Are Your Character’s Goals Golden?

Last week you read your story without altering one single typo, didn’t you? This week you will need to review the notes you wrote about how your story made you feel. And you will need your story sentence and your scene sentences. Do each of your sentences include a hook, a protagonist with a need versus an antagonist with a need in an interesting setting? If they do, good job! But perhaps you had difficulty writing your story sentence or a particular scene’s sentence. If so, it may be that you did not establish clear character goals. Are your character’s goals golden?  If not, read on.

Lesson 2: The second installment in my “Re-vision Your Story” series.

Are Your Character's Goals Golden? Lesson 2 in Re-visioning your story discusses character goals.

A Goal Is

Whether this is the first story you’ve written or the ninety-first, you are most likely aware that your story and your characters should have goals. Goals are what drive your plot. Goals are what make your characters strong or weak, sympathetic or not, and finally, goals in opposition create conflict.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, a goal is “the purpose toward which an endeavor is directed, an objective.” Notice, the definition says the purpose, an objective, toward which an endeavor is directed. In other words for it to be a goal, there must be an endeavor, an action taken, that moves one toward a single definable objective.

But, my characters’ have complex goals, you say. They have many goals and those goals change in the course of the story.

In his book, The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass refers to goals as character needs.

‘Most authors would like their characters’ needs to emerge more artfully, to infuse the action of the scene rather than squat atop it like an elephant on an egg. . . . . But this restraint is too often a convenient excuse for not working out what a character wants or needs at this particular moment.
“Working that out is essential to shaping a scene in which everything that happens has a meaning. At the end of a scene, we want to feel that something important occurred. . . . We won’t get that feeling unless we get, in some way, a prior sense of what we’re hoping for — a hope that in the scene is either fulfilled or dashed or delayed.”

Readers want to feel that spending hours of their time reading a novel was worth it. So you, the writer must know . . .

What Your Story Is About.

Have you identified your story’s central theme? What is your character’s primary goal? Does your story sentence convey those things? If it doesn’t, your story goal needs to be clarified. Ask yourself: Why did you write this story? What is it about this story makes your heart sing? Be specific. Don’t say, it’s a story about a fisherman and the honor of struggle, defeat, and death. That’s too vague. Instead use specific nouns, action verbs, and defining adjectives or adverbs. If I were to write a story sentence for Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, it would be something like ‘Eighty-one days fishless, an old Cuban fisherman battles a magnificent marlin to exhaustion and then must fight off sharks attracted to his kill, finally arriving ashore with a sixteen-foot carcass and his honor as a fisherman restored.’

Types of Goals

Goals can be internal, external, short-term, long-term and somewhere in the middle.

Internal goals may or may not be something your character understands and is able to articulate. But you, the author, must know it. The internal goal shows what motivates your character and frequently this goal is a long-term goal.

In the Old Man and the Sea, the old man has an outer goal and an inner goal: to catch a fish and to restore his honor as a fisherman. The character is not able to completely articulate his inner goals. Hemingway hints at the internal goals with references to how the old man is considered unlucky and that the old man’s sail resembles “a flag of permanent defeat.” Other hints are in the old man’s observations of how it didn’t matter if you were a marlin or a shark, onshore each was gutted and prepared to eat.

The old man’s long-term goal was to prove, to himself as much as to the others, that he was a fisherman, that he was not bad luck.

Goals Must Be Actionable

If your character has goals but only sits and worries about them or about how something else will affect his goals, your reader will not care.

Hemingway takes care to show us the old man’s desperation in his interactions with the boy. The old man’s pride drives him to refuse to accept defeat but he does accept a beer and some sardines. These situations set the reader up to feel sympathy for the old man. Then he acts. He takes his skiff far out into the Gulf. He does it alone because his longer-term goal is to restore his own honor. The marlin takes his bait and the battle begins. The old man’s battle is physical and internal. He battles the fish for days, testing his physical strength and his determination, but he also battles his pride when he fears no one will be worthy of eating the fish.

One way to make goals actionable is to make goals that are opposites.

In The Old Man and the Sea, the main character’s internal and external goals could be called oppositional. He needs to catch a fish successfully but instead of fishing with the others, he goes out beyond them, alone. The distance and the fact that he has no one to help with his battle are due to his pride.

