Have Confidence in Your Words

Have Confidence in Your Words

Natalie Bright

A wise, multi-published author once told me, “NEVER delete anything.”

I’ve tried to make it a habit to save everything, which is a difficult thing to do when your self-editor is vigilant. Thank goodness there have been a few times I made the effort to save a story.

Many, many years ago during college, I spent time at a friend’s ranch. The ranch foreman was an old cowboy that had a story or two to tell. Wise and weather worn from spending a life-time punching cows, I remember he had the most brilliant blue eyes and he was one of the most laid-back, happiest people I’d ever met.

A spark of an idea turned into a story about that cowboy many more years later for a writing class assignment. I never thought about it again, but I’m so glad that I kept it in my class notes. Fast forward another ten years, a callout popped up into my inbox asking for stories for a Christmas collection with a West Texas theme. That cowboy and his life immediately came to mind. Within 30 minutes of my submission, I got confirmation back that my short story has been accepted.

You never know where and when your words might find a home. Sometimes we write in one form and those words can take on a life of their own and end up as something entirely different. I love when that happens!

Instead of deleting, cut and paste unwanted scenes, dialogue, and chapters, and move them into a separate file. Give it a clever name on your computer, like “My Musings” or “Brilliant Ideas”. Keep an idea file folder for those story sparks that you’ve written on restaurant napkins, scraps of paper, or sticky notes. Never let an idea pass through your brain that you don’t write down. Keep an idea journal and jot down everything when it comes to you, whether it’s a setting, a character, or a bit of dialogue.

You can read my story “A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessing” in the anthology of more than 30 heart-warming and humorous Christmas stories—all set in West Texas or by West Texas writers.

west texas christmas stories

West Texas Christmas Stories

Edited by Glenn Dromgoogle

Abilene Christian University Press; http://www.acu.edu/campusoffices/acupress/


Merry Christmas Y’all! Thanks for following WordsmithSix.


It’s Never The End

It’s Never The End

By Natalie Bright

I typed THE END several weeks ago on a middle grade novel set in pre-civil war Texas. The spark happened years ago from my Uncle Milas telling me about my grandfather Cline’s adventures in Fort Towson, Oklahoma when he was a pre-teen. His best friend was Indian Joe, a full blood Cherokee. My grandfather describes that time as the best years of his life hunting, fishing, and exploring the wilds of the Kiamichi River area. He remembers the day he told his best friend they were moving to Texas. Indian Joe beat him to a bloody pulp. My grandfather asked him, “Why’d you do that for?”. Indian Joe replied, “You’ll never forget me now.” How can you not love those two characters?

As I thought about my grandfather and Indian Joe, the idea for a lower middle grade high-adventure along the lines of Jack and Annie series came to mind. The characters were a white kid and a Comanche kid, brought up to be enemies, but becoming friends. Oh the adventures they could find. I started writing, but what I just typed THE END on the first of this month is nothing like the story I had imagined a year ago. The characters took me along a totally different path.

The book was helped along by my brilliant Wordsmith Six critique partners and is now in the capable hands a small group of Beta readers before going to my brilliant agent. From there, with his insight and expertise, I hope it finds a home someday.

Do you have tunnel vision in the outline you’ve created for your work in progress? Don’t ignore all of the possibilities for your story. It may take you in a direction you’ve never even thought about before. So, in other words, it’s never really the end. This process continues on and on and on.

Happy Writing!

N. Bright