Sunday, May 3


Recently I read Wild Mind, Living the Writer's Life, by Natalie Goldberg.  It's a book you'll need to read more than once. Possibly use as a reference to remind yourself to take ten minutes and free write.

MS Goldberg  explains steps to become a fluid and bold writer, which she refers to as writing practice. Unlike journal writing which is personal, writing practice frees your mind and pulls out your passions silencing your monkey brain, (inner critic).

When first beginning to free write you may be stumped where to start.  Her suggestions are to begin with I remember, or I'm thinking of, or I want, I don't want, I feel or don't feel. There are many ways to begin. Soon words begin toppling from your mind onto paper (or computer screen) like someone pushed that first domino.

There are a few rules:

1. Keep your pen moving. (in the case of computer your fingers.) However, I find it freeing to write with pen and paper.

2. Don't hold back anything. Whatever pops into that writerly brain get it down.

3. Be specific. Name the car, fruit or bird.


5. No punctuation. (however, I have a hard time with this one.)

6. You are free to write garbage. (YAY!)

7. Go for it.

There is much more guidance in her book. You can purchase it here:

B & N        Amazon

Now set your timer for ten minutes. GO!

Wednesday, May 30

Log-Line, splain it to me in 25 words or less

                                                        photo from findstuff22

Composing a sentence in 25 words or less is a great way to procrastinate writing your novel. It certainly has helped me put off writing more than ten times.

Let’s try and analyze this. A log-line, elevator pitch, and premise are all names given to this most difficult string of words I’ve tried to write.

Describe your story in twenty-five words or less. Huh?

First we must understand this sentence consists of the hero, the antagonist, both preceded by adjectives, and a conflict that your hero finds himself in. 

You could compose this sentence before you start writing, and it would be the premise of your story. Using what if? What if a short teen has to battle a tall man over who has the most guts? Bad example, but still. Are they actually battling about bloody innards or do they both have a need to be braver than the other? The writer knows, but what if the reader doesn’t. The reader plops down a twenty to purchase thinking it is about a contest to win a trophy when in actuality really is about bloody guts. However, if it’s your premise, than you are the only one who has to understand the sentence.

The thing is the only time you will really need to use this sentence is at a live conference. In case you run into an agent in an elevator or bathroom stall. Perhaps during a scheduled meeting with an actual agent, you will want to be able to state what your story is about with eloquence.

But, if you’re like me, you’re never going to meet an agent or editor in person. So quit procrastinating and just write. If you don’t believe me, click on Ms. Reid’s Query Shark and read what she has to say about a log-line in a query letter. Scroll down the page, she made me say ahhh.

Besides that log-line is only what the outer perimeter of your story is about. What your story is really about is the character arc of your hero. But that’s another post. 

So, here's my latest:

When her guardian is abducted by a vengeful ghost, a psychic teen must escape from Social Services and battle the evil presence, her father.

Yeah, I know. It sucks.

Monday, May 7

Story Structure and Misnomers?

     The pic above are books I own on the craft. Of course, I also have some on my Nook:
The Writer's Compass by Nancy Ellen Dodd
Write Great Fiction by James Scott Bell
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
The Anatomy of Story by John Truby
Outlining Your Novel by K. M. Weiland
Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff

...and several others. But these are the ones on structure.
     Must be many writer's stories lack structure with all the blogs I've read recently seem to be talking about it. Larry Brooks blog is about his seven competencies you need to write, although it seems structure is a big part of it. In the next few weeks he's going to break down Hunger Games for us. K. M. Weiland has just finished a series on structure on her blog Wordplay. It's a great series, I recommend reading it.
     Some instruct us referring to the three acts, others call it the beginning, middle and end. Some even divide the middle into two parts. Probably because the middle is the longest and everyone seems to agree on that. Then there's terminology, hook, inciting incident, point of no return, rising action, mid-point, climax, and denouement. To name a few. Some refer to the hook as the inciting incident. The inciting incident could be the point of no return, which means you need a hook at the beginning to keep readers reading. So the hook and the inciting incident must be separate and not the same. Its a wonder most of us would like to throw it all out the window.
     John Truby talks about 22 steps. He thinks the three act structure is too simplistic, albeit easy to understand. Three acts, in his opinion, will make your story boring and have no depth.
     I'm not saying not to educate oneself by reading any of these fine specimens. Just keep an open mind. Try not to get too hung up on terminology. And when you're ready to dive into that tray of cupcakes, write. Because the only way any of us is going to learn is to write. So here's a link to Joe Bunting at the Write Practice because that's what his blog is all about.


