Baking for a Baker – #14

Jenna’s an average baker. Nothing too fancy or complicated works for her. And she doesn’t really need to do much baking because Jim’s Bakery is downstairs from her apartment. Jim and his wife Rosa are of the same Slovakian descent as Jenna, and they’ve pretty much adopted her as their own since Jenna’s parents live…

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…

The Shawl – #13

What do you do when something as seemingly unimportant as a shawl materializes in your mind and tells you it has a part to play in your story? It not only knows the place, it shows you. It leads you to the exact scene, and as it settles in, tells you of its significance going…

A Man Appears – #6

Finally! There’s a man from our time on the page! I knew someone of the male gender needed to show up in Jenna’s time, but I wasn’t sure exactly when it would happen. As it turned out, Thomas Keith found just the right moment to make an appearance. I’ll tell you what I can about…

Storm Prep – #5

Whatever world the characters in a story inhabit, there has to be some sort of atmosphere surrounding them. There has to be weather in the world where they live, and it has to be more than, “It was a dark, stormy night.” Although, I’m about to tell you about that very thing:  a dark, stormy…

Dream Worlds – #4

I just finished writing a scene where Jenna has a dream, and it got me thinking about the many ways I could use this dream (and perhaps others) to provide you with clues, foreshadow events to come, and let you see things that Jenna herself isn’t aware of – yet. Some things may not make…

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…

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…

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…

This Writer’s Toolbox

Writing is a process of total immersion into the world around me. It is not limited to the actual task of writing – pen, paper, computer, etc. To create a believable and inviting world for readers, I must first create one for myself, as a writer. I create this world by seeking out and using…

Broken Promises

She spoke softly with a mix of sadness and anger. I couldn’t see her face, but sensed the tears filling her eyes and felt them spill onto the Earth. “You gave me your word; that you would not let harm come to her. You promised to care for and nurture her.” “I did what I…

Trust Your Inner Voice

Every writer welcomes and treasures those times when the writing comes easy. The scenes pretty much write themselves – all you have to do is put your hands on the keyboard and they settle themselves into your story with ease and grace. What happens when that inner voice guiding you goes silent and the writing…

Mixing It Up

I have evolved as a writer in that I need (not want) to write every day. It’s woven itself into the fabric of my very being. If I find the day slipping by and I haven’t written in one form or another, unease and guilt seeps into my soul. To relieve my self-imposed angst and…

Story As Tree

Now that spring has arrived (for the most part), I thought it would be interesting, and hopefully of some help, to create an analogy between a story and a tree. I think it will work; I’m exploring as I write, so hang in there with me and we’ll see where this thing goes. Before any…

Chocolate Sampling

There are those who say it’s bad manners to take a bite of a chocolate candy and put it back in the box. I would respond by buying them their own box, because those partially eaten chocolates have a role to play when it comes to my writing. Sure, there might be a guide on…

Story Sandwich

Can you think of your story as a sandwich? Have I lost my mind? Probably. But it’s been a while since breakfast. Let’s think about the two pieces of bread as the beginning and end of your story. They need to be appealing, satisfying, and somewhat sturdy if they are going to support whatever fillings…

Plot Police Raid

I’m in the zone. I know just what needs to happen in this particular scene, and it’s practically writing itself. As I type away with a satisfied grin on my face, the Plot Police burst through the door and stop me dead in my celebratory tracks. “Halt! Hold it right there!” the tall, handsome one…