If that kind of opposition of goals isn’t clear to you consider these: Greg must trust his girlfriend with his life, but he also must protect himself from getting hurt by getting too close to her; Sally has no job or money and she needs food for her kids but she has a moral objection to stealing and taking charity; or Charlie needs to feel worthy and thinks to do so he must exact revenge for a wrong done to him but he must keep his enemy alive in order to prove he is deserving of his birthright. Goals can also be in opposition between two people: Joe must win the race because he needs the prize money to pay for his mother’s operation but Tom must win the race in order to qualify for the championship race so he can pay off his bookie.

Goals must be Meaningful

The reader feels the old man’s struggle as worthy because the reader identifies with the old man. We identify with the old man because we’ve all suffered one defeat or another. We understand the need to restore one’s honor, pride, and dignity. He’s heroic because he is determined and he takes action despite being defeated.

Another thing that gives goals meaning is that they must be large scale. Large-scale does not have to mean that if your character does not achieve his goal the world will end. It means that it is not easily solved. It will cost something to pursue it. The old man’s battle is large scale (life or death), it’s immediate (the battle is present on the page), and it is not easily solved (he battles the marlin for days and the sharks through the night). And there is a cost to him. He is physically tested and injured. And in a sense, he loses because he loses all the marlin’ meat to the sharks.

Ultimately the old man acknowledges his pride, the strength, and dignity of his opponent, the marlin, and the natural behavior of the sharks. And although he comes home without a fish to sell, he has restored his honor as a fisherman.

Do Your Character and Story Goals Jive?

Villain or heroine, your primary characters must have goals. Every scene must have goals. In order for your story to have depth, to have a deeper meaning, every scene’s goal must have something to do with your characters’ goals and with the overall story goal. In order for the goals to matter, there must be opposition. The only way successfully weave those together is to create clear, actionable goals that matter.

After you have identified your overall story goal, review you sentences for your scenes. Does every scene fulfill, dash, or delay achievement of the short-term goal? Does the scene’s resolution move toward fulfilling, dashing, or delaying achievement of your long-term story goal?

Your Assignment

Again, this week you want to identify things that are working and things that are not working. Reach for the Golden Goals that will make your story well integrated. Identify if the goals are internal, external, long term or short term. Indicate which ones are oppositional. Make notes on how to make them more oppositional, more meaningful and immediate. Make notes on 2-3 different actions your character could take to achieve this goal. And write down 2-3 possible outcomes of this attempt: reached the goal, didn’t reach the goal, or delayed that goal. Do not attempt to rewrite. Let your muse chew on what you’ve learned. Make notes as you need to, but do not rewrite.

I’d love to hear from you. Won’t you share your story sentence? What do you find difficult about goals? Is there something that helps you identify them? Do you have more external or internal goals in your story and characters?

Lesson 1: Re-Visioning Your Story

Lesson 2: above

Lesson 3: Twist the Knife Slowly

Lesson 4: Do Your Characters Play Well With Others?

Lesson 5: As the Plot Turns

Lesson 6: Is There a Time and Place in Your Story?

Lesson 7: From the End to the Beginning

Lesson 8: Putting the Pieces Together

Robots, Mermaids, & Dogs – Inspirations and Fascinations

Wow, the blogosphere and internet have been full of news and blogs that offer weird, wonderful, and soul-touching bits and pieces that captured this SF writer’s attention. I hope you are as fascinated with these robots, mermaids, & dogs as I am.

Would you move to Mars? Scientists think this might be possible in the near future.

How about if you had NASA’s R2 to help?

courtesy of NASA

Marcy Kennedy (an awesome WANA1011 classmate) also spoke of Mermaids in this touching tribute to her friend: Who is Your Unicorn?

You already know I am a marshmallow when it comes to dogs. Dogs and heroes – I’m toasted :). These two links demonstrate that our canine friends can suffer right alongside us.

He had me at Hero. 🙂 Hero, the dog.

Combat service dogs diagnosed with PTSD.

Demonstrating that writing ideas can come from anywhere is the following story about an endangered Salamander. Just the name of this creature brings to mind fantasy and horror: First Ozark Hellbender Raised in Captivity. If that isn’t a story title, I don’t know what is!

K. M. Weiland exhorts writers to mimic the masters and gives us clear guidelines on the difference between mimicry and plagiarism. Four Reasons to Mimic Masters.

