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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Where is This Going, Anyway?

There are times where I need to write, and I have no idea where the inspiration is going to come from. What I have learned from these short pieces, is that they’re about so much more than what I thought or originally intended. I’ll provide a couple of examples – you can read the entire…

A Font Experiment

This post was drafted in Times New Roman, 12 point font. It’s pretty much the industry standard/requirement for writers. I understand the need for ease of reading and a sense of conformity, but I wanted to conduct a little experiment of my own regarding fonts for other uses. Fonts are very powerful images, like the…

When You Have to Kill Someone

Let’s clarify something right away. I’m talking about killing in our story. Please don’t call the cops or report me to the FBI. I don’t want to go to prison or be added to the no-fly list. Now that we’ve that put to rest, I want to tell you how hard it was for me…

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.

The Once-Maligned Character Template

In my college Creative Writing class, we were given a template to complete before we started writing our stories. It was basically a fact sheet – things I needed to know about my character before I wrote my first word. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever. I wanted to write my story…

Unlocking the Secrets of a Series

The middle-grade mystery that began its life as a tiny glimmer of an idea is finally done (I’m pretty sure). You know how it goes – just one more tweak here, change a word there. But at this point, I’m hitting the ‘save’ button one last time and calling it done. Now, what do I…

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…

Changing Hats

It was bound to happen, sooner or later. That time when the writer hat(s) comes off, and is replaced by marketing headgear of some sort. I wore lots of fun, functional hats while writing in the world of Emma and crew: bobble hat, baseball cap, hoodie (is that considered a hat?), crash helmet, and a deerstalker,…

Dinner Rolls and Writing

  I’m ready to create something delicious and memorable, something people will remember for a long time, and want to enjoy again, and again. I pull out my recipe (trusty plot clock template), and list all of the ingredients I need for a successful and engaging outcome: ordinary world, binding point, low point, turning point,…

The Moose Stays

  The setting for my middle grade mystery is northern Minnesota. There was no doubt in my mind that a moose had to play a part, had to be in the story somewhere. If you’ve ever lived in, or visited northern Minnesota, you’ll know that the décor usually reflects the breathtaking natural environment and the…

Juggling Paper in a Parallel Universe

The first ideas drafted for my middle-grade novel were done via pencil and lined tablet. Once I settled in front of my computer, I entered a delusional state where I believed the document on my screen would be the only one I’d need to worry about for the rest of this story’s creation. In my college…

Creative Efficiency and Rubber Bands

Think big, think small. Imagine the entire story, but don’t forget the smallest of details.  Sometimes my mind feels like a rubber band, stretching to its outer limit while remaining stationary and focused.  As a writer, I have to be able to do both. The first draft of my story is complete in all of…

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…

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. …

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…

Details – How Much is Too Much?

Details play a huge role in any story.  The reader learns who the main character is, where he/she came from, what happens, and finally, how it ends.  With the first sentence you write, the reader is provided with bits and pieces of information that draws them into the story. So how much detail do you…