Monday’s Manuscript with Linda Shenton Matchett

Monday’s Manuscript: The Pomorodo Method

By Linda Shenton Matchett

Life is a balancing act. Or is it juggling? Either way, getting everything done can be a challenge. As an author who also has a full-time day job as well as assisting my elderly mom with daily tasks, and volunteering at church and a local museum, my time is precious. Until about eighteen months ago, completing the first draft of a manuscript took months. At that rate, I knew I might not live long enough to develop my writing career.

Then I was introduced to the Pomodoro Method by Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy. The process seemed too simple and too good to be true, but I was desperate so decided to give it a try. Invented in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, an Italian whose consulting company is located in Berlin, Germany, the method is a time management tool used worldwide and is for anyone looking to shut out distractions, overcome procrastination, and enhance productivity. Who knows? You might even want to consider the method for your household chores.

Pomorodo is the Italian word for tomato, and according to Wikipedia, Cirillo chose the name to commemorate the kitchen timer he used as a college student. Apparently, those timers were all the rage back then!

There are six steps to the Pomorodo Technique:

• Decide what task is to be done (write a scene, edit a chapter, etc.) and gather everything together that you’ll need to do the job.

• Set the timer. Any timer. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I use a basic timer app on my cell phone. Cirillo’s method calls for twenty-five minute time segments (each one is a pomorodo), however, you may choose to go slightly shorter or longer. I’ve found twenty minutes to be my “sweet spot.”

• Work on the task, and only the task. Don’t give into temptation and decide to research something for your scene or check the text message that just pinged.

• When the timer rings, put a check mark on a piece of paper.

• If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a 3-5 minute break then return to step two; otherwise go on to step six. I deviate slightly from this timeframe because I found that four sessions are too many for me. I take three minutes or so after each pomorodo, but only do three sessions, then get up and take about a twenty minute break.

• After the break, reset your checkmark counter to zero and start over.

I believe the success behind the method is the sense of urgency created by the timer. Instead of feeling like I have “all the time in the world,” I race against the clock to get as many words written as I can. If I’m struggling with a word, I don’t take time to use my thesaurus, I type XX and move on.

In the beginning, working in the short time periods felt awkward, and in the back of my mind I was convinced I wasn’t getting as much work done. Surprisingly, after about a week of using the method, it became more natural, and now I look forward to my Pomorodo session. Not only am I more productive and my daily word count is higher, but the forced breaks ensure I’m not as fatigued at the end of my day.

The Pomorodo Method is a simple technique, but it isn’t easy to eliminate distractions and dedicate a time period to a single task (especially if your a chronic multi-tasker like me), so don’t become discouraged in the early days. With a little practice you’ll be conquering your writing goals one pomorodo at a time.


About Murder in Madison Square Garden:

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare.

Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit?

Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/31qK17


About Linda

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

Social Media Links:

Website/blog: http://www.LindaShentonMatchett.com

Newsletter signup (receive a free short story): https://mailchi.mp/74bb7b34c9c2/lindashentonmatchettnewsletter

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindaShentonMatchettAuthor

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Shenton-Matchett/e/B01DNB54S0

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-shenton-matchett

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/authorlindamatchett

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lindasmatchett

Twitter: @lindasmatchett

Wednesday’s Writer with Linda Shenton Machett

Linda Shenton Matchett


Today I’m interviewing Linda Shenton Matchett, author of the Christian novel, The Widow & The War Correspondent.


Thank you for being here today, Linda. It’s always great to have you.

When you were young did you ever see writing as a career or full time profession? My parents must have seen something to indicate an ability to tell stories, because when I was about seven or eight years old, they gave me a large notepad and a package of pens and told me to write to my heart’s content. They continued to supply writing materials, and I scribbled my way through childhood. Reading Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn list the fire of desire to become a published author.

Do you have a special place you like to write? I have a dedicated office to writing that looks into our backyard which is heavily wooded. Lots of birds call the area home, so there’s lots of activity. I find the view soothing and inspiring.

Have you ever received a rejection? Lots! 🙂 But my favorite, and one of the earliest rejections I received was from one of the major Christian publishers. The acquisitions editor took time to write that she saw lots of potential in my manuscript, gave examples of what worked and didn’t work, and suggested ways I could improve my craft.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to an unpublished writer? Read, read, read. Read books in your genre, but in other genres as well because seeing the difference will help you hone your particular genre.

Do you take time to plot and outline your books? Or do you like to write by the seat of your pants? I am definitely an outliner. I create a character bible first, then use a spreadsheet to outline each scene including date, weather, location, chapter hook, and research topics required. I complete the research before I start writing. My characters sometimes wander off the outline.

Where do you get your ideas for your books? I get my ideas from numerous places: newspaper and magazine articles, books I thought should have been done or ended differently, a twist on a book, and television shows or movies. I’ve gotten several ideas from museum exhibits. Many of my ideas come from true stories or anecdotes.

What kinds of research do you do for your books? I read a lot of autobiographies and memoirs, and I’m blessed to have access to information, artifacts, letters, and documents at the Wright Museum of WWII which is in my town. I also use YouTube a lot, mostly for oral history interviews, but I recently watched a video that was recorded from inside a BT-13 plane during a flight as research for a book on the Womens Air Service Pilots.

