Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Mary Buckham teaches on-line writing classes but if you prefer reading a book, here it is! She and Dianna Love have written Break Into Fiction, 11 Steps to Building a Story that Sells.. I received it from Amazon today and I look forward to reading it.

The testimonial on the front cover states that this book "determines whether your book will bring a check or a rejection slip". The Table of Contents has two chapter titles that have hooked me: "Power Openings: Grab Them by the Throat" and "Dialogue: It's More Than Talking Heads".

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pacing's Part in Plot

We all know what the plot of the story is and we know we should pay attention to the pacing, but sometimes pacing isn't our focus or how to pace optimally isn't clear.

What helped me to keep pacing's part in plot on my mind is to think of the story as a road trip or an adventure. I read something like that somewhere and recently in my rewrite of Hada ,I've been searching for the most effective way to pace her story. Anyway, getting back to the trip idea...

Plot is the road map of our story, and pacing is the characters' movement on that road.

If the characters get bogged down in a back story ditch or a too-long-dialogue bump or a description boulder on the highway, readers might put the book down and might not pick it up again.

To keep those pages turning, we can lead the reader up hills, through the forest, and all the way to Grandmother's house with good pacing.

Take a look at your work-in-progress (WIP) and think about pacing. What makes pacing successful?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Learn a word a day will send you a new word a day or a week or for as often as you want via email. Great way for a writer to increase vocabulary for "fresh" writing. Here is a sample:

bombinate \BOM-buh-nayt\, intransitive verb:

To buzz; to hum; to drone.

Sometimes the computer bombinates way into the night, stops for a bit of rest, then resumes its hum at the early hours of the morning.
-- Cheryl Glenn and Robert J. Connors, New St. Martins Guide to Teaching Writing

Sunday, May 10, 2009


On Mother's Day, I made a pot of Good Earth tea and the message on the string tab said, "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." Hmm...could be a good writing prompt.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Book Signing

Friday night a member of my critique group and I went to a book signing at Rakestraw Books in Danville. Ellen Gelles talked about and read from her new book, Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage.

What was most astounding to me was that Ellen has researched and written about Abigail Adams for thirty years. She read all the letters Abigail and John wrote to each other when he was abroad for a long time during their marriage. Ellen wrote three books about Abigail with different women's issues focused in each one. Can you imagine thirty years?

Friday, May 8, 2009


After editing up to Chapter 14 of my novel, Hada, I'm back to polishing the first three chapters. Donald Maass's book (actually, it is a workbook), Writing the Breakout Novel, is packed full of information and gave me new ideas to rework Hada from the beginning. This is my second year of editing Hada and I still discover new ways to deepen the chapters.

Chris Baty of NaNoWriMo fame, says he enjoys editing just as much as creating the first draft. I do too.

Did you know that Author Dean Koontz averages forty reviews/revisions per page?
I'm not counting.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Writing Groups

At the Salinas Writers Conference last August, I won a free critique for the first three chapters of my novel, Hada, from Becky Levine, who is a free lance editor. She has a book out now that is called The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide. In an excerpt I read from her book, she compares building members for a writing group to cooking and adding spices. If you aren't careful about adding personalities into the critique recipe, you could have a spice that is too bitter or two sweet and it is hard to remove a spice already put into a dish.

The writing group I'm in had that problem not too long ago. It was a very difficult situation because the person did not have the experience in writing as we were led to believe. In the future we decided to interview a person and ask them for a writing sample. Agreement by all present members must be unanimous to include a new member.

Becky has many suggestions and as far as I know her book on critique groups is one of a kind right now. If you are interested in building a critique group or adding to one you are already in, I think her book would be worth buying.