size BarbaraEllinFox.com

Knowing how to talk about the size of a horse might seem like a mundane topic but a writer should know certain trigger words because their incorrect use is a dead giveaway to horse lovers. Where to measure Horses are measured from the withers to the ground by hands. The red line in my parts of the horse chart depicts this line. A hand is a unit of four inches that stems from when men measured horses according to the width of a man’s hand, rather than a measuring tape. Today, a “stick” that has a level is used for official measurement. When is Height Important?Read More →

practice

Mary Vee had a helpful post on pitching your story this week, and one of her suggestions was to pitch to the family pet, so I asked Reno to help me practice.  Practicing a pitch should be a cinch for someone who has taught riding as long as I have. At least that’s what I assumed. But whoa there. This is not easy. An Easy Start We started yesterday. Reno ate hay, and I groomed him. He committed to a full three weeks of daily practice after I promised a treat for each session. Today he got a carrot. So Reno has the cushy job,Read More →

Terminology BarbaraEllinFox.com

Recently I did a presentation called “Horses for Writers” for  my local ACFW chapter.  As I prepared, I was amazed at the amount of basic  equestrian terminology require for historical fiction. Horses were used for everything and a life without an equine meant less progress, less food, less travel, and more work. Writers of contemporary fiction need to know our hooved friends as well, because horses are no longer work vehicles but companions and buddies. And Here’s Why The 2017 American Horse Council’s Economic Impact study tells us that 38,000,000, or 30.5%, of all U.S. households contain a horse enthusiast. Having a lifetime career withRead More →

organic BarbaraEllinFox.com

Organic Writing Organic writing is described as ‘seat of the pants’ writing where story falls out of the pen possibly leading down the dark halls of no return.  Adversaries claim the writer dives in and searches for story structure as they go. This opposes advocates of story structure, or architecture, for which the writer develops a story outline, then fills in with the words. Proponents believe this method provides a crisp clean story and wastes less time. They may be right but it has absolutely nothing to do with an organic writing life. The Definition Organic- happening or developing in a natural and continuous processRead More →

riding BarbaraEllinFox.com

When I was a kid and wanted to learn to ride, I spent hours practicing not just for a summer but year after year. I took lessons riding any horse available, went to summer camp, competed in horse shows, and read everything I could get my hands on. I practiced continuously. Then over the years I met incredible horsemen who taught me about different facets of horsemanship and the industry. I worked hard at my craft of teaching riding and training horses. It makes me smile when I think how much the horse industry is like the writing industry. Use it or Lose it  RidingRead More →

BarbaraEllinFox.com

While I am writing each day, a myriad of unresolved questions swarm my mind. Should I pursue traditional publishing? What about Indy? Should I continue to enter contests? How soon should I tell people about my stories? I have to tell you—there are a lot of questions. Another question is when should I tell my non-fiction readers about my fiction side? Once I invite people into my more casual mind-set, opinions could change. I’ve never been one of those people who eases the band-aide. I grab the edge and rip. Sometimes that’s good. Other times not so much. Writers are sensitive and ripping the bandageRead More →

Worst Fear BarbaraEllinFox.com

As writers we are told to discover or determine our character’s worst fear. Is she afraid of losing someone? Losing a job? Sickness? Losing her life? I had difficulty pinpointing just one worst fear for the protagonist in my first manuscript. Certainly she was fearful for her daughter’s safety but her daughter was only part of her life.  What deeply embedded fear motivated her? It wasn’t until I researched fear in riding students for The Riding Instructor blog that learned about root fears in an article by Karl Albrecht Ph.D.The (Only) 5 Fears We All Share. When I looked at Rylie with these five definitions,Read More →

Great Expectations Badge BarbaraEllinFox.com

I’m excited to share that Remember Not is a finalist in The North Texas Romance Writers of America Chapter Great Expectations Writing Contest 2018. This is our first contest entry for 2018 in the inspirational category. The process of entering was easy and the contest coordinator, Amanda Byrd, is super helpful. Why Do I Enter Contests? Wins are not the real reason I enter a writing contest. Feedback from contests provides valuable help to writers. Great Expectations uses very good judges. I received helpful advice for Remember Not from three published authors who were trained as judges.  Great Expectations was the first contest ever for the secondRead More →

Dressage Test like writing contest BarbaraEllinFox.com

What is a Dressage Test? A dressage test is a performance done by a horse and rider. There is a prescribed pattern during which the rider and horse perform certain movements. A judge with the benefit of a scribe scores each movement, makes comments, and at the end the scores are tallied and the winner is chosen numerically. What is a Writing Contest? A writing contest is a performance by the writer and their manuscript. There are certain prescribed rules and conditions required for entry. Several judges score particular elements, hopefully write comments and the points are tallied to choose the finalists. Is there aRead More →

Writing the end should be a peak among peaks for a writer but the problem with mountains is they rise out of valleys. The highs and lows for a writer. I was with Rylie when the world tried to gobble up a naïve Pollyanna. We lived through her horrible college experience and crushing demoralization. Rylie and I have been together for years and I’ve written the end twice with her. When she discovered a broken and abused kindred spirit in Eskador, I stood at her side, guiding her through the gut wrenching pain of a nearly destroyed creature. Together, we brought him back to lifeRead More →

laugh BarbaraEllinFox.com

I Choose to Laugh There are days that I sit back and laugh (yes out loud) at myself, because crying would be just plain dumb. Besides, I never feel better when I cry. My writing journey has been a path of adventure with periodic highs and plenty of opportunities to stumble. I’m firmly committed to persevere, and I believe that I’m able to learn everything I need to know to reach my goal. And yes, I believe writing is the path God has for me. That’s why I trip over some of the smallest pebbles on the path and blunder my way into the underbrush.Read More →

happily ever after hands BarbaraEllinFox.com

I’ve been diligently working on a book proposal to send to prospective literary agents. This, I can tell you, is no small undertaking. One of the larger stumbling blocks in this project is book comparison. Book comparison? If my book was like someone else’s, why would I even write it? I’ve spent a couple of weeks searching for books like Remember Not, and I found a few with some of the same plot points, but not enough to fill my need. Besides, I had a niggling feeling that I didn’t quite get the idea of a book comparison. After reading what I thought was aRead More →