Monday, May 3, 2010

Pepper Basham - Words Seasoned With Salt :-)

Well, I have the first post, of the first week, of a brand new blog – so, no pressure, right? (Let me run to the mirror and see if I can get my eye to stop twitching). Wait, I have an even better idea! Chocolate!

Good morning, and welcome to the first week of The Writers Alley. Thanks for stopping by. To calm my nerves and for your cyber enjoyment, I’ve provided a fruit platter with dipping chocolate in the center. Yum. Donuts too. I’m feeling better already.

My name is Pepper Basham and I like to talk. Actually, I come from a long line of Appalachian ‘storytellers’ who spill generation after generation of legend and fact along through the years. So, to be perfectly honest, I got the ‘talkiness’ quite naturally :-)

So, a bit of bio?

I’m a pastor’s wife, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and university instructor. Yes, this sounds like a lot, and it is – but God has given me just a touch of A.D.D., a relaxed personality (which helps when I look at the state of my house) and the ability to go without much sleep. I’m a native of southwestern Virginia in the heart of Blue Ridge Mountains, and now live with my family in northeastern Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains. I AM a mountain-girl to the core.

I am the mom of three boys and two girls. My oldest is twelve and my youngest is three, and they are great founts of inspiration to me in my writing. I have loads of opportunities to take big biblical principles and try to break them down into understandable concepts - which I practice on unsuspecting children in Sunday School and Children's church ;-)

My special interests as a speech-language pathologist are kids & adults on the Autism Spectrum. I have the plans to write a hero with Asperger syndrome someday – I think they’d make great heroes because they are so honest and loyal to the people they love.
Tangent – sorry.

Now, as for writing?

I’m a panster with lots of ‘planning’ elements involved. (Thus the 'flying by the seat of my pants" picture)
I’m also a genre hopper.

What do those things mean?

Well, sometimes I’ll start right into a story because an idea or character pops into my head and demands his/her freedom, so to appease him/her I’ll just start writing and see where the story goes.

Other times, I’ll get the idea for a story, chart out a sketchy outline, and go from there. I actually enjoy the process of rewriting, which works out well for my writing style. I write the entire book with a few edits here and there, and then begin the really tough work of rewriting.

It’s really all a God-thing. He sets up the creativity and inspiration, then blends them with the perfect story-making moment. A story, I hope will show His grace through the everyday lives of regular (and sometimes fantasy) people.

I have a bad habit of indecisiveness, which is evident by my recent blog post regarding which picture to choose for my new business cards. It was fun. You can check out the discussion at my blog, Words Seasoned With Salt

Because of this indecisiveness/distractibility, I tend to genre hop (and ramble). I really enjoy writing a variety of books. If you were to sift through the documents of my computer right now, you’d find:

Three contemporary romantic comedies

One historical romance

Two young adult historicals

A young adult fantasy

Three picture books

Several songs & poems – complete with piano music.

I’ve taken the Novel Writing Workshop through Writer’s Digest and just completed The Writers Guild’s Journeyman Course a year ago. I also started entering contests for the first time last May and have garnered a few awards and A LOT of helpful critiques. The experience has toughened me up a bit and taught me a lot more about writing.

I’m blessed to have an agent representing me and teaching me various aspects of marketing and promotion. It’s been a steep learning curve, but an overall good experience. We met at the wonderful Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in 2007.

The main goal of my writing is the main goal of my living: Glorifying God. If my writing can show others the beauty of God’s grace and the freedom of forgiveness, then I’m pleased – and if people can laugh along the way, then all the better.

Anyway, I hope to bring humor, tips on characterization, devotional moments, storytelling, and info on the craft of writing (as I learn it).

So, a question for you guys:

Are you a Panster? Plotter? Or planner?
Or a healthy mix of a few :-)

Pepper D. Basham

Inspirational Fiction Writer
“Stories of hope and healing, peppered with grace and a dash of humor.”
Webpage Pepper’s Life Sprinkled With Fiction:
Blog – Words Seasoned With Salt:
Group BlogThe Writers Alley:


Katie Ganshert said...

