfest for our WANA1011 classmates.

    1. Thank you Fabio! This was a labor of Blog Love for everyone of our WANA1011 classmates and our fearless leader! Happy Blogfest Day!!!

  24. I love it when you sing the Kung Fu writing tune. 😉

    I would also like to say that for those of us (*cough* me) who are not flexible enough for Yoga, Tai Chi works well too.

      • shawn on January 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm
      • Reply

      Which is exactly what you can do in kung fu high impact. It has an option where you slow the speed down to slow, and you can go through the motions slowly without the training tai chi requires! I’m such a geek.

  25. OK so how did you know all my annual goals? lol. jk. only half of them. And I SOOO want one of those coffee makers. I definitely either waste some or drink too much. P.S. I’m copying and pasting your book list. I’ve read some and have some yet to read. I got a tablet for Christmas so I gotta load up. 🙂

  26. Kung-Fu writing? I prefer zen writing. Meditation and crashing forward with purpose. It’s a little messy sometimes. Want a Nook but the inner miser will go bananas if I buy one. This is mainly due to the fact I ditched the Scrooge and bought a used laptop. Had it cleaned and now I can crank the bugger up and blog from bed. Haven’t tried it yet, but the laptop I’m typing this on is due a cleaning, innards type. Book list was perfect found one I need to read.

    • Donna Martin on January 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    • Reply


    Being a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo as well as a children’s book writer, I thought this post was absolutely FABULOUS!! I laughed at your references and, as always, find your posts very informative! Thanks for being my “go to” source for all things writing!

  27. What a fantastic overview of writing resources. Thanks, Kristen!

  28. Brilliant! I laughed my way through the post, then made a note of all the great resources – including the DFW conference, which I totally plan on attending. Seeing the email for your latest post in my inbox always brightens my day!

  29. Kristen,

    I am teaching an e-publishing workshop tomorrow with Les Edgerton, whom you mentioned as the author of “Hooked.” I wanted to let you know that I am recommending this blog and your book “We are not Alone” as good resources to the participants. Small world, huh?

    1. I am a total Les groupie. I was thinking even as I wrote this that I need to write him a fan letter. Thanks for the recommendation and Les’s book is a real treasure.

  30. Kristen, love your humor that takes the sting out of the truth. I don’t have a kinect, so I’m feeling pouty with just my treadmill. Thanks for the smile and the list.

  31. Lots of great resources. Thanks Kristen! I really loved my Keurig, but it stopped working. I miss it so much! Must get another one.

  32. My family could use some Howler monkey action sometimes…

    Great post, Kristen. But I am wondering what book you might recommend for someone who is going to be writing the narration for a documentary and also a book. I’m walking across America this year and plan to document my travels on camera and also interview others who have also crossed America on foot. I’m looking at this completely openly, because I have no idea what will happen on the trip and therefore, not trying to force my idea of what the trip should be like onto the trip. (other than a few places I know I want to go and also meeting with the other walker/runner/hikers). This will make trying to figure out how to narrate it at the end…challenging. (BTW, I LOVE the Save the Cat series of books. I own all thee–tragic the author died. Unfortunately, they won’t help me much for a documentary.)

    Also, since I plan to write a book about it at the end, I’m thinking it will be more like a memoir than a travelogue, especially since I’ll be able to delve more into my own personal stuff. But I have no idea how to write a memoir or structure it and what have you. I’m in a writing group where one of us is writing a memoir, and hers is great, but I don’t want to write HER memoir, I want to write my own.

    So what would you recommend to give me some pointers?

  33. Thank you so much for the shout-out of my little blue book, HOOKED. I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your generosity. I hope it helps writers with their own work.

    Blue skies,

  34. Thanks Kristen. As soon as I received the post and checked the next upcoming classes, most were filled up until next fall! Wow! That was fast! Great resources until then. I have several and will continue to read, read, read; fine tune, fine tune, fine tune and work on that list from the other blogs.
    Might have to buy myself a Nook or something. Craig’s List is a great place to get a used one on the cheap for us with WIP’s that eat a lot of ramen noodles dreaming of sushi! LOL!

  35. Thanks, Kristen and your must-have tools look awesome!!! on your list i’ve read Plot and Structure and The writer’s journey – both excellent. I might try the first one on your list next, thank you!

  36. I’ve been looking into taking some of the classes at Write It Forward. I enjoy both Jen Talty and Bob Mayer’s blog posts, and I know their classes would be beneficial.

    As for the Nook, I can’t hawk it enough. Easy to use, and I read a lot more since I’ve gotten mine.

