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…

Castle Dreams

I don’t remember how old I was (early elementary, probably), but the day is clear and vivid in my memory. After sledding with friends, I changed into dry clothes and spent the rest of the afternoon in my room next to the heat register with a book I could not put down. The book? Grimms’…

Just a Pile of Leaves

  I took this image of a carpet of autumn leaves years ago. I love it for many artistic reasons, but I thought it would be fun to apply the various components of this image to some of the aspects of the creative writing process. It’s a pleasant scattering of leaves, in different angles, layers,…

A Place to Dream

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately, spending hours anywhere between 9000 and 35,000 feet above the Earth. While most of the passengers connect to their electronic devices and stare at the screen in the seatback, I look out the window and dream. I can go anywhere I want – where this plane is…

I’m Glad I Love Research

  I’m fully immersed in my story. I’m in “the zone,” typing madly, but this story is practically writing itself. Then one of my characters hands another a cup of tea (insert sound of screeching brakes). Wait! Did they have tea in 13th century Scotland? Turns out they didn’t. Change tea to honeyed milk. As…

What’s in a Name?

How do you decide on a name for the fictional characters you write about? I thought about my own process of choosing names – it varies, and it’s complicated.

An Unlikely Muse

What’s a muse, and does every creative person have one? I thought having a muse was something reserved for the ancient Greeks, but I was wrong (thank goodness!). Then I wondered – would it be possible for me to have a muse? I didn’t think so, but imagine my surprise when I realized I already…

Cut Me Some Slack

No, not you. It’s a message to me, from me, granting permission to step away from the computer screen, to let my brain rest, and mull a plot point over in my brain while I sweep the driveway. Several drafts in, and I’m again at a pivotal point in my story – the Turning Point….

The Pinocchio Phenomenon

It started out as a gathering of ideas, a list of characters, and a setting. Happenings on paper that would become a work of fiction. But as my story evolved, the characters, settings, and events became more real to me than I ever imagined possible. I learned about my characters as my story progressed, but…

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…

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…

Thinking About Nothing – In One Sentence

Before our critique sessions we normally have a bit of quiet so that we can de-compress and bring ourselves back to ourselves and some sense of sanity and one thing I remember Jamie saying is that from time-to-time we should think about nothing which I have tried to do since she recommended it and the…