I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, May 13, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

In my last post I was on my way to Nevada, ready to start over in an area of the country 2300 miles from where I was born and raised. Starting over has had its challenges, opportunities, and surprises. My emotions have run the gamut from joyful anticipation to nail biting anticipation. Sounds like a novel, right? Here’s a hint - it’s being scoped out in my Book Buddy! ;-) I’m just hoping real life doesn’t throw me a black moment!

But it has had its surprises. One morning while driving south out of Carson City to the little town of Minden where I live, I slipped on my sunglasses hoping to block out the bright Nevada sunshine. The temperature outside was in the upper fifties so I opened my car window to let in the fresh, spring air. Ahh, smell the sunshine, the scents of spring awakening the budding lilacs and other spring-flowering bushes.

But wait! What is that on my windshield?


Yes. Snow.

Hold on. It’s May. Its almost 60 degrees. It’s so sunny its blinding. Ahhh…..

Now think about your favorite books. What is it that keeps you reading? What is it that makes you almost crave the ending, like a drink of water after a long walk on a desert plain? I just recent read a book by a well-known publishing firm and I thought I’d never ever get to the end.

And I don’t mean that in a good way.

It was boring, it was predictable, it had ordinary conversation, like, “Hello, how are you”.


Donald Maass said to think of a scene and write down ten things that could happen in it. Usually your first two or three are the easy ones, the predictable ones . . . ones that make your readers yawn! But when you dig down in an effort to find the unpredictable, it will surprise your readers and keep them wondering what in the world the writer will come up with next.

It will keep them in the book. It will make them want to buy your next one too.

The snow? Yes, it was snowing that warm spring day in Nevada. But the road I was on paralleled the mountains and although the snow wasn’t falling from a cloudless sky, it was being blown off the mountain tops to the valley below.

Jennie Atkins


  1. Jennie, I love hearing about your adventures in relocating. I'm so glad things are falling into place for you and your hubby.

    Keep the stories coming, and thanks for reminding me to dig deep!

  2. Great post, Jennie! I'm so excited for you to be making a new start. It'll be great when your husband is there with you.
    Love the analogy to keeping things interestin!

  3. Hey Jennie,

    Love this post. :) I really liked how you shared about the "ten things" idea from Donald Maass. I'm going to have to remember and do that. :) Thanks!
    I hope that you're transitioning to your new town. At least you won't have as much of the desert heat that Southern Nevada has. :) Enjoy those mountains!

  4. I really liked the idea of 10 things, I'm going to try that!

  5. Jennie, Thanks for the reminder to keep my writing fresh and unpredictable, just like life. ;-)

    I hope you don't have a black moment, just sunny days ahead for you and your husband.

  6. You know, Jennie, even though we didn't get together a lot while you lived in OH, I miss knowing you're not close anymore. But I'm so happy for you and this new adventure in your life. I'm praying you and Darryl can be together soon.

    Sometimes it's not easy to dig deeper, but our novels are so much better for it. Great post!

  7. Ah, Jennie, I can so relate to sunshine and snow. That's how they do it here in CO too. We had sunshine and show on my son's wedding day--and it was an outdoor wedding. (Hhhm, may use that in a book sometime.)
    And I'm reading Donald Maass right now, but hadn't gotten to the 10 things list. Thanks for that tip!