  37. You had me cracking up in this post. I hope 2012 doesn’t find me on the roof with a shotgun and a pan of brownies. Oh who am I kidding? I hope there are brownies!

    Also hoping to attend the DFW conference for the first time this year! Looked up plane tickets last night so I can save up!

  38. Yay, I can pat myself on the back now. I have read all your recommended books except Save the Cat and Jessica Morrell’s book.
    And thanks for the great workshop recommendations. I want to join your Social Media class. Can you sign up for it already?

  39. Man, you make me laugh! I almost have everything! Just different versions…like a Kindle instead of a Nook — I also love it for reading my manuscripts — first, it begins to feel real to me, as if it’s an actual published book, secondly, same thing — I can just read it (love the old lady font, it’s my fave).

  40. Saving this post and checking it all out! I put a link to your blog on my Writer’s Blog List at my site


    Thanks for the info and I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

    • Debra Eve on January 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm
    • Reply

    The Write If Forward classes are the best bang for the buck in writing. The quality of information shared is only exceeded by the generosity of the instructors!

  41. Great list of resources! My parents got one of those coffee machines for Christmas and I didn’t know if it was actually neccesary. But you made some great points. And I’ve been thinking about a Nook or ipad or some type of tablet for a while. Now I may take the thought more seriously. I wonder why I am drawn to the expensive things on your list?

  42. I checked Story Engineering out of the library (yes, I love libraries, especially since I haven’t yet bought an ereader. They keep my house from being so stuffed with books that they have to send in the fire department to do an intervention) and have read the first bit. The ideas so far seem intriguing and different from other books I’ve read about writing. Thanks for the long list of references.

  43. Another tool I absolutely love and cherish is my Alphasmart Dana. It’s a sweet little keyboard do-dad that’s light, easy to carry and can transfer writing straight to the computer. (Plus, it keeps me from getting onto the internet).

  44. Thank you for your awesome blog! I’ve nominated you for a Kreative Blogger Award! Go check out your beautiful face at my site. http://www.lafreeland.com/2012/01/07/kreative-blogger-award/

  45. Fantastic advice and resources as always, Kristen! I’m not familiar with several of the craft books and will definitely check them out. Your advice on yoga is so true. I’ve recently gotten back to it and feel the changes already. Great for breathing, centering and flexibility/stretching. For eReaders, I have a classic Kindle and grew to love it for ease of use while on the treadmill. They are also great for following your advice of stealing time to read anywhere (waiting in line, sitting at doctor’s office). And the option to download preview chapters of books before purchasing is cool.

    1. I agree. I received a Kindle for Christmas and it’s so much easier to handle while on the treadmill or if I’m really motivated, the stairmaster.

  46. I think I should invest in that coffee machine…………………….

    No to mention investing in every book/course you mentioned! I’m sufferring writer’s block or something tonight. I think I should only write in the mornings.

  47. As always, thanks! Informative, thoughtful, hilarious = you.

  48. One of the things I love about my ereader (I have a kindle) is that I can upload my manuscripts on it and read it “like a book” – Love love this. I also can upload other author’s works if they want me to “blurb” their book – so much better than a PDF file or having to wait for their galley or whatever.

    Now, I have much many mucho links to peruse . . . because the next book I write, I am trying something different and I am scared sh*tless *laugh* . . . ungh. No guts, no gory – um glory.

  49. I’m looking forward to meeting you at the DFW Writer’s Conference. I went last year for the first time, and it’s such an awesome conference.

    I also noticed that you’re looking for an assistant. What a coincidence! I’m looking for a job.

  50. thanks for another great post – that coffee gadget looks very cool 🙂

  51. Its all in the coffee, I prefer an old Italian espresso maker, more tactile and you need to get up and make the coffee, giving me an excuse to stop and think. Makes a great noise too when its working.


    1. Yeah–the only kind of coffee I like is café cubano. it’s all about the espresso!

  52. I’ve read 5 of your 10 recommended craft books! Now I have a few more to add to my list. Plot & Structure in particular had so much in it that I want to read it again to glean as much as possible.

    I am already registered for DFW Con and am eager to go (how many months left?!). I do not have a kinect and know that if I did, I would never get my turn with it. My boys would be doing all of the karate kicking (and ignoring schoolwork and chores to boot). I think my MP3 player is a must because I take breaks with it – doing housework, walking around the neighborhood, or dancing like a howler monkey in my living room to rev up my energy level.

    Thanks so much for the resources, Kristen!