Do you have a full time day job? If so, how do you find time to write? I have a full time day job, so I make time to write before I leave for work each morning. I work a night shift on Wednesdays, so am able to write until noon on those days. Saturdays is focused on marketing, and Sundays before church is devoted to social media.


The Widow & The War Correspondent

Chapter Excerpt:

Cora Strealer threw back the covers and jumped out of bed. The wooden floor was cold on her bare feet as she hurried to the closet to select her outfit. The smell of pancakes filtered from the kitchen. Moving back home after her husband was killed with so many others during the attack at Pearl Harbor, she slept in the bedroom that had been hers since childhood. Her gaze went to the framed photograph of Brian. After two-and-a-half years, his death still seemed unreal. Trapped in the USS Arizona when the ship went down, his body hadn’t been returned.

No body. No casket. No viewing. When would she stop looking for him to come through the door?

She closed her eyes for a long moment searching her heart. Sure, she missed Brian, but with their whirlwind courtship and even shorter marriage, she hardly felt like a widow. Was she wrong to have those feelings? Her mother would be horrified.

Opening her eyes, Cora continued to run her hands over the clothes hanging in her closet. What did one wear when meeting a famous celebrity? Especially someone as elegant and refined as Miss Hayworth.

Her fingers fell on the sage-colored silk suit she’d worn for her wedding. Heart hammering, she pulled the outfit off its hanger and walked to the full-length mirror in the corner. She held the suit in front of her, studying her reflection in the glass. Blonde hair fell past her shoulders in a tangled mass, and her blue eyes picked up the green from the suit and seemed almost turquoise.

“Ugh. I look like a teenaged cheerleader with these freckles. No one would guess I’m thirty-one years old.” Rubbing her eyes that burned from lack of sleep, she yawned. How many times had she awakened with another idea for the interview? She glanced at the illegible scrawl on the top sheet of her notebook.

Time was wasting. She hurried to the bathroom and fifteen minutes later was dressed, ready to go. She stuffed the steno pad and extra pencils into her pocketbook and skipped down the stairs.

A car horn beeped outside, and she opened the door to wave at Amanda. Racing into the kitchen, she kissed her mother on the cheek and grabbed a piping hot pancake. Rolling it up, she blew on the hot cake before taking a bite. She snatched a napkin from the table. “Yummy as always, Mom. See you later.”

“Have fun, honey.”

“Thanks.” Cora bit off another piece of the pancake as she left the house and rushed to Amanda’s car. Considered an essential war worker, she was assigned a C gasoline ration sticker, giving her more than the usual four gallons per week that most people were allotted.

Nearly out of her own rationed amount of fuel, Cora was thrilled when Amanda offered to pick her up. Bicycling to the plant in her suit hardly seemed like an option. She wiped her fingers on the napkin then opened the door and climbed inside the back seat of the car. Her jaw dropped, and her breath quickened.

Seated beside her, Miss Hayworth smiled and held out her hand. “Mrs. Strealer? A pleasure to meet you.”

Cora’s heart threatened to jump from her chest, and she took a deep breath as she shook the movie star’s hand. “Uh, it’s Miss Strealer. I use my maiden name for my byline, but you can call me Cora.”

“Perfect, and please call me Rita. We don’t need formalities with just us girls here.” She smoothed the skirt on her emerald-green dress then straightened the pillbox hat set on her gleaming titian-colored hair, orange highlights glinting in the early morning sun. Her smile was genuine as she patted Cora’s knee. “How long have you been a newspaperwoman?”

“Since high school. I got my degree in English then moved to Hawaii when my husband was assigned there. I wrote for the Honolulu Star Advertiser, but after he was killed, I moved back home, and now I write for the local paper.”

“I’m sorry to hear about your husband.”

Cora shrugged. “It was a long time ago.”

From the driver’s seat, Amanda gestured over her shoulder. “Cora’s a great writer. I think she should apply to become a war correspondent. Especially with her experience at Pearl.”

Face heating, Cora shook her head. “Amanda, Miss Hayworth…Rita…doesn’t want to hear about my life.”

“On the contrary.” Rita smiled. “It will be nice to focus on someone other than myself. I appreciate what my celebrity status can do for the boys in the service and the country’s morale, but being the center of attention is fatiguing. Tell me about the opportunity.”

Licking her lips, Cora gulped. “In order to be a war correspondent overseas, I need to receive accreditation from the government which involves a lengthy background check and a physical. Working for such a tiny newspaper, I’m not sure I’ll pass.”

“How about the Associated Press or United Press?” Rita cocked her head.

“Don’t they have plenty of staff already?”

“This war spans the globe. There can never be too many reporters. I’ll write you a letter of introduction to the London bureau chief for the UP. Will that help?”

Cora’s eyes widened. “Well…uh—”

Amanda clapped her hands. “You’re a peach, Rita. A recommendation from you should get our girl in.”

“I’m happy to help. We gals need to stick together.”

“Thank you, Miss—Rita. I appreciate the offer. I haven’t decided to pursue going overseas.”

