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Friday, June 24, 2016

Do You Really Want to Throw That Away? By Celia Yeary #celiayeary #rebeccajvickery

I don’t like to throw things away, unless I find absolutely no use for them and they’re cluttering up my space in some manner. My environment must be neat, with no extra trash or litter lying around my desk or my workspace (or my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or garage.) So, last week, I tackled the dreaded “Folders Filled With Important Articles About Writing I Might Use One Day.”
Even though they were out of sight stuffed into drawers and cabinets, I knew they were there.

The astounding number of printed/copied articles stared me in the face. I lugged numerous stacks of folders—those plastic kind with pockets—to my kitchen island so I could go through each one. My first thought was: “I’ll just empty these, remove paper clips and staples, stack it all up, and carry it to the garage to the recycle container for paper.”

Instead, one caught my eye. “Mmm,” I thought, “I don’t remember this one.” And I sat at the island and read it. Another looked interesting, so I read that. After an hour, I had a new stack of articles to save—once again.

I’d love to tell you about every one of these great re-saved articles. Instead, I chose the top five. Drum roll, please.

#5- The Element’s of Style, by Stanley Bing, FORTUNE, August 20, 2007. Stanley writes: “So anyways, I’m having this discussion with a bunch of folks about how’s it matter whether a person knows the difference between you and me vs. you or I in a sentence and the whole subject of correct use of the English language comes up, and boy, do people get hot.” (Do you see why I love this article?)

4-How to Lure Readers to Chapter 2, by Les Edgerton, Writer’s Digest. Les writes: “It’s a well-known fact that a tremendous number of manuscripts never get read by agents and editors. Wait. Amend that to: A tremendous number of possible good and even brilliant novels and short stories and other literary forms never get read beyond the first few paragraphs or pages by agents or editors. Why?” (Les Edgerton’s tiny blue book Hooked is one of my favorites)

#3-Blinded by the Light, by Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, Writer’s Digest. Leigh Anne writes: “Don’t let your creativity get in the way of your productivity. Here are nine tips for overcoming Too Many Ideas Syndrome.” (An excellent article written with humor. Celia.)

#2-Getting Your Act Together, by Ridley Pearson, Writer’s Digest. Ridley writes: “Do as the Greeks did: Use this time-honored method to give form to your fiction.” (This idea is so simple, it’s brilliant. I’ve re-read it more than once. Celia)

And…#1-Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing: Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle, from the New York Times, Writers on Writing Series, October 1, 2008 when he turned 83. Elmore writes: “Being a good author is a disappearing act.” (I’ve worn out this one printed page with the ten rules of writing. I received it from an author who judged one of my RWA contest entries. She gave me a high score and highlighted four of the ten for me to study in detail. I have been forever grateful. Celia)

Notice all these articles are rather old. So far, I've not found many articles lately that I'd choose to keep. However, all these are on paper. I do have a file in my computer titled: "Articles Worth Keeping." Maybe I'll clean out that file another day.
On the other hand, they're not clutter such as paper.
In addition, several partially written manuscripts clutter my electronic files. These are stories/plots/ideas for new publications, but somehow they never made the grade. Either I was unable to finish the story--because it had nowhere to go--, or I became bored with it--or I feared others might not like it.
Case in point:A selected sentence from each:
1. A Make-Over for Millie
Some days the effort suffocated her, and during the worst times, coldness seeped into her skin and into her very marrow, causing her to seek out a place where she could cocoon herself in a tight warm blanket, wrapped up like a baby in swaddling clothes.
2. The Nanny
She, Julie Newcastle, erstwhile lawn-mower repairman, sometimes pizza delivery person, and laid-off wedding planner assistant to the assistant could barely believe she’d snagged a seat in First-Class after taking up the offer to give up her seat on the earlier flight.
3. Whisper on the Wind
Adalita waded in the shallow water of the Rio Grande until she reached an opening where she watched a young bronze-skinned man stand naked from his sitting position to stare at her with his black glittering eyes.

One of my more recent releases is titled Beyond the Blue Mountains. I came close to throwing this book out into the Deleted files. But...I hung on to it, knowing it was a good story.

BLURB-Beyond the Blue Mountains.
Guymon Reynolds arrives home to Grove's Point, Texas in February 1919, the end of WWI.  Knowing he's lost his parents and two young brothers to the Spanish flu, he's anxious to see his grandpa at the family farm. But nothing is right upon his arrival. He faces more death and destruction that resembles the battlefields where he fought in France.
Young widow Teresa Logan lives near the depot. She, too, grieves for her husband who died from the flu. Alone on a farm with two baby girls, she struggles with loneliness, back-breaking work, and sometimes, fear. But Teresa is strong and determines to care for her family and her farm alone.
Guy and Teresa meet and they easily bond, sharing grief and sorrow.
Both dream of a better life in Grove's Point, or perhaps a new beginning beyond the Blue Mountains.
Guy laughed. We’re both completely out of control.
After several minutes, he flopped on his back again, and Tracer stretched out beside him. The dog laid his big head on Guy’s chest, and he whined, cried, and moaned, and then, licked some more. After some time, Guy couldn’t say, they both sighed, closed their eyes, and dozed.
When Guy woke up, Tracer sat on his haunches looking at him, cocking his head this way and that, whining, panting with his big tongue hanging out. The dog’s fur was filthy, matted with a few healing cuts and old blood, and full of cockleburs and beggar’s ticks. It would take a month of Sundays to get the animal clean.
“Look at you, boy. Skinny as a rail. No one feeding you, huh? Have you been here all this time, waiting for me to come home?”
Tracer whined and blinked his eyes. Guy threw his arms around the dog’s neck, buried his face in the dirty fur, held on tightly, and bawled like a baby. The dog whined pitiably and then licked all Guy’s tears away.
“It’s just you and me, boy, just the two of us now. I won’t leave you again, I promise."
Amazon Link to Beyond the Blue Mountains

