Rejections and Reviews

You did the hard work. You dreamed, plotted, wrote, and edited the story within you that needed to be told. Then you did more hard work – writing that query letter. Some think it’s more of a challenge than writing the book itself! I’m inclined to agree. Query letters and blurbs will be the death…

Captivate With Color

There are so many senses in which to immerse readers, and color plays a huge role in getting readers to feel like they’re right there in your story. In order to get the most out of each visual description, bust out that color palette and have some fun! Go Beyond the Obvious Sure, her dress…

Of Things Lost

If you’re a writer who has unexpectedly lost hard-won sentences, paragraphs, or drafts to the electronic technology demons, you know all too well the chest-clenching feeling of panic and heartbreaking loss that comes with a file that will not open or the fatal error message that signals whatever you’ve written is forever doomed to orbit…

Writers on Vacation

Even the most passionate, dedicated writer needs a break. Perhaps you’re in between projects, feel a bit bogged down by the process, or don’t have a clue where the plot of your story is headed. A vacation is a good way to step away from the writing process and give your mind a well-deserved respite….

Deadlines

Deadlines. We all have them, and probably chafe in varying degrees when they approach. Work-related deadlines, bill-paying deadlines, and the days of the week that the trash needs to be set out at the curb (yeah, that’s a deadline, too). Some are more constrictive than others, and some we can ignore or procrastinate about a…

Two at a Time

A writer’s mind rarely rests. If a writer isn’t in front of the computer, their brain is most likely composing, editing, or solving a plot problem. It’s more than enough for a mind to manage if there’s just one story floating around, but what happens if another one steps in and tugs at your sleeve?…

Secrets to a Series

Our first book was never written with the intent of becoming part of a series, but the characters had other ideas. They weren’t done telling their story, so (for my part) I had to figure out a way to keep it all straight going forward. Along the way, I’ve seen other writers voice the challenges…

The Inevitable Low Point

There’s no getting around it. Every successful story has to have a low point – the place where it all goes wrong, and there’s little hope in sight. Is there any point in struggling on? Highly doubtful, probably not. It would be so much easier at this point to give up and let whatever is…

Making Old New

With social distancing and sequestering still high on the priority ladder, it might be a good time to dig through the closet/flash drive and unearth that writing project you’ve been meaning to finish or thought was so bad that it was beyond repair. Dust Them Off! Pull those unfinished projects out and see which one…

New Year Writing Strategies

It’s the new year, and people are thinking about resolutions, changing their lives, and expanding their horizons. Those are great goals to aspire and work toward. I’ve even been working on a few of my own in various parts of my life. Then I wondered how I could apply those lofty ideas to my writing….

Story as Shopping

When I go to the grocery store, I like to have a list in hand. It helps me stay on track and (most of the time) keeps me from veering off into the chip/snack/candy aisle for something I don’t really need. That being said, I like to give myself the freedom to explore the “off…

The Great Balancing Act

It’s a tricky business, writing. A writer wants, and needs, to write. If only life were that simple. These days, a writer has to be so much more…editor, formatter, agent, marketer, webmaster, publicist, and many times a publisher. The days of writing a story and handing it off (so you can get started on the…

Invisible Masks

October, 2020. Not only is it the month of Halloween, it’s also October in the midst of a pandemic. Hence, the wearing of masks. For fun. Or not. The news, shopping sites, and the world of social media is flooded with all things mask-related. In light of the bombardment, I seized the opportunity to put…

Through the Door

If you’re a writer, it’s bound to happen. You’re in one of those treasured sweet spots where your story is all but writing itself! Then, without warning, it’s over, and you’re up against it. Now what? There is a way forward, a way to emerge victorious and keep your characters doing what they need to…

Dog Day Rescue

In the dog days of summer, it’s tempting to want to relax a bit and let your story drift along on its own. Like you (perhaps) imagining yourself floating aimlessly on an inner tube on a lake somewhere – right? Trouble is, those scenes are going to read like they’ve succumbed to the summer heat…

I’ve Never Been There!

The world you create for your readers has to be a place they can picture in their minds. It has to be believable, even if it’s a fantasy world. It’s like a base camp; your reader needs to be able to settle there and feel comfortable as they acquaint themselves with the characters you create…

It’s All in the Details!

Details breathe life into a story. The senses are awakened and heightened, transporting the reader into the world created by the writer. But there’s another, powerful purpose to small details that brings an added dimension to a story. Don’t Overdo If you choose to give an enhanced role to a small detail, choose wisely and…

Weaving the Backstory

When you write a series, you hope your readers will start the journey as you did – with the first book. That may not always be the case. Readers may pick up a book midway through the series or find one out of sequence that grabs their attention. As a writer, it’s your challenge to…

Research, Your BFF!

If you’re going to write a credible story that your readers will want to invest in, it must be believable. And to be believable, you have to research, research, research! I know it can be tedious, and I sometimes wonder if readers would notice if something is a little “off.” Trust me, they will! There…

Valentines – Give and Get?

February is the month of love – Valentine’s Day and all. I listened as a mother told me she had to deliver valentines for the entire class at her daughter’s school. That got me to thinking about my own school days and the fact that we didn’t give valentines to everyone. It was a life…

Hurricanes and Rowboats

It’s a feeling I am familiar with. Anyone who’s finished writing a story might feel the same. I felt lost, like I was adrift in a boat with no oars or motor. The story had come to an end, but this time it was magnified. It was the end of a series – the cumulative…

Resolutions, Anyone?

New Year’s resolutions have been around forever, it seems. A fresh start. A clean slate. A new chance to get it right. I have my own, personal resolutions but I thought it would be fun to think about resolutions for me, the writer. Perhaps they’ll strike a chord with you. Give Your Story a Home…

Co-Author Magic

At the many writing conferences and workshops I’ve attended over the years, I’ve heard about writers who collaborate on a variety of projects, and I always wondered how it worked. It seemed to be a rare, hushed process that took place under mysterious, obscure conditions. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d…

Conquering the Messy Middle

We’ve all heard of (and endured) the “messy middle” of a story. When I get there, I start to feel fatigued; perhaps my characters do, too. They also seem uncertain, hesitant, and fearful of what’s to come. They hold back with good reason – the middle of my stories contains the low point, and what’s…

Don’t Diss the Details

I love a story with details. I think they have the power to bring a story to life, make it believable, and put the reader right where you want them – hooked, immersed, and with the feeling that they are actually there with your characters. But I would caution against meaningless detail. You want those…

Too Much Sighing

  Writers know that emotion is an important part of a story. It draws the reader in and gets them invested in what is happening. It allows them to become emotionally attached to the characters (good or bad) and either cheer them on or applaud their demise. Just a Sigh… There are passages in my…