“You can’t let this pass you by, Cora. You’re stagnating here in this one-horse town. Nothing is keeping you here. Certainly not this newspaper that doesn’t appreciate your talent. I say you go for it. Don’t you agree, Rita?”

Rita turned to Cora. “What do you want? Are you happy with your current position? You need to make the decision that’s right for you, but I will say that if I hadn’t made some changes in my life, I wouldn’t be the star I am today. Sometimes shaking things up is good. Perhaps being a war correspondent will be the best thing to happen to you. Maybe not, but you won’t know unless you try.”

Cora slumped against the seat. “You’re right. I’m stuck in a rut. Here in town, everyone feels sorry for me. They tiptoe around, afraid to talk about the war or my husband. A fresh start where no one knows about Brian might be just the ticket.” Grinning, she straightened and crossed her arms. “Look out, world. Here I come.”


Get your copy now!

https://books2read.com/u/m2ZXZG


Find Linda online:

Website/Blog: http://www.LindaShentonMatchett.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindaShentonMatchettAuthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lindasmatchett

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lindasmatchett

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/authorlindamatchett

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Shenton-Matchett/e/B01DNB54S0

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-shenton-matchett

Wednesday’s Writer with Linda Shenton Matchett

Linda Shenton Matchett

Today I have an interview with Linda Shenton Matchett. Welcome, Linda!

Do you have a special place where you like to write?

I have been blessed to have offices in my current (we recently downsized and moved) and last house. The furniture is the same, but my view now is into the woods behind our house. The trees are beautiful no matter what the season (I live in northern New England so we get all four seasons, including a winter that lasts from November to April.) There are lots of birds from hawks and falcons to woodpeckers, blue jays and cardinals. A peaceful setting that I find inspirational. In fact the room and its view is what sold us on the house when we were looking for our new home.

Have you ever received a rejection?

I’ve received many rejections over the years. Under Fire (book one in the Ruth Brown Mystery series) was rejected seven times before being accepted for publication. But my favorite rejection was from a well-known acquisitions editor at one of the larger Christian publishers in response to my very first manuscript that I sent to her in 2007. The editor wrote me a graciously-worded, lengthy response indicating that she saw potential in my writing, but that I was not ready for publication. She suggested that I read books and magazines on craft, attend conferences if possible, find a critique group, but most importantly to keep writing.

Do you take time to plot and outline your books? Or do you like to write by the seat of your pants?

I am definitely an extensive plotter. For a 40-60K book, my outline is ten or twelve pages. I create a chart that includes a column for date, weather, character POV, goal of the scene, scene, hook, and any notes such as research needs. Before I start the outline, I write a full character history for the main characters, and a partial history for my secondary characters. I do follow the characters “off the page” sometimes, but for the most part I follow the outline.

Do you ever talk about your next project or do you like to keep it a secret?

I tend to keep information about my works-in-progress close to the vest other than perhaps a comment about what the main character does for a living (e.g. USO singer, journalist) and where the book takes place. That works best for me.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Initially, a full book would take me nine to twelve months. As I have matured as a writer, I can finish a solid first draft for a 45-60K book in 60-90 days. During holidays and busy family times, I’m not able to get as much time in front of the computer, so sometimes a book can take as much as four months, but that’s unusual. I love writing novellas, because I can usually finish one in four or five weeks.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will related to?

One message in nearly all my books is that of second chances. No mistake or sin is so bad that God won’t forgive it and take us into His family. I was a long time taking that concept to heart, so I feel strongly about sharing the message regularly.

What kinds of research do you do for your books?

I LOVE to research, always have. As a school kid, whether it was book reports or projects, I’ve always gone crazy digging up facts. I think first-person information is vital, so for my books, I read lots of memoirs and autobiographies, but my favorite way to research is to watch interviews on YouTube conducted by museums and universities as part of oral history projects.

Do you have a full-time day job? If so, how do you find time to write?

I am a dining services and catering manager for a boarding high school. It might be a fine line, but I make time rather than find time. I’m a morning person, so I’m at my desk by 6:00 and write until leaving for work around 7:45. I work a late shift on Wednesdays, so I have six whole hours to write on that day! Saturdays are for a variety of writing tasks such as marketing, research, and the like, and Sundays (outside of church) are for handling social media (blog posts-my own and guest posts, creating pins and tweets, etc.). All-in-all, I spend about twenty hours per week on my writing career.


Under Cover

(Ruth Brown Mystery series, book 3)

In the year since arriving in London, journalist Ruth Brown has put a face on the war for her readers at home in the U.S. Thus far, juggling her career and her relationship with Detective Inspector Trevor Gelson hasn’t proven too challenging. The war gets personal for Ruth when her friend Amelia is murdered, and Trevor is assigned to the case.

Life gets even more unsettling when clues indicate her best friend, Varis, is passing secrets to the enemy. Convinced Varis is innocent, Ruth must find the real traitor as the clock ticks down toward Operation Husky-the Allied invasion of Sicily. Circumstantial evidence leads Trevor to suspect her of having a part in Amelia’s death, and Ruth must choose between her heart and her duty.

Get your copy here:     Amazon