I learned something valuable during the cleaning process--trust your own heart and feelings and write the book that makes you happy.
Now..I'm so glad I did not delete this manuscript, and one day pulled it from Archives and got it published.

Celia Yeary

Romance, and a little bit of Texas


  1. Hi Celia,
    You had to remind me that I also have those saved article files. And they need to be sorted, too. Today I'm ignoring them to write.
    Like your book blurb. Haveto get it.

  2. Thanks, Barbara.
    The cleaning out was a kind of entertainment for me. A break from that writing!

  3. Celia, you are braver than I am. I need to clean out a filing cabinet and have put it off. I'd so much rather write. Great article today.

    1. Thanks...this kind activity is helpful when you can only procrastinate to keep from writing. In this case, it's nice.

  4. Celia,

    My stacks of "to-go-through" papers are hardcopies of all my possible WIP stories as well as hard copies of my published stories. To compound the mess, there are also snippets that I've written on napkins, bits of scrap paper, etc. that I need to add to particular WIP stories. Long story short... I must get these organized. But geesh, what a project.

    1. Years ago, driving from West Texas home to San Marcos, I had an epiphany--you know, one of those brilliant plots for a new story...and I had nothing to write on or with--days before cell phones, tablets, etc. and I had even forgot to take a spiral and a pen. I had to have some to write on. I dug through the mess in the glove compartment and found a heavy blue paper towel...one you get from a dispenser at a gas station to clean you windshield. And I found a golf pencil..little with no eraser, and it had been use--meaning the lead was worn down. But I managed to jot down enough words and phrases to save my thoughts! So, I guess some of us have done that. I understand...yes, it's a big project to get everything organized! But I feel good once I've done it. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Even online folders can become cluttered catch-alls.

    I have a habit of writing notes on post-its. I need to go through those, too.


    1. Yes, indeed. I don't use post-it notes, but one of my online friends does and one day she tried to trash all those...about 25 or so. I can imagine all those little colored squares dotted all over your desk!

  6. I've been at the throw-away dig since April. Like you, I've saved all these interesting articles from my Carolina Romance Writer's workshops and some I found online and printed out. I put them in notebooks, even taking the time to punch holes in them. Brother!
    Going into my filing cabinet is, indeed, like going into an archeological dig. Even though I haven't looked at these articles for years, as I go through them, I think, "Holy cow, this is a great article." I don't print out articles on paper any more, thank goodness, but I understand how hard it is to toss out all these articles I've saved over the years.
    Maybe I should approach it the way you did--limit the number of articles I save to a particular number and stick with that number. I laugh silently as I say it. I inherited this terrible save everything gene from my dad--all those rubber bands and Nat. Geo. magazines. Now I am encouraged by your article to go against my hoarding ways and get this stuff under control.
    Your work space beats mine for neat and tidy. My desk is huge and yet, every inch of space seems to have something on it. Hey, at least I know where everything is.
    Great article, Celia.

  7. National Geos! Oh, my goodness, we saved every issue for years. My husband built two tall bookshelves to hold all of them! We wore them out over the years, as did our kids. I just knew they would be treasures one day. Not so. We ended up taking them to Green Guy Recycle and dumping them. Sigh. But we got our money's worth out of those. I, too, try not to keep anything--or much--on paper, or cut articles out of magazines--where a lot of mine came from. Like you, now I copy and save in an electronic file...but try very hard not to save very many. And then..guess what? I can Google any article or topic I want and find it on-line. Ain't progress grand? Thanks, Sarah, for your accounting and confession of being a hoarder, too.

  8. You never know what you need -- until you throw it away!

  9. I have files saved too. Research info and Stories started but never finished. Soul Taker was one such file that I dusted off, edited and refined and gave the story an ending. It is now published too. :) Maybe I'll pull another one of the files and take a gander. Who knows what will inspire the next book. :) Great post, Celia.

  10. Thanks, Karen. I've heard that some ms should never be dusted off. But I disagree...like any child, every WIP has some potential, and who knows, maybe an astonishing amount.

  11. Celia, I can relate to this post. We share the same hoarding habits. I found your saved articles fascinating and I wished I could read them. And those excerpts from books-not-finished. Please don't throw those away. Every one is a potential bestseller. You do know how to grab a reader!


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