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Minute by Minute

flowersIf I could only revise novels and never have to write a first draft again, I’d be a happy camper. As it is, I’m delving into a new novel, with new characters and new terrain, and after two tries, I’ve made it past the first 100-page milestone of my first draft. I may end up cutting much of what I’ve written, but it seems solid enough to keep going, and that’s a relief.

Every morning, I return to the spot where my characters ended the day before, read the last… Continue reading

Draft 13 and the Crunch Schedule

Draft 13, Track Changes.

Draft 13, Track Changes. No page is untouched.

Since my first editor originally told me that the manuscript for my new novel was due to go to copyedits last October, and my second editor told me in early November not to worry about deadlines and take my time rewriting the last act of the novel, (about 130 pages), I assumed that my book had been bumped a season to 2015.  Season bumps have happened to me before, so I didn’t think much about it.

Then, in mid-January, when I… Continue reading

Playing and Puzzling in 1st Person

Perspective Matters

Perspective Matters

A lot of current YA lit is written in 1st person and present tense for good reason.  Immediacy is created when we’re living the story minute-by-minute, straight through the thought process of a teen protagonist.  Best of all, knowing how she thinks helps us readers to know her well.  When we can experience her fears, humor, and loneliness right along with her, it’s easy to sympathize with her.… Continue reading

Progress

tracksIf you’ve driven on a road trip, you know the calculation of time into mileage.  A minute equals a mile.  An hour on the freeway will take you sixty miles, and a day will take you four hundred miles or more.  It’s a fair exchange of time for distance.  That’s progress.

For writing a novel, I wish I could say that time transformed into pages, and pages added up to chapters, and enough chapters made a book.  It doesn’t feel that way to me, though,… Continue reading

The Setting Can Match the Action, or Not

fogAll it takes is a foggy, unexpectedly warm morning in January to transform the world into something magical and full of mystery.  We’re intensely sensitive to real-life settings and the moods they create, so it makes sense to use them carefully in our fiction writing, too.

Consider how a setting can support or contrast with the action of its scene.  If a character learns on a Ferris Wheel that his girlfriend loves him, the setting piles happiness on happiness.  If he finds out she cheated on him,… Continue reading

The Night Tipping Point

Moon

Moon

Her brain is fried, and she’s been sitting in the same chair for hours and hours.  The house is quiet, it’s late, and the responsible adult in her tells her she ought to quit writing and go to bed.  But she doesn’t.  She hangs on, rereading sentences, pondering words, taking a long time to make small decisions and knowing as she labors that she’ll unravel the decisions in the morning at a stroke.  In time, she starts to type with her eyes closed, so she… Continue reading