Finally, I am not the only writer offering tips on revision this week (see my Re-Visioning Your Story Writing Wednesday post) Larry Fix offered tips on rewriting your nanowrimo story. Make December Your Nanowrimo Revision Month.

Generally what is here is good and useful, but I disagree on one point. Larry states that “Depending on the nature of the difference between your original idea and the one you finished with, you may or may not be able to salvage it.” I disagree. First, whether it’s fixable or not, depends upon how much work you are willing to do. You can always mine a totally failed story, figure out why it failed and use the salvageable parts to start over. You learn from revising. Most importantly, you learn about your writing process, your strengths, and your weakness when you revise your story.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’d love to hear from you. What inspirations and fascinations have you found on the web or in life this week? Did you enjoy these stories about robots, mermaids, and dogs?

Re-Visioning Your Story

Revision is probably the single most difficult thing a writer must do. Now, I know some of you are going to remind me that there are those who advise not to revise, except to editorial demand. I believe there are some writers out that who have so internalized the process that for them there is little or no revision needed. I’m not one of those writers . . . yet. So I have studied and developed my own process. I call it re-visioning your story.

Am I an expert on revision? I don’t claim to be an expert. Or to know THE ONE WAY to revise. But, I have done a lot of revision – the wrong way. I have also read tons of how to write books and blogs, and taken more than a few classes. I’ve had a few stories published and I have taught a few writing classes. So I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you.

Lesson 1: 

Many experts say the best thing to do is let your manuscript cool before you begin to revise. How long you ask? As long as it takes, they say.

Can’t wait that long? That’s okay, but gear up for some hard work.


Before you begin, put your life in order. Okay, not really, but you do need to have long stretches of uninterrupted time, a notebook or computer file for notes, a large stack of self-stick notes, and colored pens for marking up your manuscript.

Put your pencils down. Hey, you with the red pen! You, too. Not one pen scratch or computer keystroke should be made for a while. Just one correction of a typo and your mind will shift into edit mode. That will not be helpful at this stage. Put your reader’s cap on.

Now, put a copy of the manuscript in front of you. I prefer to have a printed manuscript for the first stages of revision. If you are one who can read the electronic screen and SEE what’s written, then go for it.

What do I mean by see? Multiple studies have shown that most people scan electronic information. All electronic information. And most of the time, that’s good enough. For revision purposes, scanning is not good enough.

In revision, you need to step back from your novel and analyze how well its parts work with all the other parts. Once you’ve analyzed how well (or not) the parts of your story work, you will be able to see where it needs improvement, re-Vision your story, and make all the parts of a strong story come together.

What parts, you say? Hook, Protagonist, Antagonist, Conflict (aka Plot), Setting or World Building, and Resolution are the major parts I’ll be discussing in these posts. But there are additional parts like transitions, point of view, details, and identifying your reader that I will cover as well.

Okay, so you have printed your manuscript? Onward.

Revisioning Your Story: Am I an expert on revision? I don't claim to be an expert. Or to know THE ONE WAY to revise. But, I have done a lot of revision - the wrong way. I have also read tons of how to write books and blogs, and taken more than a few classes. I've had a few stories published and I have taught a few writing classes. So I'd like to share what I've learned with you.

Just Read

Read your manuscript in one sitting. Read it as a reader would. Remember no writing, no corrections of any kind. Just read. Let the story wash over you, notice how it affects you emotionally but don’t write just yet.

Finished? Now you can pick up your pen and paper (or turn on the computer). Do not write on the manuscript. This information goes in your revision notebook or folder. Write down only what you FEEL. Some questions to get you going:
-What overall feeling did your story convey to you?
-How did the opening of the book make you feel?
-What feeling did you experience at the end of the book?
-Were there scenes that made you feel so strongly that it formed pictures in your head that you can still see?
-What impressed you the most? (Yes, it’s okay to be impressed by your own writing.)
-Where did you disconnect from the story or characters?

If you’re like me, at this point you’re going holy inkblots! There are parts that you loved, but there are parts that you cringed while reading. That’s all right. It can all be fixed.

Revision Your Story

Before you can improve your writing you have to know where you went right and where you went wrong. You have to know story structure and you have to pull your book apart bit by bit.

So, if you’re ready to start, put your thinking cap on and write your overall story sentence. If you think the story you wrote is not what you had intended to write, write your story sentence for the story you want. Its purpose is focus. You can’t hit a home run if you can’t see the ball.

