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Editors Don’t Revise

Editors Don’t Revise

Editors are amazing. (Yes, I may be biased, seeing that I am one.) But editors have their limits. A good editor—whether they’re a freelance editor your hire or one that works for your publisher—is there to help you make your book the best that it can be. But they...

What’s at Stake?

What’s at Stake?

Are the stakes of your story enough to get the reader turning the page? My definition of stakes is something your character risks or finds to be in jeopardy because of their own or someone else’s actions. Basically, the stakes are the external or internal problems...

When a Formula Isn’t Formulaic

When a Formula Isn’t Formulaic

Lots of authors think they hate formulas when it comes to writing. They say that structures are confining and stifle creativity. But they don’t have to. Story structures like the Hero’s Journey or Three Act or Fairy Tale style plots do not inherently limit how or what...

One of Those Days

One of Those Days

Today I need to write. I need to write at least 500 words on my current novel if I want to keep my momentum going. I need to write about writing for this blog and for my newsletters. I need to write the lesson plans for the next course I want to offer. So, I set aside...

Can’t I Do It Myself?

Can’t I Do It Myself?

When I was a kid, my favorite phrase was By Myself.  I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be self-sufficient. I wanted to be left alone to do my own thing.  In some ways, I haven’t really changed. In many ways, I still prefer to do things on my own...

New Year, New Goals!

New Year, New Goals!

It’s that time of year again. That time when we evaluate where we want our lives to go in this shiny new year. I won’t lie. Last year all of my goals revolved around my health. I had my final chemo treatment in January of 2022, and I was still facing 3 surgeries and 6...

Chunking Up Your Book

Chunking Up Your Book

A pretty standard part of setting big, long-term goals is to chunk it up into a bunch of smaller goals.  And what is writing a book if not setting a big, long-term goal? So, let’s chunk a book up into a bunch of smaller easier goals. First, set the major goal:...

Whose genre is it anyway?

Whose genre is it anyway?

I’m into watching TikTok right now.  I know. I know. I’m too old. And for a lot of the stuff over there, I really am too old. I’m never going to be doing any fancy pants dances. My days of kicking up my heels passed when I hung up my pompoms.  But one of the...

What’s Motivating Your Characters?

What’s Motivating Your Characters?

When we talk about characters, we always talk about their internal wants/needs as if the two are interchangeable concepts. We say that a character must have one to sustain their inner plot arc and that meeting this want or need is what propels the character to grow....

Writing Through Cycles

Writing Through Cycles

For the past decade, I have struggled with all sorts of health issues. Disparate things like a buildup of neurotoxins during a mold exposure to a hormonal imbalance most likely caused by stress (and age) mean that I often have periods (sometimes extended ones) where I can’t get much done.

The 2018 Writing Olympics

The 2018 Writing Olympics

Sadly, the 2018 Winter Olympics have ended—and some how I managed to not see a single moment. Not the historic triple axel or the Norwegian Curling team’s pants during play. Nothing. But just because Olympic glory is over for the athletes, doesn’t mean it has to be...

The Beauty of Graphs

The Beauty of Graphs

If you’ve seen my Instagram at all in the last month or so, you will have noticed how fond I have become of graphs. I have graphs tracking my daily word counts. I have graphs for projects showing words left until completion. I have graphs of my graphs. (Not really, but I’m a little surprised I don’t.)

Checking Off the Boxes

Checking Off the Boxes

It’s a new year, and that means new organization. This year, though, I’m going to continue with a system that I started last year that worked well for me: Monthly and Daily To Do Lists.

Middle of the Book Blues

Middle of the Book Blues

We’re coming upon the end of the year, and in my case, I’m coming upon the end of my WIP. I’m now 2/3 through the novel I started for NaNoWriMo, and I have hit the hump. You know, that slow, excruciating point in your writing where you already have ideas for...

A Character’s Needs

A Character’s Needs

Last month in my newsletter, I talked about the difference between a character’s wants vs their needs. I also mentioned that there are two types of needs: physical and emotional. I thought we could explore that a little more.

Publishing Tips for Kindle Short Reads

Publishing Tips for Kindle Short Reads

Over the past few weeks, I've been experimenting with Short Reads, one of the sections on Kindle. Taking classes and conference speeches and other material, I have been slowly, but surely converting them into articles to publish using KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)....

Prepping for NANOWRIMO

Prepping for NANOWRIMO

It’s that time of year again! Time to get ready for that month of frantic writing and nail biting experience known as NANOWRIMO or National Novel Writing Month. For those who don’t know, the premise is pretty simple. On November 1, you start a brand new novel. On November 30, you finish said novel. Simple, right?

Building Your Author Brand

Building Your Author Brand

Nowadays when we hear the word “branding” we tend to think in terms of marketing, but branding originally meant to mark something or claim it. Whether this was done to prove that a cow belonged to a rancher and not to the rustler that stole it or whether it was done to ostracize someone, the point was to notify the world.

As authors, it’s time for us to make our own marks on the world and claim our writing space as our own.

Motivated Villains

Motivated Villains

I attended RWA 2017 last month, not as a speaker, but just as a normal attendee. There’s something freeing about attending workshops and classes for writing that is outside your genre.

So, you think you’re a …

So, you think you’re a …

Plotter or a pantser, right? The thing is, it doesn’t really matter. At some point, you will have to outline your book. It’s just a matter of when.

Book Review: The Creeping Shadow

Book Review: The Creeping Shadow

This book is the fourth in the Lockwood & Co series that follows a group of teen ghost hunters as they try to rid London and the surrounding countryside from the paranormal problem that’s been hunting the world for just under 100 years. Fast paced and well-plotted this entire series is a must read for anyone who is writing middle grade or YA adventure. (They’re also just good reads!)

Marketing Your School Visit

Marketing Your School Visit

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be speaking at the North Texas SCBWI Schooled on School Visits Event. I’ll be talking about a number of things including MG/YA school visits and doing joint visits with other authors. And I’ll be talking about marketing. I always end up...