The Life of Bon: Writing a book and other stuff that is HARD.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Writing a book and other stuff that is HARD.

I have an older sister named Becky who is intelligent and kind and extremely driven.  Sometimes when I am feeling none of those things I like to hang around her and then I feel all of those things again.

Here's my sister and me in all her glory.  She asked me this night if I knew how to take a selfie and I said yes, let me show you the ways of 21st century narcissism.

Below is all three of my sisters and me the day that Becky left to do an 18 month LDS mission in Guatemala.  As you can see, I wasn't handling it well.

Becky (you can read her blog here) and I are a lot alike in that we both love to read and we both love to write.  We are not a lot alike in that she is very brave and I am not.  I have had an idea for a book I've wanted to write for years, so with her encouragement and a lot of pushing from Greg, I finally started to work on it. Then Becky invited me to a writers' conference last spring- there would be agents and editors and lots of published authors that could tell us all about the ins and outs of the biz.  I was terrified to attend.  What if everyone knew I was a fake?  Somehow I worked up the nerve to go, (the night before I was searching frantically for ways out of it) and was absolutely thrilled that I did.  I was totally inspired and motivated.  I felt like I was finally releasing the writer geek within and giving her permission to go find like minded writer geeks.  It was wildly liberating. (Full post on the conference is here.)

Well, all work on the book stopped right after the conference.  May was an absolute whirlwind of buying a house, finishing the school year, and doctor appointments.  We spent June in Europe. In July we had a baby who decided to show up early, August we tried to learn how to be parents, September I went back to work.  Suffice it to say life has been a wee bit crazy the past six months!

Now, deep in the heart of October I finally finally I feel like I can get working on the book again.  I have to finish it, even if only to quiet the voices in my head that keep nagging me to write it.

The thing is writing a book is really hard.  Have any of you ever written one?  It's a million times harder than writing a blog.  To start with, you don't get constant validation like you do with a blog.  You have no idea if it's brilliant or total crap.  It's also hard to keep it interesting for that long.  I can write a 1000 word blog post, sure, but 100,000 word book?  Ain't nobody going to stay interested for that long!  Also, it's very hard to just invent people and situations out of thin air.  And to make them believeable.  And interesting.  And likeable.  I am telling you, it's the hardest thing in the world!

Basically, if any of you have ever tried writing a book I want you to tell me all your secrets to success.   And while we're talking books, I want to introduce you to a blogging/writing friend of mine.  Jenn, is working on her book, and she is brave enough to share an excerpt of it with you today.  (She's trying to show me how to stop being such a sissy.)  I especially love her dialogue in this excerpt- it is so quick and easy to read.  I hope you enjoy reading what she has worked so hard on- stop over to her blog to tell her your thoughts after you've read it! 

(P.S. Don't forget we are discussing Z by Therese Ann Fowler for book club tomorrow.  Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!)


so there's this girl, isabel, who likes this boy, reese. she's quite surprised to learn that he likes her, and not prepared--at all--for what comes next. their story begins three years ago, in the fall.

You’ve known him for years, Isabel. You want to know him better. Yall are just talking. She sucked in a breath, then another as she turned into his complex, sat in the lot with the engine running. Waited for Christina Perri’s Arms to conclude. She shut her eyes, rolled her neck, her shoulders. It’ll be fine. You can do this. “Yall are just talking,” she muttered as she shoved the door open and slid out, snatching her purse from the passenger seat as she did so, then slammed the door. Turned to find him waiting for her outside, seated at the base of the steps that lead to his apartment. Smiling. The knot in her stomach—the one that magically appeared every time she thought of him, saw him—tightened. She swallowed, tried a smile. Searched for something intelligent to say as she meandered over to him, but the damned knot had managed to jump into her throat. “Hi.”


She sat next to him, folded her hands in her lap. “What’d you do that for?”


Isabel glanced at him, then down and out, toward the parking lot. “You kissed me. I wanna know why.”

“I’d think that’d be obvious.”

“I’m not your type.”

He arched a brow. “I have a type?”

“Everyone does.”

“No. Not everyone. Take Matt, for example.”

Her lips curled into a sneer. “I’d rather not.”

“I’m curious. That a good enough reason?”

“Curious,” she scoffed. “About what?”

“About you.”

She didn’t say anything. The way he’d said it, the way he’d look at her… there was a ball of warmth at her center that hadn’t been there seconds before. She couldn’t think past it.

“Alright,” he said. “What exactly is my type?”

