Better Questions This Time Around

Better Questions This Time Around

I’ve pretty much spent the last year in picture-book revision mode–before the Big Sur workshop to get ready and after the workshop to integrate the feedback I got.  I’m sending these stories through my new critique group and then using their comments for yet more revision. But, as I submit to the group and wait […]

The Problem with Endings

You’re writing along. Things are good. You’ve got a sweet, but not perfect protagonist developing, the supporting cast is strong, and you’ve hit the funny bone in some of the right places. You’re happy, you’re feeling like…oh, yeah, I’m a writer! Basically, that first draft was a: And then you get to the end. The […]

Why Start Writing? Sometimes, Just to Get to the Questions.

I started a new project yesterday. Voices: You what?! You have a picture book to revise. You have a YA novel to just figure out. There’s that other picture book that’s just sitting there in first-draft stasis! What were you thinking?! Me: Oh, hush. Yes, despite all the reasons not to, I opened up a […]

The End. AKA..Whoa, What Now?

I’m a little bit happy. And I’m a little bit scared. And I’m VERY kind, because I am NOT inserting a video of Donny &  Marie singing I’m a Little Bit Country. You’re welcome. So…I just finished the first draft of my WIP. 209 pages. 40 scenes. A whole heckuva lot of unknowns. I’ve had […]

The End is (Possibly) in Sight

Report: The 1st draft of my historical YA  is moving along. Quickly. Okay, not that quickly. Individual scenes are not zooming along, not flying from my fingers in a state of loveliness. Hardly. Let’s say I’m seriously channeling Anne Lamott these days. It does feel like I could, if I wanted, count out the number […]

A Little Light at the End of the First-Draft Tunnel

If you’ve been following along, you may know that I’ve been writing the first draft of this WIP a little differently than my “usual” style.  Oh, I plotted…way back sometime in what feels as distant and obscure as the Dark Ages. And, in essence, I’m sending my MC through the places and some of the […]

Sometimes Progress is Little Steps

When I first started working on this WIP (which really needs a working title!), I read Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel (my review here) and spent a chunk of time with his workbook of the same name. In the course of doing some of the workbook exercises, I wrote a few actual scenes–trying to get […]

Five Writing Things I’ve Thought about This Week

1. Letting the first draft be the wind-up draft, knowing that the action/big stuff is stating way late in the story. Imagining myself borrowing my husband’s HUGE new shopvac and just SUCKING that slow, padding away in the next revision. 2. Reactions. When something happens in a story, the characters–ESPECIALLY the point of view character–has […]

Loosening the Reins

We all know what Anne Lamott says… “The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.” Working on it, Anne! But here’s the thing. She also says this: The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it […]

First Draft: Peopling the World or Who ARE These Characters?

WARNING: You’ll be getting a lot of posts about first drafts in the next few months. But don’t worry, those revision posts will be coming along after that! My friend Jana McBurney-Lin talks about a character in her book My Half of the Sky who came out of nowhere. I think, if I remember right, it’s […]