Writing in Reverse: 45,000 Words from the End

I’m actually getting pretty close to the beginning of this draft. (I apologize to those of you just starting NaNoWriMo, but I did start a month before you.) Here are a few more things I’ve learned since the check-in at 25,000 words. No matter how much you plan, you’re as likely to come up with…

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What I’ve Learned in Five Years of Querying

I’ve become a huge fan of the memories that pop up on Facebook. It’s a fun way to look through old photos, videos, and the occasional comment. Anyway, on July 3, a writing-related post showed up that made me smile and shake my head at the naive Michelle of five years ago, but it’s appropriate…

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What Genre Is This Manuscript? Plus A Call for Readers

I’ve finally finished revising that manuscript that wouldn’t let me go (read more about that here or here), and it’s time to give it a new title and description here on the blog. One of my CPs was getting after me because even though I’d told her the new title, I was still calling it…

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New England SCBWI Conference: So Worth the Trip!

This past weekend I traveled to Springfield, Massachusetts, for the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Spring Conference. It wasn’t my first SCBWI Conference. I’ve attended the Missouri conference multiple years, and it’s been very valuable. However, the New England conference is significantly larger and offered the draw of my long-time critique…

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Quick Tip: Listen to Your Manuscript WITHOUT Reading Along

I’ve read my manuscripts out loud to myself before and expounded on the benefits of it. After a commenter on my last post about it suggested I have my computer read it to me instead of doing it myself, I even tried that. It’s amazing how listening to the robotic text-to-speech program on my Mac…

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How Repeated Words Affect Your Voice

As I have my manuscript out with another reader, it occurred to me that in addition to not doing a voice check since an earlier round of edits, I also hadn’t done a check for repeated words. Although my reader may give me some line edits–she doesn’t have to :)–that’s not the main focus at…

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Quick Tip: After A Major Revision, Do a POV Voice Check

When you’re writing multiple points of view, it’s important that those voices stay distinct. I’ve recommended before that you revise each POV individually early on in the process to ensure the characters have their own arc and voice (Revising One Character at a Time, 3 Tips for Revising One Character at a Time). It must…

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Quick Tip: Visualizing Your Feedback

One of the hardest decisions to make as you start receiving feedback on agent submissions is whether you should stop querying and revise. The tricky part of the equation is that the publishing business is subjective, and it’s challenging to sort through the comments you’ve received and determine whether they’re leaning toward “Yes, you definitely…

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An Update on The Manuscript That Wouldn’t Let Me Go

Nearly a year ago I wrote about the manuscript that wouldn’t let me go, and the post resonated with quite a few readers. This response didn’t surprise me as I knew it was a common phenomenon to love a particular story so much. Well, I have an update on that project. I finally finished redrafting…

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That Magical Moment When Feedback Clicks

Don’t you hate it when you know something’s wrong with your manuscript–maybe it’s even been pointed out to you by multiple sources–but you can’t figure out how to fix it? Or, even worse, when you think you’ve fixed it and then you receive comments from agents after you start querying that reveal the issue was…

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Quick Tip: What’s Happening on Page 20? 50?

A wise critique partner of mine once got to page fifty of one of my manuscripts and said, “Think about what’s happening here. This is page 50!” And although it was still a fairly early draft, I realized she was making an important point. When you’re ready to query a project, agents have varying submission…

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6 Reasons You Should Critique for Others While Revising

Did you miss me? I know I threw that four years of querying post out there and then deserted the blog for a couple of weeks. My family went to the Lake of the Ozarks, and then I had a week of craziness catching up with some deadlines. But I’m back! So, I’m in the…

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