A Very Short Summary

All writers have a difficult time trying to summarize their books in a single sentence.  Writing short and interesting summaries is also a challenge of the marketing departments.  They prepare different ones for different markets.  This week, I received a Google Alert that directed me to the Publisher’s Weekly’s list of children’s books coming out this fall.  The … More A Very Short Summary

How Many Chapters?

Once you get a burst of inspiration, you need to find different ways of getting it down on paper from outlining to polished prose. After my last mowing/brain-storming session, I wrote down a lot of the specific ideas in my Calyn notebook: encounters, events, scraps of dialogue.  After that, I moved onto a bit of outlining.   … More How Many Chapters?

Mowing the Lawn II

Today as I was mowing the lawn, I thought of a way to bring all of plot lines together for the darkest moment.  And I figured out when to have my character come to a truly horrible realization.  There’s a reason I don’t have my kids mow and why I shovel by hand instead of … More Mowing the Lawn II

Preparing Summaries

One of the challenges of promoting a book is figuring out how to descrbe it for various venues.  Peachtree was responsible for the following summary for the Library of Congress listing:  As the family gathers at her grandmother’s bed-and-breakfast for a murder mystery weekend, seventeen-year-old Jen confronts her ambivalent feelings about her mother, who disappeared … More Preparing Summaries

Writing the Scene that Doesn’t Want to Be Written

Usually, when I’m having trouble moving ahead with a novel, I use a variation of Natalie Goldberg’s cafe writing that she shared in WRITING DOWN THE BONES.  But yesterday, I decided that I wanted to write on patio of our backyard garden while our waterfall splashed and gurgled in the background. I brought coffee.  (I’d trained myself … More Writing the Scene that Doesn’t Want to Be Written


Megan Whalen Turner has updated her website.  In it, you can find pictures, podcast and interviews.  But this link will take you directly to a short story out about a much younger Gen.