The story sentence, if you recall, is a hook, a protagonist with a need versus an antagonist with a need in an interesting setting. If you need more information about the sentence, please read my article “The Best Writer’s Tool.” If you’ve already mastered the sentence and were smart enough to have one before you started your novel, it’s time to move on to the next step.

What is a Scene?

Again, before you can begin to analyze a scene, you need to have a definition of what a scene is.

According to Robert McKee in his excellent book, Story, “A scene is an action through conflict in more or less continuous time and space that turns the value-charged condition of a character’s life on at least one value with a perceptible significance.” Whew, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Can you analyze your story based on that? If you’ve read his whole book and understand what his terms are you can. But to me, it’s a little high concept.

Let’s try another definition. According to Donald Mass in Writing the Breakout Novel, “A well-constructed scene has a mini-arc of its own: a beginning, rise and climax or reversal at the end.” That’s pretty good as far as the structure of a scene. But how do you put that together or take it apart?

The above definitions are all well and good, but my favorite definition of a scene was supplied by Dwight V. Swain in Techniques of the Selling Writer. His definition is, “A scene is a unit of conflict, of struggle, lived through by character and reader. It’s a blow-by-blow of somebody’s time-unified effort to attain an immediate goal despite face-to-face opposition.” I would only add to that that the scene ends with a change – the character attains his goal (or not) or acquires information which propels him into the next scene. In other words, a scene consists of a viewpoint character making an effort to achieve an immediate goal in direct opposition to someone or something and that effort results in a change. Now that’s a definition I can sink my teeth into.

Analyze Your Scenes

Finally, it’s time to analyze your scenes. For each and every scene in your book write down who the viewpoint character is, what the immediate goal is, who or what opposes that goal, and what change has occurred. Again, don’t fix anything. Don’t write on your manuscript. You are just looking at the structure at this point.

It’s a slow, sometimes painful process. But trust me, it will help. It will identify weakness and strengths. It will inspire your muse to make your story stronger. If ideas on how to fix your story come to you at this point, make a note in your notebook – but keep moving forward.

Next week we’ll look at goals.

ETA: Additional posts on Re-visioning Your Story

1: above

2: Are Your Character’s Goals Golden?

3: Twist the Knife Slowly

4: Do Your Characters Play Well with Others?

5: As the Plot Turns

6: Is There a Time and Place in Your Story?

7: From the End to the Beginning

8: Putting the Pieces Together

Can A Bad Hair Day Be A Good Thing?

Recently on Twitter, one of my WANA1011 classmates mentioned she’d gotten a new hairdo and how good that made her feel. A great haircut and color can do that. It’s invigorating. But a monstrously bad hairstyle? Well, sometimes a bad hair day can teach you a thing or two.Bad hair day is cute on my yorkie,


Shortly after I graduated from nursing school, I moved across two states to be closer to the young man who had been my brother’s college roommate. We’d met a few times and exchanged letters across the 700 plus miles between us. The letters gradually grew more intimate but long-distance communication by snail mail (the internet and email were not available to everyone at that time) was frustratingly slow and prone to misunderstandings that had to be smoothed out by long distance phone calls. Young and up for the adventure, I accepted a job in that far away city.

I packed all my worldly possessions into an eight-foot U-Haul trailer, hitched it to my little 1975 Ford Mustang and drove to my new life.

I arrived at my new home on the coldest day of the year, literally. It was so cold that the radio announcer warned parents not to let their children wait at the bus stop in the subzero wind chill as frostbite would be certain. Yikes! I began to have my first doubts about what I had done.


During my first weeks of the new job, new rules, new procedures, different terminology soon left me feeling overwhelmed. I found that as a working adult, making friends wasn’t the same as it had been in college. These folks had their friendship circles established, leaving me to feel like an outsider. Even the young man I’d moved for had a circle of friends and routines that didn’t include me. What on earth had possessed me to move? I felt disconnected, uncertain, and afraid. So I turned to the most reliable ‘make-myself-feel-better’ method I knew – a new hairstyle.

But I hadn’t established a new hairstylist since my move. My boyfriend’s mother helpfully offered the name and address of her hairdresser. Her hair always looked nice and I knew where the salon was located, so I made an appointment.

On the day of the appointment, I left home anticipating that great feeling of a new hairstyle.