I'm a plotter. A big-time plotter. This is a great blog - I look forward to reading more.

Pepper said...

Thanks for stopping by so early, Katie. It's certainly been a fun endeavor so far. The gals here are fantastic. I can't wait to get to know them better as we move forward with this blog.

Krista Phillips said...

I'm Katie's opposite. I'm a Pantster. A big-time panster:-) No in-between about it!!!

Pepper said...

I wonder is 'planster' is a possibility :-)

Casey said...

LOl, Pepper, what a great post! I didn't know you had an agent- woo-hoo!

I am in between a panster and a plotter. I like to have a rough sketch, but like the creativity to just write.

Man, what a GREAT start to the week, I think I need to go rewrite my post...

Bess said...

Hi, Pepper. I just have to say, that you have a great name. It will look awesome on a book cover.

I too live near the Smoky Mountains...right outside of Knoxville. Those mountains are near and dear to my heart...and heritage.

I started out as a Pantser, SOTP, what-have-you. And I still am. But as I look into my second book, I'm considering an outline.

PatriciaW said...

Hi Pepper and Company! Congratulations on your new blog. I've seen you ladies over at Seekerville and I think Jody Hedlund's blog as well.

I'm not sure what I am. I've tried pantsing and plotting, both to limited success. I'd say I'm somewhere in the middle. I think I do my best writing when I simply let myself go, but that can make for a story that's all over the place. I like the merits of plotting but I find myself bored with the actual writing after having completed a synopsis and maybe a chapter outline. So I, like my writing, am very much a work in progress!

Love to hear more about your CWG experience, Pepper.

Krista Phillips said...

A side Krista funny: When I started writing, I called myself a "winger" because I'd never heard of panster or SOTP. My basis was that I liked to "wing it" when it came to my writing.

However, I changed my wording to panster when a lady in my local writer's group pointed out that "winger" didn't sound very nice... (think Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs...) So yeah, Panster it is!

It is LOVELY to see all you pansters, plotters, and in-betweeners stopping by! I don't know about you, but I'm slightly in awe of our Pepper's busy schedule!

Pepper said...

Shmologna (there's gotta be another name under all those consonants ;-)

Thanks for dropping by and for the kind words. I love my name - and now that I'm a writer, can't thank my parents enough for naming me something so unique.

The mountains are beautiful this way, aren't they? I'm near Johnson City :-)

Pepper said...

I love that 'let it go' feeling when I write. Sometimes God just uses those moments to 'compose' the most beautiful words on the page. Isn't that a wonderful feeling?!
Nice that you've joined us over here. We hope to provide the same kind of fun and support as Seekerville does. They're WONDERFUL

Pepper said...

You little winger, you. :-)
Between you, me, and Casey we have SOTP writing all over the place. We'd better ask Myra from Seekerville to come over STAT, and set us straight :-)

Pepper said...

Oh Patricia,
I just realized that I didn't answer your question about CWG. The Christian Writers Guild was a good experience for me. I loved the one-on-one mentoring. It helped draw attention to more of my 'weak' tendencies - and highlighted my strengths.
Mary Vee - one of the other authors for The Writers Alley- is in CWG's Apprentice course right now. Maybe later in the day she can tough on your question too. I took the Journeyman Course.

Mary Connealy said...

I'm a panster and I'm not proud of it.

I'd write more but I need to leave the location I'm currently at, drive twenty miles, and get a real donut. And it's all your fault, Pepper.

Pepper said...

Wow Mary,
You work fast.
It's my first day on The Writers Alley and you're already blaming me for something.
Who else can feel the love?

Laura Frantz said...

Hi all you Writer's Alley angels! What a wonderful looking blog! Since Pepper and Casey are so dear to my heart, I look forward to getting to know Krista, Mary, and Sherrinda. Quite a dynamic group! As for your question, I'm a published panster learning to be a plotter and planner. I call my style "writing by ear" but it sometimes leads to heavy rewrites. Right now I'm mapping out books start to finish and boy, is it a challenge. But I think in the end it will help me stay off rabbit trails which I love.

