• Craft,  Discipline,  Organization,  Uncategorized,  Work-In-Progress

    Writing Multiple Projects: Pros and Cons

    by Joanna Maciejewska Mikhail Bulgakov burned the first draft of Master and Margarita, a book that long after death would make him famous. He wrote it for two years, and then in 1930 committed it to the flame. A year later, he restarted the novel and worked on the second draft for the next six years. For the next years, he worked on another four versions and even right before his death in 1940 the novel still had unfinished bits. Even though he had some other works published earlier (along with plays and short stories), he’s ultimately remembered by that one novel. Writing Multiple Projects Nowadays, in our fast-paced world…

  • Craft,  Reading,  Uncategorized,  Work-In-Progress

    Eleven Requirements For The First Pages of Your Bestseller

    The first pages of a book are like opening a door. I let myself go at the beginning and write with an easy mind, but by the time I get to the middle I begin to grow timid and to fear my story will be too long…That is why the beginning of my stories is always very promising and looks as though I were starting on a novel, and the middle is huddled and timid, and the end is…like fireworks. — Anton Chekov The first pages of a book are  the first impression a reader, agent, publisher or reviewer will read. Your goal is to keep them so interested that…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Nanowrimo,  Work-In-Progress

    Top 10 Ways You May Be Doing National Novel Writing Month All Wrong

    by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist Is it really November? Is it really time to start that non-stop frenzy that requires 50,000 words in 30 days? It is! Congratulations to all of you who are attempting it this year! And to those of you who have tried, get discouraged and possibly think you are on the road to failure, just consider this:  you may be doing it wrong.  1. You think every word you write is golden. Um, your nano project is a first draft. Please, for the love of all that’s publishable, type this sentence ten times —> MY NANO PROJECT IS A FIRST DRAFT. The solution? Just plan…

  • Craft,  Work-In-Progress

    Top 10 Things To Give Your Characters That Will Make Them More Vivid

    by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist Forget about hair color and broad shoulders and kissable lips. The best stories have characters  that are complex,  well drawn and have such interesting inner and outer struggles that readers can’t help but be fascinated by them. There are hundreds of ways to develop character, from figuring out their favorite ice cream flavors to starting with an archetype and building on it. This is just one little list to set you thinking.  If you only manage a couple of these, your characters will be more vivid, more interesting and strong enough to carry a reader through your story. 1. Give them a secret that…

  • Nanowrimo,  Organization,  Uncategorized,  Work-In-Progress

    I DID IT! I’M A NANO WINNER! (Now, What My Project Is, And What It Is Not!)

    I did it! Despite going away for a week, having no plan, no outline and no idea what I was doing, I put in the necessary 50,000 words required for National Novel Writing Month. So, I won! I’m a winner! WOO-HOO! Now before I get too excited, I need to realize that word count alone doth not a novel make. Oh my. No. So this little blog entry is to explain what my particular messy 50K word work-in-progress is and is not. What It is: A long brain spew. This isn’t a bad thing. I really believe that the best books resemble icebergs. What is read in the published form is only the tip. This is a critical part…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Craft,  Creativity,  Nanowrimo,  Work-In-Progress,  Writing Prompt

    Even More Top Ten Emergency Writing Prompts for Nanowrimo!

    Last week I suggested ten emergency writing prompts for Nanowrimo. Here are 10 more! 1. Put your character in an actual emergency. Food allergies, car accident, flash flood, explosive plumbing, gas leak — none of these are planned. You don’t have to plan yours too. And even if it looks rather deux et machina -ish, don’t worry about it. You can always go back and fix it later. 2. What does your character have in his pocket, purse or glove compartment? Candy? A gun? Drugs? A crucifix? A hundred thousand dollars in cash? Microfilm? A flash drive? A recording? An epi-pen? A switchblade?  He remembers!  And it uses it, just as the right time…

  • Motivation,  Nanowrimo,  Work-In-Progress

    Top Eight Signs You May Be Doing Nanowrimo All Wrong

    Is it really November? Is it really time to start that non-stop frenzy that requires 50,000 words in 30 days? It is! Congratulations to all of you who are attempting it this year! And to those of you who have tried, get discouraged and possibly think you are on the road to failure, just consider this:  you may be doing it wrong.  1. You think every word you write is golden. Um, your nano project is a first draft. Please, for the love of all that’s publishable, type this sentence ten times —> MY NANO PROJECT IS A FIRST DRAFT. The solution? Just plan on doing some major rewrites, revisions…

