a Plotting Grid filled in

The Plotting Grid and Synopses

As I promised last week, I’m back with a report on using The Plotting Grid to create a synopsis for the as-yet-unwritten sequel to my Work-in-Progress (WIP).  The Grid is a great tool for planning a story at any stage of inception, but I find it particularly helpful with writing a synopsis – just “fill…

Surgery Time

Book Surgery for Pantsers

Has this ever happened to you? There you are, minding your own business, sipping some Starbucks, 367 pages into the novel you’re writing when all of a sudden you realize you have no earthly idea what your book is about. Or perhaps someone asks you about your book at a party and you say something…

Agents B, D, E, F, G and C

This week has been a good one in the ongoing saga of manuscript submissions. As you may recall, my writing demons —try as they did— could not prevent me from submitting “partials” of my manuscript to Agent A (who subsequently rejected it), and to a new addition to my roster, Agent D (who I’m waiting…

The Awe(some) Grand Canyon

Three Prescriptions for Contagious Awe

What is your duty as a writer? I used to think my duty was to publish my story my way. There are many writerly voices out there who seem to advise this. Don’t write for the market, write for yourself. Write what you know and tell your story. When this approach seemed to leave me…

Demon Ruckus and Lessons to Live By

Some time ago I set out to blog about my process and progress getting my manuscript into the hands of three agents who requested it:  Agents A, B, and C.  (See my original blog posts here.) During that first week of blogging, I sent 50 pages to Agent A as per her request.  A short…

Successful Shipping

Shipping, Thrashing, and the Lizard

Seth Godin, a prominent blogger and thinker, hates the Lizard. Specifically, the lizard part of each of our brains–the part near the core that fuels our fight and flight responses. Its job is to keep us alive by killing or fleeing from new things. As such, it makes a pretty lousy creative partner. Godin writes…

Cause for Whine or Food for Thought?

I’ve been perfecting and refining my recipe for Coq au Vin for years.  I use the happiest, most humanely raised poultry, a decent French Burgundy, organic farm-fresh veggies, and my own secret blend of herbs.  So the other night I prepared this dish for a small dinner party of friends and family.  Because Aaron (CEO…