Once upon a time, I used to agree that picture book writers had to put much more time into selecting each individual word than novelists. After all, picture book writers can have anywhere from seven words to three thousand words to work with as they work to tell an entire story.* I can’t speak for every novelist, … More Opening Up
It felt like I was back to my old plodding ways. On April 19th, I was at 5600 words. Yesterday, I was hardly 1000 words further along as I struggled to get my character from Merano to the Alpe di Siusi–or as she’d say from Meran to the Seiser Alm. (Elise has a connection to the German population … More Over 7000 Words
Back in March, I opened up a fresh blank book that I’d gotten for Christmas last year and started scribbling away on what I’d been calling the Italian chase novel. The black and white cloth cover was attractive enough. I would have been happy to scritch-scratch away on all of my outlines and extremely rough … More Another Blank Book
In general, I tend to work quite slowly. Dialgoue might flow easily, but then I have to smooth all of the details that bring a story to life with action, description and movement. That’s why I’m just a bit surprised to discover that I’m about 5600 in. The first chapter is fairly polished. The second has … More Over 5000 Words Already?
Picture book writers maintain that they have to slave over every single word. I believe them. In fact, I was more than willing to agree with them that they had a much tougher job on a word by word basis than novelists did. That was before I spent three weeks writing the first chapter of … More Chapter One….More or Less Done!
It’s been a long, long time since I started a new project. But today, I created a file with the name of ItalianChase and managed to produce just over 500 words. It will be another young adult novel, but more in the vein of a suspense/thriller than a cozy mystery. In fact, bad things are … More Starting a New File
Goals are good things. My editor established one goal when she gave me a due date for the mystery revision: February 15. But it was pretty clear that she’d like to have it sooner, so I have a private goal of getting it out the door by the end of the third week in January. I also have … More Forward Progress
A friend and fellow author gave me some good feedback on the first chapter of my mystery. Among other things, she noted that I was throwing a lot of character’s names at her, so she was having a tough time keeping track of everyone. I looked through things. She was right. I’d fallen into one of … More Falling into a Classic Writer’s Trap
First chapters and last chapters are often among the hardest ones for any novelist. You have to first pull the reader smoothly into your world with the first and ease them out in a satisfying way in the last. It’s necessary to put in just enough information so that the readers know exactly what’s going … More YA Mystery: Chapter 1 Revision is Done!
A few years ago I was on a walk with my son when he was in seventh or eight grade. He’d just finished reading a first draft of one of my manuscripts. “I really liked Sophia,” he said. “But you’re really going to have to introduce her earlier.” I laughed because he was exactly right. My … More Inserting Characters