  • Craft,  Work-In-Progress

    Why Three Act Structure Should Be A Blueprint For Your Next Masterpiece

    You can call yourself a pantser. You can declare that it is in the fresh, spontaneous, free writing experience that you can truly grasp your story. You can argue from here to next week that outlines restrict your creativity, that too much organization is evil and that any finger-wagging instruction that tells you to follow these directions is just there to beat you down. I’d like to suggest that using the basic form of Three Act Structure can actually free you to write a stronger, better, more interesting novel.     Three Act Structure is really just fancy talk for beginning, middle and end. But the difference in semantics means that each…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Inspiration,  Work-In-Progress

    Why You Should Save All Your Writing Gems, Buy Them Champagne & Chocolate & Turn Out The Lights

      I believe every idea is valuable. This is why I have a drawing of a fairy on my bulletin board above my desk. Over a year ago, I was inspired by a flash of an idea involving a fairy, a very small person and a rambling old house. My daughter, because she loves fantasy, drew the fairy and gave it to me. The story idea, which was just a small gem of one, was filed away in Evernote and I rarely think about it. This little fairy and her story aren’t going anywhere. But I’m keeping it anyway. That little idea — along with the one about the romance…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Craft,  Work-In-Progress

    How Thinking Like A Sculptor Can Help You Write Your Novels 

      When I was a new writer, I had a lot of misconceptions of how writers wrote.   I had a mental image of a writer sitting in front of a typewriter with a stack of blank paper next to them. I thought that was how all writers worked. I thought that the first sentence I read in a book was the first sentence that the writer wrote. I thought that the first thought was the best one. I thought that writers had to have everything in their story figured out long before they sat down to write it. I thought writers who were good enough to be published never…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Motivation,  Work-In-Progress

    Neurotic Thoughts On My First Traditionally Published Book (Or The 9 Month Long Battle With Inner Voices)

    In 2014, I wrote and submitted my very first traditionally published book (and you can pre-order it here).  The process of drafting, editing and submitting was nothing less than a constant fight with negative inner voices. I was a mess. But it’s done. And I’ve survived. I’ve written and published a book before, but the first one was self-published. When I self published, I realized I had this huge ocean of grace — all the mistakes, all the decisions, all the vision, all the glaring spelling errors are mine alone. No one else was invested. The stakes were low. I joined the ranks of thousands of other writers who publish their…

  • #Top10Tuesday,  Craft,  Work-In-Progress

    #Top10Tuesday Top Ten Questions To Ask Your Beta Readers

    Beta readers are the best! They are an author’s second readers. I’m guessing, and don’t hold me to it, that the alpha reader is the author himself. God knows YOU’VE read your book enough, right? Good writers use beta readers’ opinions to iron out the story’s wrinkles, find out what’s missing and see what the writer doesn’t see. You can use beta readers early in your writing journey, say, after the first draft. Or you can wait several drafts into it and then let trusted people read it.  Either way, you may find it helpful to give them specific questions to answer about your manuscript. Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is this! #Top10Tuesday…

  • #Top10Tuesday,  Nanowrimo,  Revising and Editing,  Work-In-Progress

    #Top10Tuesday Top Ten Questions To Ask Yourself When You Clean Up Your Nano Project

    Nanowrimo is almost done!! And if you are one of those gold star, overachieving type, you may be wondering what to do with this little project once it’s all over. (This blog will have plenty of advice in December!) But for now, let’s list a few general tips to consider when fine tune that draft. These all have to do with the general story structure and plot –these are big issues. In fact, you can’t do much more with the development of your story until these wrinkles are ironed out. Are you ready to answer some tough questions? (And have a stronger manuscript as a result?) Let’s Go! 1. Does…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Work-In-Progress

    How To Describe An Object And Why It Matters In Your Novel

    It’s pity that I don’t hold murder weapons on my desk. If I did, I could describe them and stick them in my work-in-progress. This is what I do have: I have a cobalt glass heart that I use as a paperweight. My husband’s cousin, Robin gave it to me. It’s been over 15 years since she’s given it to me and I can’t not think of her when I see it. This glass heart could be a weapon if I needed to be. It has little value other than who gave it to me. I also have a lamp, a cardboard coaster from a beer garden in Germany, four…