She focused on the tiny weeds rising up out of the cracks in the concrete. “Someone like August.” Felt guilty for thinking it. For saying it. For being jealous of her best friend. The familiar sensation of inadequacy was a flood washing the warmth away.

“Ah. She’s pretty.”

“Mmhmm.” And fun. And feminine. And comfortable in her skin. And capable of having intelligent conversations with pretty much everyone.

He nudged her knee. “She doesn’t have your strength.”

Her gaze shifted to the point of contact, then briefly to his face though it never quite reached his eyes, then the concrete again. “I’m not that strong.”

“I think you are.”

“You don’t know me.”

“Not as well as I’d like, no. Hence, the curiosity.”

Her brow furrowed. She did look at him then. “Did you just use the word ‘hence’ in a sentence?”

“Well, technically, it was a fragment, but yes.”

“Reese.” She huffed out a breath, frowned. “What do you want?”

“Dinner. With you.”

“People tend to call that a date.”

He nodded. “They do.”



“We can date, or whatever.” Irritation flickered across her face. “I don’t know what I’m doing, though.”


She grimaced. What the hell did I say that for?

Gray eyes peered into black. “Isa?”

“Nothing. Never mind. I’m hungry.”

He waited a beat, kept his gaze steady on hers, even as he rose and held out a hand to take hers and pull her up. He didn’t step back, didn’t make room for her. For the longest moment, they stood there, facing each other, eyes intent, her hand held lightly in his.

She lifted her other hand, pressed it to his chest, near his shoulder, her thumb at the base of his throat. She felt his pulse, the warmth of his skin, the softness of the faded, cotton t-shirt.

But he didn’t try to kiss her. Instead he reached up, fingered the strands that fell near her temple, tucked them behind her ear, then stroked her cheek. Smiled and asked, “Who’s driving? Me or you?”

Isabel lowered her hand and put it to her stomach. Focus. “Mine’s a mess, and you know I’m a horrible driver.”

“Me, then,” he said and stepped onto the parking lot, tugged on her hand so that she walked with him, though she lagged a bit behind. “We could grab some food then catch a movie,” he suggested as they crossed over to his truck. “How’s that sound?”


He turned to grin at her, then lead her to the passenger door, opened it. Finally released her hand when she’d gotten settled.

The contact had unnerved her. But she found she missed it when he’d let go.

Jenn's blog here.


  1. Danica Holdaway9:06 PM

    I had a New Years Resolution to start writing a book. I have several ideas and LOVE writing. Similarly, moving, pregnancy and a Masters Degree completely derailed me. Maybe when the babe comes and I'm at home? I need a writer's conference to kick my butt in gear too!

  2. I'm going to try to work more on my book during November for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) If you sign up, you can share your goals and progress with other writers doing the same thing!

  3. Nicole Prša2:04 AM

    Hi Bonnie, I wanted to point this out to you on your grammar post but I couldn't get my comment to post. It's a pet peeve of mine and since you are an English teacher, I have to ask about it. Here, you wrote: "Below is all three of my sisters and me the day that Becky left to do an 18 month LDS mission in Guatemala. As you can see, I wasn't handling it well."
    Shouldn't it say "Below are all three of my sisters..."? My husband is a non-native English speaker so I probably notice these things more often but I'm genuinely curious what you think. Not a judgement at all, just curious on what is correct to say!

  4. thanks, bonnie, for letting my characters grace your page.

    yes, writing a book is a HUGE undertaking; it's not always fun; there are more days when i don't want to work on it than days i do; but every now and then... once in a blue, blue moon, i write a page that makes me fall in love with writing again, and that's a pretty incredible feeling.

  5. I've never tried to write a book, it sounds incredibly intimidating! I loved the excerpt from Jenn's book, I'd love to read more!

  6. Brooke Emery8:23 AM

    I'm writing a book for NaNoWriMo next month. I'm terrified.

  7. Yeah. It's super hard. I finished mine a few months ago and let my mom read it. I'm currently knee deep in major edits to fix parts that felt flat. It's done and it's over 100k words. I could just leave it at that but it's still not where I want it to be. I want it to be the best it can be so I'm not giving up on it yet. You shouldn't either. That voice will bug you forever so you might as well just do it even if it takes you years like it did for me. I'd love to go to a writers conference. I'm sure I'd feel like a fraud!!

  8. Kristen Grimes9:41 AM

    Love the excerpt! I would totally read the book...let us know when it's published!!

  9. i'm working on it. finding an agent SUCKS. there's more here if you're interested: