Sunday, December 27, 2009

And in the meantime...

Ever ready to take the advice of members of my critique group, I have started novel number three. I know, I haven't finished the first one yet, but I've been working on two at once all year, so why not start a third?

I'll tell you why this makes sense to me: I've had a lot of jobs that required me to switch gears from one type of writing to another. If I tired of working on one project, I'd pick up another for a change of pace, then go back to the first one later. I nearly always had at least three projects in some stage of construction at any given time. So why not three novels? Number one is a light romantic comedy, number two a slightly more serious coming-of-age book, and number three is a sort of a spoof of the Dashiell Hammett-style hero (heroine in this case--a hard-boiled lawyer/sleuth). I'm finding that a little work on number three gets out a lot of hostility and stress so I can focus better on number one and two. BTW, there is a direct connection between books number one and number three: the spoof is included, partially, in the romantic comedy--it's excerpted as the book that my main character is writing. :) Fun!

We'll see how this shapes up. If it goes well, maybe I'll get all three done before my daughter goes to college (about six years from now). If it goes REALLY well, I may get all of them done within the next year or two. If it does NOT go well...I'll know by February.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why isn't everyone reading Rett MacPherson?

Rett is one of those "least known, best writers," to quote Liz Duckworth (another one of them) who write really good books, but who doesn't have a lot of name recognition. Add Marion Duckworth (Liz's mother-in-law), Nancy Kennedy, Donna Andrews (well, Donna has a bit more attention, maybe), and a whole slew of other writers who labor in heart-felt anguish (I may be a bit melodramatic here) to produce great reading across a multitude of genres.

Those of us who write for publication risk never being read. Our books have to pass through agents, editors, publishers, and bookstore owners to get to "street-level" readers. If they do sell, we make about 50 cents off every book. So, obviously, we're not in this for the money, and judging by the writers I've named above, we don't get much fame either. So, accepting there's really no money or fame in the game, we obviously write for our own pleasure. There, I admit it. It's all about me, after all. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Great ideas come from other people

Because of my background in journalism, and since this is my first foray into fiction, I'm always hunting around

the world for ideas and information that will help my writing process. Becky Levine, an author I've mentioned here before, has a great blog about her writing . ( Why is this stupid thing indenting? I wish I were more techy.)

It gives me lots of great info. This list came just in time, since I'm hung up about where to go next in my novel.

I've revised it by leaving out the name of Becky's heroine, but otherwise, these questions are straight from her.

Questions to ask about my heroine:

What did she do in the previous scene or few scenes?

What were the consequences of those recent actions?

How does she feel about what she did and about what happened?

Who did she set up a conflict with?

What other character has a strong goal at this time?

What story element have I not dealt with in, perhaps, too long?

Can you see how brilliant these questions are? Thanks to Becky for putting them in her blog so I can use them, too! Please check out her blog at

It is a myth that writers work alone. Most of us need a team, whether we know them or not! Yes, the writing time requires being alone with our stories, but I am not one of those writers who enjoys creating without input from others. Which is why I'm always talking about my critique group. BTW, Becky has just released a book on critique groups, through Writers Digest Books.