  53. I have one word for you: Mac Book Pro. Okay that’s three words. And at least one of them isn’t actually a word. But they do just kinds trip off the tongue, don’t they?
    I wouldn’t be without mine – even if I do leave huge scratches right across the aluminium lid from my wedding ring whenever I go to brush crumbs off it…
    TWO lessons from that: 1) Don’t eat cookies using your MBP as a plate, and 2) Don’t get married if you own a MBP. Let’s face it, you already have one expensive, high-maintanance girl in your life – prioritise, people!
    Conversely, the other thing I wouldn’t be without is MY WIFE, without whom I would surely wither away and starve in from of the keyboard. I also really appreciate the occasional drive-by shoulder massage, and yes, she is reading this over my shoulder.
    Okay, what else…? Well, a plate for those cookies wouldn’t go amiss. I keep threatening to invent a device to allow me to eat biscuits without covering my keyboard in crumbs. My wife assures me that such a device was invented by cro-magnon man around 50,000BC and has been in more or less constant service ever since.
    Oh, a Bottle Of Scotch helps one to achieve sleep in spite of myriad plot lines vying for supremacy in the over-worked mind. And cheese before bedtime ensures nightmares worth of waking up at 4am to write them down…
    I’m out!

  54. YIKES! Of ALL the days to take-a-rain-check on reading blogs…

    I missed your post on the day before my first visit to Warrior Writer’s Boot Camp.

    Thanks for the enlightening info, Kristen. I left supercharged. I’m thinking outside the cliche-alert-box to find my BIG BOX Trouble-maker.

    My writing buddy and friend, Sherry Isaac, called from Toronto tonight. We talked through the Maass exercise to “list things your protagonist would never do, then make them do that.” I think the answer for my BBT lurks in that painful bow to the wisdom of Maass.

    Squee! on winning the review! Thank you! You may see some red text with “NOTE TO GRACIE: Need to blah, blah, blah.” That indicates I’ve found a spot that requires a sliver of set-up for the BBT.

    As for other recommended writer resources, Margie Lawson doesn’t yet have a book out, but I am a huge fan of her online classes. Her magic lies in rhetorical devices, character emotions, balancing scene/narrative/dialog/tension, cadence, and driving readers into the next paragraph, scene, and chapter.

  55. Kristen, you make every post so much fun! I love all the areas you covered and every resource suggested. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Joanna :D.

    • LJ on January 9, 2012 at 4:19 am
    • Reply

    That was both funny and informative – usefully so – which doesn’t normally happen in blogs I read; it’s normally one or the other. Thanks!

  56. Happy New Year all Wana’s and Kristen!

    Yes, I have most of those books you mention. And a fat man in a red suit brought me a Kindle. Wow what a different reading experience, I’d never have believed it. Like you, I’m reading many new genres too. Reading it on the treadmill? It hadn’t occurred to me, so thanks for that ladies!


  57. Sorry I’m a bit late with my comment, Kristen. DH had a change in work schedule and I’m behind in just about everything.

    Basically, I agree with what you said, except that instead of a Kinnect, I have an indoor walking DVD. Which I really should use more than once a week. And I don’t have a Nook. No, I have a Kindle Fire … which I WON IN A BLOG CONTEST so I GOT IT FOR FREE! I absolutely love it. I even bought another purse just so I have room to carry my Kindle with me wherever I go. I’m getting a lot more reading done now, especially when I’m waiting in lines. And all but about 5 books out of the 187 that are on my kindle (so far) were free. Talk about a windfall for a poor writer!

    Don’t get me wrong, I also love physical books. I lust after shelves full of esoteric and arcane volumes. I dream of the day I can have a room of my own filled floor to ceiling with books. I’d have a chaise lounge next to a reading lamp in one corner and in another, a desk and computer on which to compose my own brilliant novels. That’s my dream, anyway. The reality right now is getting as much information as I can from people like you so I can write my first novel well and get it published, preferably not posthumously.

  58. Kristen, I hear wonderful things about your online workshops–but I couldn’t find your workshops when I followed the links to Bob Mayer’s site. Are they already filled? Will there be more later in the year?

    Love your books. Now I want more :::smile:::

    1. I am redoing how I teach these Blogging classes. The Yahoo format is cumbersome and it really wears me out. I want writers to get the best experience possible so I am just stepping back and making a new [plan, but REST ASSURED I will be teaching new classes soon :D. I can’t stay away from you guys. You’re too awesome!

  59. I think this is a real great blog.Really looking forward to read more.

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