Cupcakes for Everyone! The First Draft Is Finished!

Ok, I can’t actually give everyone cupcakes, but that’s what my husband took me out for to celebrate finishing my latest first draft. Lucky for me he worked from home today! This is the cupcake I selected. My followers know how much I hate writing a first draft. I had a particularly hard time with…

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Sometimes I Wish I Had A Pattern to Follow

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how much I hate writing first drafts. That hasn’t changed. I’m two-thirds of the way through this first draft, and it’s torture. I know I’ll have to cut a lot of what I’ve written, and that drives me crazy. I’m the kind of person who wants it…

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How Writing Is Like A Black Belt Test

I’m in the midst of a new project, and the main character is a 12-year-old girl about to take her black belt test. Earlier this week I got to the scene in the book where this momentous event takes place. Since the most martial arts I’ve done is a self-defense class, I turned to an…

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Homicidal Fairies and Other WriteOnCon Lessons

I spent the last two days glued to WriteOnCon, plus several days before in the forums critiquing and posting. If you are a writer and don’t know about WriteOnCon–particularly if you write for kids or teens–head over there now! The conference was online, and everything remains posted forever. Thank you to all of the published…

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The First Draft Blues

I hate writing first drafts. I see other writers out there talking about how much they hate revising and think, “How could you hate revising? It’s so much fun!” Not kidding. I love to revise. It doesn’t matter if it’s my work or someone else’s. An unpolished piece of writing is like a big puzzle….

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How Do You Feel About Spoilers?

Like much of the world, I’ve been glued to my TV this week watching the Olympics. I made it through Monday without seeing any spoilers about the men’s gymnastics team finals, but every day since I’ve seen some kind of spoiler. I still watched in the evening, but it marred the experience already knowing the…

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The Questions We Ask While We Wait

Yesterday Susan Adrian wrote a great post on what to do while you’re waiting, with tips like work, read and observe, as well as what NOT to do. After I retweeted it, a fellow writer emailed me to check in on my agent search. It’s nice to have other writers who are in the same…

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Story Lessons from Pirates of the Caribbean

My husband and I decided to do a “Pirates of the Caribbean” marathon this week, which is appropriate since we just returned from the Caribbean. As you can see, our ship was a little bigger than the Black Pearl. This view is from an outlook on St. Thomas. As we were watching the movies, I…

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What I’ve Learned in a Year of Querying

One year ago today I sent the first round of queries for THE MODERN CAVEBOY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING BATS, BULLIES AND BILLIONAIRES. In honor of this anniversary of sorts, I’d like to share a few tips from my querying journey. Titles are important. I did a number of things right when I started querying, but…

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The Querying Quandary: When to Wait

A couple of weeks ago I posted about why it’s so hard to get your first novel published, and I said I was having a different experience with the novel I’m currently querying. It’s because I have more experience this time. The key? Patience. I am not a patient person, but I learned in my…

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Four Writing Devices That Shout, “I’m An Amateur!”

I’ve been an avid reader from a very young age, and I was an English major in college, but neither prepared me to be a publishable writer. When I wrote my first novel, I knew how to put a story together. With my English degree and my job as a writer and editor, my novel…

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Why It’s So Hard to Get Your First Novel Published

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why it’s so hard to get your first novel published, and I think it mostly comes down to inexperience. It takes time to learn how to write a publishable novel, as well as how to present it to agents and publishers. Obviously there are writers who succeed on…

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