Thinking About Soccer?

Some kids aren’t really sure whether or not they’d like to play a sport. If you know someone who’s thinking about trying soccer, strongly consider handing that person a copy of Ruth McNally Barshaw’s Ellie McDoodle: Most Valuable Player.  This is the fourth book in Barshaw’s Ellie McDoodle series, a delightful collection of books for kids in … More Thinking About Soccer?

34343 Words

While I’m not participating in the NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, I am tapping into some of its energy.  Instead of polishing words and phrases, I’m only taking them to a certain level before moving on.  I have dreams of wrapping up a draft for my high school and college-age beta testers by Christmas.  It’s … More 34343 Words

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