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Finished! 4

Finished!

There is a certain thud in my stomach as I  finish book two, When the Music Stops: A Second Chance to Dance. It’s a mixture of pride, fear and excitement. I did it!  Will anyone read it? Will anyone like the way the characters made their decisions? Will people stick around for book three? But I get ahead of myself. I’m finished, but my wonderful editor has yet to ‘take a crack’ at the story. She asks amazing questions, shares her ideas and we go back and forth until we reach agreement on the best way to make the story...

Why Write a Book Series? 0

Why Write a Book Series?

People ask that question often. My answers are usually the same: I like my characters and they have more to share than will fit in one book. Also I enjoy following characters in books I read beyond more than one experience. For example, Howard Fast wrote a sage about a family across several generations. If you like l-o-n-g series there are others that stretch on and on, but Marta’s characters are not letting that happen. They will give me one more book after When the Music Stops which is Letters to Follow, and then I need to butt out of...

Inspired Words 1

Inspired Words

It’s fun to record words that impact me from books I read. Here are a few for you  to ponder. Enjoy! It was getting late. Knife-sharp shadows fell across the lane, dividing everything into light and darkness. Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen She changed the gravity in the room.  Paris Wife by Paula McLain Jake always said we were like undercurrents the way we lived our lives under the surface of society. Whiskey Cove by Denise Frisini The line between her old life and her new one had been marked in six feet of soil.   Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley...

Writing and Lemons 2

Writing and Lemons

Writing is related to a bushel of juicy, ripe lemons. After you receive them, you must decide what to do with them: draw them, wash your hair with their juices, dry the skins for potpourri, make lemonade or unfortunately, let them rot. It takes bushels of time to get my manuscript, When the Music Stops, ready for formal editing. I open the file, work my way through each chapter then give myself a quick pat on the back as I  turn off the computer, but not my brain thinking about the story. I’m hoping I’ve used their succulent juices and...

Moving Close to the End 1

Moving Close to the End

Right now I’m close finishing When the Music Stops, book two in my ballet trilogy. It’s funny; the closer I get to finishing the more questions I find I need to resolve.  I question my tension and my problems strewn across their lives. Since my characters become as real as my friends, I know their strengths and weaknesses, their hot buttons and their fears. Often I become overprotective of their “lives”, unwilling to let harm approach them. I always hope I have provided the promise of a good story but fear I may have fallen short. It’s a writer’s curse....

Dialogue Hints 1

Dialogue Hints

Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks contains everything from planning to completion of a novel. Her advice works well for other genre books as well as YA. Here are a few of her suggestions about dialogue. 1.  Hedge real topics in favor of direct references. 2.  Use incomplete sentences; that’s the way we often speak. 3.  Interrupt speakers, like we do when we’re excited and talking with a friend. 4.  Don’t repeat character names; find another way help us keep characters separate. 5.  Use body language and tags that reinforce the character’s uniqueness. 6.  Make every bit...

Can you Feel the Tension? 0

Can you Feel the Tension?

Authors strive to put tension on every page. Can you feel it? Don’t always expect gut-wrenching tension. Certainly we put in some of that even in ballet stories. Instead look for the little moments where a character paces, stresses or pouts. You’ll also see it when unexpected mail arrives, someone doubts a character’s motive or when the car won’t start on the first try. The question is why do author’s place little moments like that in stories? The answer: would you keep reading if nothing exciting occurred? Probably not. And, if you think about it, your life is filled with...

Word Painting 1

Word Painting

  I love the book Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan (Writers Digest, 1999). She writes about the power of description, calling it  one of the 3 parts of a story along with exposition and narration. Here are a few of her ideas. “Description is an attempt to present as directly as possible the qualities of a person, place or object.” She goes on to suggest that we work to evoke a visual or other sense as much as we actually share  it. She believes impressions of our senses have power. “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a scent is worth...

Quotes Worth a Second Look 1

Quotes Worth a Second Look

As a reader I often find phrases, sentences or paragraphs that stop me. They are the ones that create images I want to remember, usually sensory statements I wished I’d written. Tell me what you think of these. …memories as jagged and sharp as bits of glass (Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah, p. 342) But Anna was a loose marble. (Five Fortunes by Beth Gutcheon,  p. 20 (speaking of ingredients) …deep and mysterious like perfume lingering in the folds of a cashmere scarf. (The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister, p. 15) An enormous double-glazed skylight floods the room...

Re-Visioning 3

Re-Visioning

Writers often stress over editing. I know I did. It’s often a time when I become aware of holes as well as changes needed to elevate my writing. Then one year, at the Edmonds WOTS (Write On The Sound) conference, I heard a presenter suggest we stop thinking about revising a story and start thinking about re-visioning it. I immediately saw a huge difference in my attitude about editing. It became a challenge to look at the work as a whole, attempting to shine a light on what works and ramping up places where that light remained dim. Maybe it’s the same...