Showing posts from October, 2012


After a four day weekend away at a wedding with no time to write I received a gift. It's an odd gift with a real demon side. Hurricane Sandy is pounding up the eastern coastline and preparing to slam into the New Jersey and New York shorelines. Due to Sandy we have two days off from work. Of course it would be better if there wasn't a natural disaster at the helm of this unplanned vacation but here it is in my lap.

So far I have completed revisions on my flash fiction chapbook in preparations for submitting it to a contest next month. I'm also working on queries for my short story collection so I can send them to publishers. I'm going to target some small publishers and see how it goes.

Next it's back to my novel. I would love to finish a first draft before my retreat in three weeks so I can begin revisions, or put it away and turn to poetry and flash fiction again. I need the quick results of short forms. But at odd times the characters and plot lines of my novel …


Saturday was spent out at the wineries with friends and we had a grand time. Sunday bloomed crisp and sunny and free. A good spread of hours in which to write. But as much as writers love to write, we also seem adept at finding other ways to occupy our free time.

Here are ten things to do instead of writing. Some fun and some not so much fun, but they supply the coward's way out of attacking that plot twist, that end rhyme, that perfect tie up to an essay.

clean out your closettake photos of your shoes to glue on the boxes so you know what's insidebake a batch of browniesread a good novelmake lists of ideas for new novels and storieswalk in the woodsdo laundrytake a napchat on facebookenter writing contests (well okay at least this one is related to writing) After all that is done it's time to tackle that new chapter and figure out exactly why Meghan's twin sister committed suicide on her sixteenth birthday. Or was it really suicide?


I just read an article in last month's "The Writer Magazine" that presented writing advice from the inimitable Edgar Allan Poe who died at the ripe age of 40. He lived an addictive and tortured life but managed to create some of the best crafted prose and poetry of his century. Indeed, he treaded the first steps in the genres of mystery and horror. A writer to be reckoned with for sure.

Poe scribed essays about writing for a variety of magazines in between penning his poems and short stories. In one of those essays he talks about the value of writing short. His claim was that a reader needed to be able to consume a poem or story in one sitting so as not to disrupt the mood and tone of the piece. In this way the reader was able to keep the "whole" of the story in his head. He claimed that when reading a novel, where the reader is forced to put down the book in between reading sessions, he loses the thread of the plot and the mood of the fictive world created by …


There's nothing like a rainy Sunday for writing when you are in the flow. Although I was greeted by the sun this morning, the clouds are now drifting in and I smell rain in the air. I'd already planned to spend today working on my novel but now I am even more motivated and revved up.

At my Tapestries' meeting yesterday, one of the women in our group came up with an idea that has blown my plot out into the open. I am so excited to start writing with this new character goal in mind. It makes the plot stronger, the stakes higher, the conflict more suspenseful. I love it.

I spent the early morning writing pages of notes on this new plot idea and listing modifications to some of the characters to make it work. Now I can get to the keyboard and write. I love sharing this novel writing process with my blog readers and hope it motivates you writers out there to pick up a pen and get to work. Once the fire ignites in the brain there is no stopping us.


It's Saturday and the sky outside my writing room window is mottled gray. A moist autumn breeze flickers the pages piling up on my desk. And a chorus of sparrows and cardinals offer background music to the click of keyboard keys. Words flow-- ribbons of ideas onto the white screen. But this isn't just any Saturday morning. This is the special Saturday that occurs each month when my writing group meets.

We were born ten years ago when a small group of women writers responded to an ad in The Network--the journal of the the International Women's Writing Guild. We met in one woman's kitchen, over coffee and cake, to read our stories and share comments and critique. A few months later we named our group Tapestries, referring to the intricate weave of our varied fabrics. We have been meeting monthly ever since then although there have been some women who left the group while others have joined us to add new texture.

It was and remains amazing that our writing abilities, inte…


So what in the world is BIAM? It's a book and a program called Book in a Month and it guides you to creating a simple first draft of your novel in one month. I've decided to take on the challenge and hope I'm not crazy. For me it's not essential that this gets done in a thirty day period, although that would be nice. What's helpful is all the charts and questions and tracking that help you to lay out plot and keep track of characters and scenes. If offers a way to record changes you make mid-novel so you don't have to go back and change all the previous chapters before you finish the first draft.

This coincides with my taking an online class call Writing Your Novel from the Ground Up which also pushes you to answer a lot of questions about the plot and the characters before you begin writing so you go in knowing which paths you are writing down as you go.

Writing is a mystery, even to writers, but I am off to solve yet another mystery of story and see if I can …