I think we’ve all been there. There’s a point in the novel where you get stuck. Nothing’s working or you just can’t see what’s next. For plotters, this may be a place where you have the outline but whatever is supposed to come next doesn’t seem quite right. For pantsers, it’s the same thing except we might not know what the next beat or plot point is.
What to do? There are a lot of different ideas on this. You can try to power through it. I’ve never found that… Continue reading
I’ve been waiting for the right time and perfect subject to write a robust blog post, one fitting for both starting the New Year and resurrecting the blog. I should know by now that this is akin to waiting for the muse to appear when you’re writing your manuscript – it ain’t gonna happen.
So from now on except shorter, less formal, blog posts from me.
Have you ever wondered whether or not the books you read have names, places, or happenings that are actually personal to the author? It’s like thinking about songs that you loved and wondering how they came to be written and what they mean to the composer.
While only my first mystery novel, Three May Keep a Secret, is actually published, I have two more coming down the runway. The second, Marry in Haste, will be out June 22, 2016, and the third is done except for the last chapter… Continue reading
I’ve always liked stories about lawyers and the law, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” starting me off in a big way in childhood. Being from the South, the book has always had a special resonance with me, and, really, who doesn’t love Atticus Finch — or Gregory Peck?
Now that I’m writing my own novels, I’ve learned to appreciate lawyerly books – and movies and TV — even more, not just as pure entertainment but also as little instruction manuals on how to tell rich and satisfying tales, no matter the… Continue reading
Like many of my friends and compadres, I have a wish list. Right up there at the top is beloved, prize-winning novelist. Yes, beloved. I want my readers to love me. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen unless I publish a novel.
I do have a finished manuscript that is crying to be heard. All I have to do is tweak it–a lot. How hard could that be?
My writing day goes something like this. I pull up my manuscript and begin to read, trying to get… Continue reading
I’d like to add to the often quoted phrase that “we are what we eat.” I also think “we are what we read and sometimes write.”
In 2005, when the idea of writing a book first appeared in my head, I decided to start with a memoir. Looking back, that made sense. Start with what you know, right? My book, The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks), is a piece of my heart. I’d spent thirty-four years teaching high school English in a small town… Continue reading
Most story plots are based on previously written fiction or our own history. Writers love to reach out and give the past a little twist, playing the “what if” game in the hopes of creating ideas unique enough to propel their story onto the best seller lists. You see “what if” all the time in Science Fiction where the ordinary and known world is flipped upside down. The lure of Science Fiction is the possibility that what you’re reading might actually materialize in the future. We readers are fascinated and disturbed at the… Continue reading
At a recent panel at a local writer’s meeting, one author talked about the challenges of writing a historical novel. I didn’t think it applied to my current day novel but I found that there were a lot of the resources that could be helpful for me as well.
The first was creating a timeline, which I also do. This provides the backbone of an historical novel. However, in any novel, keeping up with what day something happened and how the time works is important. For the historical novel, it also includes people who you might meet at particular… Continue reading
As a fairly new mystery writer, I didn’t know about the various conferences held all over the country for authors of mysteries, thrillers, suspense, noir, or various other mystery genres. This spring I went to my first conference, Malice Domestic, which is a fan/author conference, usually taking place in Bethesda, Maryland, at the Hyatt Regency. Held May 1-3, it drew 600 writers and fans from all parts of the country and from abroad. I had a marvelous time and met many of my fellow writers and… Continue reading
“How To Use Scrivener to Write, Organize, & Export Your Book into Various Formats for Printing, Editing, & Publishing”
Thursday, May 21, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time
I’m a great proponent of Scrivener, the “writing” program that lets you organize, format and export your finished work. Scrivener, in beta form, came along at a time when I was tearing my hair out trying to get control of my first novel. For me, as… Continue reading