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…

Centuries Apart – #3

In the first two blogs, I shared information focused on the geographic locations of the story and the general timelines. I told you a bit about the main characters, but I thought you’d like to get to know them a little better. New York City – present day: Jenna Hickson is 32 (an only child),…

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…

The Castle Chose – #2

My novel-in-progress takes place in two, distinct locations and time periods. I’ll use two, significant characters to help explain. Jenna Hickson lives in present-day New York City, and Sophia deKeith is living in 14th century Scotland. You may wonder how there can be a connection between the two, but there is. And… just in case…

Just a Name?

Names are how we identify things – people, places, things, etc. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to concentrate on the names we give to the characters in the stories we write. I have found that choosing a name is quite an undertaking, and it’s one that should not be taken lightly! A…

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…

Shirt Politics

When Jamie and the others set off in Season One to collect the rents, he has no idea that he is about to become a political pawn and unwillingly support Dougal’s Jacobite agenda. Even though Dougal’s speeches are in Gaelic, we (like Claire) catch on to what he’s up to. And to bolster support for…

The Surgery Window

There are times when part of a set becomes a fascinating, compelling part of a story. I noticed the window in the first few episodes of Season One of Outlander and followed it along as it played a captivating role in the dramatic impact of the scene where it appeared. I was struck by how…

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…

Deciphering Dougal

It’s hard to figure out what’s simmering beneath the surface of Dougal’s masked countenance. I thought it would be fun to explore the possibilities in “The Gathering.” At the oath taking, Dougal is the first in line to swear his allegiance to Colum, but it looks more obligatory than anything else. He looks irritated and…

Blogs: This Writer’s Fix

  Blogs are my writing validators. They’re my quick fix. They bolster my belief in my writing ability, and they keep me moving forward, like a couple of Dove chocolates when I’d rather shut off the computer than re-write that scene in my middle-grade novel AGAIN. I currently write two major blogs. The FWA (Florida…

The Story Doesn’t Start at the Beginning

My middle-grade story starts (for the reader) when Emma (my main character), her mother, and her best friend are standing at the imposing entry gates to Moz Hollow. With the first draft complete, I jumped into the second draft.  The scenes were great.  The basic story line was awesome.  But it didn’t feel quite right.  Something…

Trust Me, Emma

Yeah, she did it again.  Emma’s standing in the woods this time, arms crossed in front of her chest, wondering where I’ve been.  She’s a muddy mess and covered in scratches from running through the woods.  She’s not happy about my being gone for as long as I was.  “Where were you?  We were almost…

What Is In Your Attic?

Do you have an attic?  What’s in it? The characters in my middle-grade mystery are lucky – they’re at a Gothic mansion in northern Minnesota and the woman who owns the place is going to bring them up to the attic.  No, she’s not going to lock them up there and leave.  Isabel’s not that…

Don’t Watch Me Write!

Writing, from my perspective, is a solitary endeavor that takes place within the confines of my office. I have two windows that I can stare out of when I’m trying to figure something out or if I’m lost and need to clear my brain for a bit. I hope no one’s looking in. If they…

First Draft – Short, Sweet Celebration!

  Completing the first draft of a story is something to celebrate.  I forged ahead many times when it would be easier to “Select All”, “Delete,” and watch a Netflix movie.  Or go out with friends.  Or have a nap.  I created a beginning, middle, and end.  I did the “Yes!” cheer and gesture like…

Delightful Devices

Writers refer to them as devices.  They are things you use for various reasons in a story, depending on what you need them to do.  In my middle-grade mystery, I’m plucking them from here and there, inserting them into my story, and giving them a job to do. My devices fulfill more than one purpose. …

Huckleberry Heart’s first two chapters!

My chapter book, Huckleberry Heart, won a first place Royal Palm Literary Award at the Florida Writer’s Association’s annual banquet last night. Chapter books are geared for children 6-8 years old.  These stories are two-fold:  they are read to youngsters who then learn to read them on their own and hopefully to others. Here are…

Striking a Balance

I like strong, female characters. I am one. I can mix cement, handle a chainsaw, and shingle a roof. I want my main character Emma to be able to do the same if the situation presents itself. I also want her to be a feminine, young lady who will grow up to be a confident, self-assured…

Becoming a Heroine

The main character in the middle-grade mystery I’m writing doesn’t know it, yet, but she’s about to become a heroine.  Not right now, not exactly at the point of the story where I am, but she will be one when the story ends.  Right now, she’s just a “regular kid” having some adventures and finding…

The Clue About Clues

  I’m pretty clueless (yes, pun intended).  I’m writing my first middle-grade mystery.  I know for certain you can’t solve a mystery without clues.  Now comes the tricky part. How many clues do you plant?  Do they all have to lead somewhere, or can you have some that dead end?  How soon in the story…

About Cemeteries

I had to get into my middle-grade mind when I wrote a scene for my current work-in-progress about visiting a cemetery.  I thought about cemeteries I visited at that age – one that is most vivid in my memory is Round Lake cemetery, not far from our lake cabin.  My sister and next-cabin friends hiked…