The salon was a combination barbershop and hairstyling salon in the lower level of an old brick building. Entering the shop you were assaulted with the overpowering odors of permanent solution, bleach, and sickly sweet aftershave. Everything in the shop said established, traditional, and every single stylist was my mother’s age or older. That made me feel a little uneasy, but I sat in the stylist chair and described how I have always envied women with thick, hair that bounced with body, so that’s what I wanted. The stylist asked me several questions about curls, didn’t I want some? I kept repeating that I wanted lots of body. Finally, the stylist seemed to understand. She assured me that she could turn my unruly shoulder-length locks into a dream head of hair.

After a quick shampoo and trim, she set up the tools of torment her trade: perm papers, rollers of various sizes, and lots of clips to secure the rollers.

Oh, those torturous rollers! By the time she was finished, I couldn’t waggle an eyebrow nor bend my neck for fear of scalping myself. Then came the breath-robbing permanent solution!. Finally, she put me under the hairdryer.

I had come prepared with a new book to read while I waited. It was a good book. I escaped the sounds and smells of the salon and entered the world of the story, barely aware of passing time.

Finally, I sat in front of her station, staring into the mirror. My head was a mass of wet, tight curls. “Um, that looks pretty tight,” I said. She reassured me that this was as it had to be and after a couple of shampoos it would relax and be the bodacious hair of my dreams. As she styled my newly frizzed permed hair, my dismay grew. She styled my hair exactly as she styled my boyfriend’s mother’s hair: a tight cap of curls. I bit back my tears and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

In my car, outside the salon, I sat staring into my rearview mirror, tears cascading down my face for what seemed an eternity. I looked hideous! I decided I couldn’t be seen this way and drove to the nearest department store where I bought a bunch of head scarfs and covered my curls before I left the store.

That hairdo did not relax into the beautiful bouncing body I had hoped for. One day after the next was a bad hair day. By the end of a week, I was angry. I returned to the salon and complained to the manager. He listened to my rant and said he would fix it for free. He put a relaxer on my hair and trimmed off the fried ends. My dreams of long waves were swept up and dumped in the nearest trash can. Afterward, as I peered into the mirror I felt as if I could face myself again. The manager said something about being sorry I had been so dissatisfied and in a very mystified voice added about how that stylist usually did a good job in questioning her clients so she could give them what they wanted.


Of course, my hair grew out. I found a new circle of friends and I grew comfortable with my new home. And before I chose my next hairstylist, I did a lot of investigating and interviewing. Eventually, I found a stylist that was a fit for me and memories of the really bad hair day has faded, though obviously not forgotten.


I’m not certain when it occurred to me, but I realized that the problem between the hairstylist and I was one of communication. Not only did she not listen to me; I didn’t listen to her.

These days I’ve come to value listening. But it’s not as easy as one would think.

Surprisingly the first person you have to learn to listen to is yourself. You can’t know what you need, what drives you, or who you are unless you listen to yourself. Without that self-awareness, you can’t really listen to others.

It’s only after you are comfortable with yourself that you can hear what others have to say. You have to be able to listen with your ears, your eyes (what does their body language tell you), and with your heart. When you listen to others, rephrase what they’ve told you. You don’t have to give advice, or tell a similar story, or say anything. Just listen. By doing so, you validate their experiences, you demonstrate that you value them, you learn about the human experience and gain an ‘I’m not alone’ wisdom. Best of all, you develop relationships that can grow.

So nowadays, no matter whether I’m getting repairs done on my house or a new hairstyle, the number one trait I look for in someone else is listening.

Thank you for reading (listening) today. I know you have a ton of things to do and I value your time. I’d be delighted to hear about your most memorable listening lesson or a bad hair day. I’m here, listening. Oh, and just so you know – I have never, ever again had another permanent or such a terrible bad hair day. 🙂

Will You Raise Your Hand?

I am proud to be an American. (Raise your hand if you’re proud, too). Americans are some of the most caring, most passionate, and most inventive people on the planet. However, we’ve also become a people obsessed with ‘doing.’ We brag about how busy we are as we pass one another and hurry off to the next activity. And in all the doing, some of us forget To take care of ourselves. Not taking care of ourselves means a rising number of us are becoming diabetic. Right now we are rushing into the bountiful feast season. Raise your hand if you want to celebrate the season and stop diabetes.