Saturday, April 9

Jack-in-the-Box Suspense

Everyone talks about tension in a novel, it’s what keeps a reader flipping the page or scanning along on their e-reader. Tension is suspense. It isn’t mystery. Mystery happens after the deed.  Suspense happens before. As in who kidnapped the CEO’s daughter, opposed to threats to kidnap her.

I liken suspense to the Jack-in-the-Box my brother received for Christmas one year.(Yup, it’s the one pictured, it was back in the 50’s) Ever since that red haired, evil jumped out of his box to the tune of round the mulberry bush, my brother hated clowns.

Turn that crank so the tune plays and the clown jumps out to scare the crap out of any kid. We know he’s gonna pop, so we turn the crank one plink at a time, poised on our knees, necks strained, eyes squinty. One plink, two plink, keep going. You know he’ll scare you but just maybe this time we’ll hear the click before he bursts into your face waving back and forth with lipstick smeared all over his mouth. Every time he wins.

When writing suspense we want the reader to feel he’s in the scene. It’s important to set it up using the senses. The touch of the doorknob, creak of the door, scent of a rotting corpse, shadows in corners, and then plink, plink, plink.

Want to read more? Here are some links:

Saturday, March 12

Nook VS Book and Clarity by Kim Harrington

Click here to see how I made my cover.
Don't get me wrong, I love my nook. It fits in my purse and is easy to take to the laundromat.

Also, it was easy to add my documents or e-books in pdf format to my nook to read away from my computer. The online classes I'm taking with Bob Mayer and Savvy Authors can be transferred to my nook for reading later.

I love downloading books from Barnes and Noble in a couple of minutes, such fun.

But when I received Clarity, by Kim Harrington in the mail,
it has a dust jacket. Not just a cover, it's beautiful. The
raised letters of the title, the girl with striking blue eyes,
her red hair, sunbursts on her face. Breathtaking.

I see posts all over the internet, how excited authors
and readers are over the graphics for a novel. It's
something that gets the reader excited, it invites you
to open the pages. (The title wasn't available as an
e-book when I preordered, but now I see it is.)

                                                                            I removed the dust cover. The book is purple with indented title and on the spine the letters are raised and printed in gold.

Yes, there is something about holding a book in your hands, it's romantic. I'm in love.

By the way, I loved the story inside. Clarity is a wonderful character. She does things I wish I had the nerve to do. But seems in the end we may see Clarity in the future.

Monday, February 28

My first award

On February 20th I was surprised and honored by Margo Lerwill, Urban Psychopomp with a Blog Award! My first one. I'm so excited. It has taken me awhile to brag, but I am honored.
This award comes with instruction on sharing. And here they are:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. (Thank you,Margo!)
2. Share four guilty pleasures that you have.
3. Pass the award on to six other blogs.

Number 2-- Four guilty pleasures:
                   1. American Idol. Not even my kids dare to call me during the show unless they want to talk about what's happening...on the show, nothing else.
                   2. Popcorn: I always eat popcorn while watching American Idol. Oh and sometimes I even eat it for dinner.
                   3. I love to be alone. Maybe its a strange thing, but after raising 4 kids, I think I deserve some alone time.
                   4. A good book. I will read till its finished. Don't interrupt me, and you can't eat till I'm hungry. 

Number 3--The six blogs I'd like to recognize, okay other than Urban Psychopomp

The Grammar Divas by Darlene Buchholz and Annie Oortman
The Ending Unplanned by Rachel Harris

Meadow of Words by Meadow

Old Farmhouse Cooking by the OFG Team.....Hey a writer's gotta eat.

Friday, January 21


A scene is where the action is.

Growing up in the 50's and 60's we all wanted to be where the action was. How many cool scenes had nothing of significance only that it was a groovy place to be?

Scenes in a novel need to have pertinence to the story and plot. If your protagonist is having a great time and lots of action but not one bit of new information or she's grooving at a stand still, get it out of your manuscript.

A scene has a beginning middle and end. It incorporates character, POV, action, dialogue, plot, and conflict.

It's important to ground your reader at the beginning where the hero is and what POV (if there's more than one) the reader is viewing through.

In the middle, conflict and drama take place. This is where it should get hairy. A complication that causes a struggle for your hero.

The end will give your reader a reason to keep reading. Whether it's bits of information about the plot or a cliff hanger leaving her not able to turn the page fast enough.

To read more, I love Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld.