Stepping Stones Blog

Sunday Salon: October 26, 2014

Well, those of us who are Royals’ fans are suffering from whiplash.  We celebrated a glorious win in the third game of the series, only to be walloped in the fourth game last night.  The World Series is now tied 2-2.  We choose to think this is fate – as the teams are guaranteed to return to Kansas City for the winning game at home.

Reading:  While I still desire to read more Middle Grade historical fiction/time travel novels, and I have added to the list of possibilities… I have focused my reading on two books that have impacted my life in a marvelous way.

whispers of hopeWhispers of Hope by Beth Moore is a 70 day focus on prayer.  I have participated in several Beth Moore Bible studies over the years, but this book is different.  I find Beth to be quite knowledgeable and wise, but I often find my concrete/sequential mind befuddled by her abstract/random lessons.  In this book, however, I found each daily message helped me to focus my prayers in a personal and global way.

I decided to accompany this study by writing my prayers rather than verbalizing them, which has greatly helped me focus and maintain a consistent discipline.  I learned that limiting myself to one page made the process manageable and duplicatable.  At the end of the seventy days I find myself looking forward to this morning prayer time rather than viewing it as a daily duty.

gideonMy Bible study group is currently studying Gideon by Priscilla Shirer – and I must confess it is one of the best studies I have read.  She has a way of presenting Biblical truth in a practical, 21st century way.  The story of Gideon is found within just three chapters of the book of Judges, and yet she gleans six weeks worth of in-depth, thought-provoking study.

Once we finish this book I plan to read many of her other Bible study collections.  I like the way she challenges us to grow in a positive, encouraging spirit.

Writing:  I spent most of the week trying to play pretend.  This is  a HUGE stretch for me, but I am learning that it can be fun (another step outside my comfort zone).

NaNoWriMo begins this Saturday, and while I am only revising a manuscript, rather than developing a story from scratch, I know that I must fully develop my characters.  Some find creating the fictional world the best part of the novel writing process, but I am overwhelmed.  So I decided to start within my comfort zone:  research.

I began by researching images of what I thought each character looked like.  I printed a copy of each character and pasted it in my journal.  A visual reminder helps me to connect to them in a deeper way.

then I researched the 16 Myers Briggs personalities, reading the descriptions as well as investigating famous people who exhibit those traits.  I discovered, for example, that my female protagonist, Phoebe, is an ESFP (the Entertainer – think Mary Lou Retton) while the male counterpart, Jean-Luc, is an ISFP (the artist – think Kevin Costner).  The one who creates the most conflict in the story, Marie, is an ENTJ (the Executive – think Candace Bergen).

Once I knew their personalities, I wanted to flesh out their particular characteristics… quirks… special talents that make them unique.  I found an extensive list of over 600 characteristics divided into positive, neutral, and negative categories.  I discovered that Phoebe is amicable, honest and easy-going, but she can also be naive and a bit clumsy.  Jean-Luc is charming, loyal, and helpful, but at times he is a tad pretentious.  And Marie is ambitious, polite and well-organized, but she is also quite jealous and deceitful.

I have a long way to go in developing these characters (as well as my right-brain creativity), but I plan to continue having fun in the process.

Blogging:  I completed the series on finding your Soul’s Agenda by posting my Writer’s Manifesto.  I still cringe a bit when I declare, I am a writer, but I am learning to embrace this new chapter of life.

I know that I want my writing to proceed in three directions:  historical fiction to hopefully help educate as well as entertain elementary students; Memoir and other non-fiction genres to leave a legacy of what I value and have learned in life; and continuing education, where I can encourage others to document their life stories for future generations.

_MG_8127Other endeavors: I have continued to practice my knitting, progressing from dishcloths to slippers.  I made myself one more pair of booties, realizing that stitching them together wrong-side out makes all the difference.  My son and daughter-in-law even liked them and asked if I might make them a pair.  So I am now armed with more yarn – enough to keep me busy should the World Series extend to seven games.



  1. Even though it’s nice to read new books, it always feel good to read books that have had an uplifting influence on you. Good luck with NaNoWriMo.

  2. readerbuzz

    Good for you! You are such an amazingly driven person. You inspire all of us.

    Hope NaNoWriMo goes well for you. I always say I’m going to participate, and never do, really.

  3. joyweesemoll

    Have fun with NaNoWriMo. I’ve nearly got my plot worked out which makes me feel much more confident. I hope to have time to work on my characters this week before the official start.

  4. Good luck with NaNoWriMo; I got through half of the month but quit because my hard drive crashed on me.

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