May God bless this blog and each one of you richly as you serve Him through your gracious gift of words!!

Pepper said...

Oh wow, my day is complete. Laura Frantz stopped by!!
Thank you, thank you. And Courting Morrow Little (Laura's newest book)is coming out THIS SUMMER!!
Hopefully we can have her visit to talk about her new book (wink, wink)

Casey said...

AMEN, Pepper! I agree 100%. :) Thank you Laura for stopping by! What a treat to see you here. Thanks for your sweet words. :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oooo Pepper, has your eye quit twitching yet? I'm feeling the love today. You know Mary must love you dearly to tease you so...I know I tend to be ornery with my favorites. :)

KRISTA THE WINGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


How fun is this! I can't believe how much I am learning! And how did I miss that Mary was taking a course like that? Wow. Impressive, indeed.

And now we are "Angels"!!! Laura Frantz said so, so it MUST be true! :)

I'm loving all the encouragement! Yay are way cool.

Pepper said...

I keep telling my kids that I'm cool, but they don't believe me. I'll tell them you said so.

And 'angels'?!? Wow, I'm voting with Sherrinda in the statement that it MUST be true if Laura said so.

Laura's sending traffic this way - bless her sweet, 'angelic' heart.

Pepper said...

Btw, the pic in my post is one of my 5 kids this past Christmas.
Aren't they a cute bunch. Not quite angelic - maybe the youngest one - but cute :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Pepper, I enjoyed getting to know more about you. I love your new pic. You look great.

I'm a pantser turned plotter. Got tired of deleting huge chunks of my stories and figured there was a better way. :)

Ausjenny said...

ok you need one more option (reader) Im not a writer but am interested in reading these posts

I hope you do have a story with an Asperger syndrome hero. My friends boy has this and they recently read a book written by another boy with the same syndrome explaining alot of how they tick.
thinks like and addiction to having batteries. My friends boy also did this so much so they never could find spare batteries etc. She gave the book to her son whos now 18 and he could relate so well. I think there would be alot of people who would benefit from reading a book with a hero with Aspergers.

Mia said...

Loved getting to know more about you, Pepper (seriously love that name!). I'm a mixture of a plotter and a SOTP writer. I'll do a rough outline, and fill out some character worksheets, but whenever I sit down to write, I never know exactly what I'll write. I'll know I need to write my way to this scene, but how I get there is my choice ;) I like the balance, personally.

Pepper said...

Hi Keli,
You're getting to know more about me than you want, I'd say :-)

You're a smart lady. I need to get to the point where I can plot better. I've started doing that a bit with the 12 plot structure -but it's a rough sketch. I like the process though.

Pepper said...

You are SO right. Where would writers be without READERS?!!?

And, Aspies are brilliant, interesting, and oh, so funny. I really want to do them justice if I write about them, though. So it will take a bit more brain picking of my Aspie friends before I'm ready :-)

Pepper said...

Your writing style sounds similiar to mine. I even had chunks of the novel written from beginning to end (various scenes) that I try to weave together.
Most of the time I've been thinking about the book and characters for weeks, months, or even years - so the story has been written in my head for a while. Then comes the typing and next the fine tuning.

Patty Smith Hall said...

Hey Pepper!
Great article--but then you always have great insights.

I'm a mix of pantser and plotter--use to be a total seat of a pants kind of writer but last year, I concentrated on learning the art of plotting. Now I plot out a few chapters, scene by scene, then see where my characters are going.

By the way, are you going to be at BRWC this year?


Pepper said...

Hidee Patty,
YES, Oh YES!! I'm going to BRMCWC.
Are you?

Patty Smith Hall said...

Yes, I am! It will be fun to finally meet you after 'hearing' from you at Seekerville, then here.

Pepper said...

Fantastic, Patty.
Do you know which classes you'll take - so maybe we'll be in one together?