Just Kill Him

Sometimes writers stop in the middle of conversations once they realize what they must sound like to the outside world.  Often this happens when discussing the motivations of various winged or furry creatures.  Yesterday, the woman behind the counter of the coffee shop must have wondered for a second or two whether the Missouri Mob was … More Just Kill Him

Escape from Venice!

I am pleased and proud to announce that my main character managed to escape from Venice! My character and I spent a lot of time there–far more time that I’d planned–due to my midcourse correction in plotting. Now I have to say that I really enjoyed researching and writing about Venice. I planned the first … More Escape from Venice!

22,222 Words

In the middle of May, I was about 28,000 words into the Italian Chase Novel and wondering about whether or not I needed to Cut to the Chase.  Were things moving too slowly? Was I adding in too much description? Two weeks later, my agent gave me an answer after she looked at an excerpt and a … More 22,222 Words

Why Characters Can’t Rely on Authority Figures

I often tell my writing students that editors are looking for stories where the main character struggles to overcome an obstacle, solve a problem or obtain wisdom.  Certainly the main character can have help from the supporting cast, but there has to be that moment where the main character stands up to the forces of … More Why Characters Can’t Rely on Authority Figures

USA Vs. Japan for Gold in Women’s Soccer

The gold medal women’s soccer game will be played on Thursday at 12:30 Eastern Time on NBCSN, the NBC Sports Network.  I’m expecting another dynamic game!  The Canadians and Americans hustled and scrapped their way through the game. Both sides committed fouls, both accidental and tactical, but none of the them were malicious.  And there … More USA Vs. Japan for Gold in Women’s Soccer

Out on Submission

I”m happy to report that Calyn’s story is now out on submission!  It’s been a long journey with any number of interruptions, but I wouldn’t trade any of them away because I really like where the book wound up.  June was a busy month with visits from my daughter and my sister.  It ended with … More Out on Submission

Taking a Risk

At the Missouri SCBWI retreat back in late April, Viking editor Kendra Levine shared a couple of ways to think about creating a high-stakes story.  It’s been more than a month, so any mistakes or misrepresentations of what she shared are the fault of my less than stellar memory and note-taking.  But anyway, she started … More Taking a Risk

Cut to the Chase

I’ve finished one chase scene in my Italian chase novel, and I’m in the middle of working on another one.  I’m finding that one of the challenges is deciding when it’s time to cut to the chase.  How much space should I dedicate to a description of the Scrovegni Chapel, the Basilica Palladiana or the … More Cut to the Chase

Success…of a Kind

Emily Dickenson may have been of the opinion that “Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.” But she only submitted her poetry to The Atlantic Monthly once.  After her first rejection, she never tried again. A few of her poems were published in her lifetime, but only because her friends wanted to see them published.  … More Success…of a Kind