Raise your hand illustration of colorful hands raised


In the next few months, we’ll proudly fix meals that once fed the entire colony and all of their guests in 1621. Many of us will say grace, giving thanks for our bounty. Some won’t. We’ll watch parades, football games, and maybe a sappy holiday movie or two. A few of us will take an after-dinner walk. Most of us won’t. (*Raising my hand sheepishly*)

We won’t remember that the first feast came only after a tremendous amount of physical work. The early settlers suffered through a two-month journey on a ship most of us modern Americans wouldn’t step foot on. Those that survived the journey were challenged by winter weather, limited food, poor housing, and illness. Then they had to clear the land, build their homes, hunt for meat, and till the land to grow food. The survivors of that first harsh year had plenty of reasons to celebrate their first successful harvest.

Be Thankful

By comparison, most modern Americans have it very soft. But this post isn’t meant to be an “in the old days . . .” type of scolding. It’s meant as a reminder: Be thankful for the technology that makes our lives so much easier. Give thanks that our knowledge and technology has made it possible to have plenty of food. Be thankful that the advances in medicine have nearly eliminated some of the most deadly epidemics out there. (*Raising my hand, thankful for all of these*) But our bodies have not caught up evolutionarily with all of the technical changes

Some Are Forced to Change

My redheaded niece has just been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. It’s a very difficult time for her and her family: her sister and brother, her father (my brother), and her mother (my brother’s lovely wife).

We all understand that there are worse diagnoses she could have had. (*Raising my hand in gratitude*). But childhood is difficult enough without the added stress of a medical condition. No matter what that medical condition is, it adds stress. Parents try to grasp that their perfect child is no longer perfect. They feel threatened by the disease, by the foreign language they have to learn, and by all the procedures that accompany that particular diagnosis.

The child cannot understand what’s happening. Yesterday they could eat, play, do what they want. Today, everything has changed. And the child asks why. A question most parents, even medical personnel cannot answer.

Added to that is the stress, the knowledge, that diabetes is a very serious disease that affects your whole body. Undiagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes can lead to kidney and heart disease, massive infections, blindness, and death. It’s HARD to manage diabetes around activities and illness and bountiful feasts. It is especially difficult because we Americans forgo moderation as if more is better somehow.

Be Moderate

Moderation doesn’t mean you never get to eat a treat. It means you are aware. You are aware of your body’s needs and of your psychological needs. A small treat once in a while is delightful and appropriate. But a sugary snack twice a day and a dessert every night, or a menu of nothing but fast foods — not so appropriate for what our bodies need.

I have type two diabetes, or adult onset, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes. I don’t take care of myself nearly as well as I should. And for no good reason: I am tired, so I don’t exercise and eat a treat ‘because I deserve it.’ I am partying so I eat to celebrate. I had a hard day, I had a good day, etc. etc. I always have an excuse.

How Many Are Affected by Diabetes?

My niece’s diagnosis has made me stop and think. Because of her diagnosis, I visited the American Diabetes Association. I’d like to share the following statistics I found there:

Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.

Diagnosed: 18.8 million people

Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people

Prediabetes: 79 million people*

New Cases: 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.

Please remember, diabetes can do damage EVEN IF YOU DON”T KNOW YOU HAVE IT.

The American Diabetes Association has a presence on Facebook also. The Association has a campaign running right now. raise your hand.  Pledge to stop diabetes.

My niece and her family live miles away from me. I can’t help her the way I’d like to. I can’t make her diabetes go away. But there are things I can do.

Raise Your Hand

So I’m raising my hand. (*Waves to Savannah!*) I’m taking the pledge to stop diabetes. I pledge to be kinder to my body: to drink more water, eat in moderation, to test my blood sugar regularly and to exercise. These are not going to be easy for me to do. It is a lifestyle change. But I’m doing this for my niece, for my family, and for myself.

Oh, don’t worry. We’ll have a Thanksgiving Day feast, we’ll watch parades and I’ll probably watch a sappy movie. But I’ve made the pledge – I’ll eat in moderation (we’ll have plenty of leftovers!) and I will exercise and I will test my blood sugar regularly. You all will hold me accountable, won’t you?

Have a HAPPY (moderate) THANKSGIVING.

But won’t you also join me? Raise your hand and pledge to stop diabetes. Get tested for diabetes. Be more active. Eat right. And learn to love taking care of yourself and your loved ones.