Stuck? What Next?

I think we’ve all been there.  There’s a point in the novel where you get stuck. Computer-Guy-300px 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

Escape Your Writing Distractions

book by MargoLike 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

Twisted History: Playing the “What If” Game

TwistMost 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

Writer’s Problem: Timelines

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

FLASH ! FREE Scrivener Webinar, Thursday, May 21, 2015

scrivener coach“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,scrivener logo 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

The Fat Lady Sings (Again) – to Beat Sheets

CORRECTION: The wonderful Jami Gold has made a correction to this post. Although a number of “Beat Sheets” below are attributed to different authors, they were actually created by Jami herself. She’s drawn from the teachings of Larry Brooks, Michael Hauge, etc. to assemble them, hence their names. The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet was created by Elizabeth Davis. Confused yet?  Don’t worry. All will become clear as you read further.
Two other suggestions from Jami: first, she recommends this link for her Scrivener Beat Sheet: jamigold.com/2013/12/can-we-use-beat-sheets-with-scrivener . And second, she provides a “clearinghouse” link for all Beat Sheets

Making Up History

I’m busily writing a series of cozy mysteries called The Endurance Mysteries. The first book, Three May Keep a Secret [2014], introduced Grace Kimball, her friends and their small Midwest town of Endurance. In the second book, which will be out next year, one of Grace’s friends buys a Victorian home that is falling apart. This friend wants to restore it to its 1880’s splendor. Because of this plot decision, I had to create a history for this house. Grace researches its history for newspaper articles in the Endurance Register. I had a lot of fun creating a background for… Continue reading

Internet Resources, Take 2

Last month, I wrote about some of the more interesting places I’ve recently visited for research purposes. Well, I’ve been at it again, this time starting with “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself into Print” by Renni Browne and Dave King. This gem of a book was hiding in full sight among the1200 or so volumes currently eating my Kindle alive. (Note to Self: Serious Housecleaning Needed ASAP.)

self-editing book coverOnce I started the Browne/King book, I literally couldn’t put it down. The advice is so well… Continue reading

Surprising Writing Resources

When I think of my writing resources, the first thing that pops into my mind is the Internet. I’m constantly online looking for the information I need, from names for my characters to the latest in dart guns.

Today, I’m following a suggestion that I write about non-digital resources that make my writing life easier. Well, that stopped me. Not digital? What else is there?

I can hear the groaning ghosts of writers past. “Somehow, we managed, and quite successfully.”

Of course they did. As did I not too many years ago. As a matter of fact… Continue reading

Strategies for 2015

I began drafting this blog post with the intention to write about my plans for 2015, but then I started thinking about how making plans doesn’t mean that they will work out at all.

Trite sayings like “best laid plans of mice and men”, “God laughs when we make plans”, etc., etc., popped into my head.  I’m not sure why I am hesitating to make plans for this year because I’ve always believed that to realize dreams, goals have to be set; and to reach goals, plans must be made.

I’ve never been an overly obsessive planner despite… Continue reading