I like toys and colorful messes when I’m playing. When I need to concentrate, though, I often have to tidy up a bit so that I’m not itched by tippy clutter in the background. Similarly, I’ll make a list of pesky things I need to do and park them for late in the afternoon so phone calls or errands don’t chop up my writing time.
When I’m starting a new writing project, though, the mess is in my writing. I land in a world I can’t see clearly and start… Continue reading
Since I finished the third book in the Vault of Dreamers series three years ago, I’ve been writing on my own, not under contract. I’ve been free, in other words, to write whatever I want, without deadlines or expectations to pressure me. Of course, I haven’t had a significant income, either, which is not sustainable indefinitely. I’ve been writing on the speculative, eventual payment plan, working with the firm intention of completing a book that can go on submission. This is very different, however, from writing under contract, when,… Continue reading
I’m in a good place.
When I spoke to my agent a couple weeks ago, Kirby told me my latest draft has transformed my novel. The characters, he said, now leap off the page, and everything about the novel—the pacing, the world, and the plot—are all working. Certain scenes moved him deeply. In short, he loved it, and he wanted to know how I’d done what I’d done. As we talked and I explained how I’d rewritten the entire thing, taking out certain plot constraints so… Continue reading
I was thinking about the way business partners schedule monthly meetings to check up on goals and progress, and I felt a twinge of envy, wondering if I’d be more accountable to myself if I had such a meeting. A business meeting. It isn’t practical for me at all, but I realized I do want a clearer way to see my progress.
So I started a progress bar on my website, over in the right column. It doesn’t really capture total progress because it only records progress through my latest… Continue reading
Recently, I was invited to join the Writers Council of the National Writing Project, and for this I was asked to state why I believe writing is important. It’s a worthy question, and I chewed it over.
As I see it, three facets of writing matter: the original act of getting down a first draft, the revising puzzle, and the chance that a final result might move a reader. They’re intertwined, of course, but the real power lies in those first two stages. When we create and deepen our… Continue reading
Eleven years ago, when my family was on sabbatical in Tiburon, California, I wrote Birthmarked, my first young adult novel. I would often take walks in the afternoon while my children were at school, and my path led me into the grassy hills, past Old St. Hilary’s and copious poppies. Sometimes, when I was stuck in a plot snag, the walking would loosen up a new idea for me to try, and to this day, I feel grateful to those hills.
I returned to the same trail for… Continue reading