After I’d read An Uncollected Death and An Unexamined Wife by Meg Wolfe, she let me pillage her brain for thoughts on how she pieced together the stories, the mysteries, the characters.
How long did it take to sort the plot details for book 1? Creating the bits of the mystery, I mean. A month? A year?
It took me sixteen months to write that first book—there were two two-month spells where I couldn’t do any writing because of health and family problems, but of course I kept stewing it over in my mind even when away from the computer. There was a lot of time spent on learning to plot, then changing from a four-part to a three-act structure, which “felt” better to me. I was also learning to use Scrivener.
I developed the characters along with the plot. It really is character-driven. What happened was that I had many, many strands of interrelated stories that I braided together, changing and tweaking details by working backwards, then forwards again. The last third, Act III, went really quickly, once I got the first two acts properly braided. The same thing happened in the second book, and in this third one, as well. The second book took me a little over eight months to write. This one has taken me ten–I had some health problems again during the summer which really slowed me down.
Why the French Resistance? Special existing knowledge on your part, or just interest?
… more … “Interview with Author Meg Wolfe: How Do You Write?”
If you are an author, here are some tips for selling books on Amazon. There is no silver bullet for success. I can’t guarantee you will sell books if you follow my Ten Commandments. However, failure is almost surely guaranteed if you don’t have a successful plan. Keep in mind that it’s a tough world out there. It’s very difficult to sell books.
These commandments are written in order of importance and production sequence: … more … “The Ten Commandments of Book Selling (Guest Post by Alex Zabala)”
This is an excerpt from an unpublished work.
“Jacob, are you even listening to me?” His mom always seemed to think he was ignoring her.
“I didn’t hear you. Sorry.”
“I’m standing right here. I’m glad you love reading, but honestly, you get so lost in those books. Are you going or not?”
“Aw, mom. It’s a bunch of girls and they don’t even like music.”
“You can talk to girls. And even, heaven forbid, people who don’t like music.”
… more … “Mom and Dad and Bets”
I need these. You might, too.
- Where is this scene taking place?
- What is your character feeling right now?
- What is the point of this scene?
- What is your protagonist’s goal?
Lakin’s details make the questions meaningful. Read ’em.
A guitarist I once knew said he had a friend who wanted a band to play at his anniversary party.
I said “Take the gig, and we’ll put a band together.”
He blinked a couple times and said “I find your level of confidence disturbing.”
Since I grew up (at the age of 43) I’ve often leapt from airplanes with a silkworm instead of a parachute. It lends immediacy to the task.
I chickened out just a little and didn’t tell you about this until I was 11,000 words in, but I’m writing another light mystery, a 1,000-word chapter at a time, over on my personal blog. It’s called A Long Hard Look.
I have an idea where the story will go, just as when you leap from an airplane you’re fairly certain of your destination.
Getting there in one piece, though, is not a foregone conclusion.
Say hello again to Cheryl Campbell, YA author with an unusual perspective I admire.
Burnt Mountain The Monster Within was born from an idea that I wanted to try to write a story that my niece (at the time 5 years old) and nephew (at the time 3 years old) might enjoy as teenagers. I figured this would give me plenty of time to come up with something, and plenty of time to figure out how to get it done. I had never written a book before and had zero clue about how to do it. So I sat down, jotted some notes, typed a few pages, and kept chipping away at it. Many revisions later it started to take on some shape.
As I kept going, the shape became more recognizable as a story. I was watching movies and reading a lot to figure out what made the stories that I loved so great. Lord of the Rings, both the books and the movies were key factors in my research. Star Wars also ranked at the top. What I loved so much about them was the way they crossed all age groups. Anyone, any age could get in to see Star Wars. No profanity. No sex. No graphic violence. Both franchises had movies with some violence, but none of them were rated R.
… more … “The Language of Young Adult Fiction (Guest Post by Cheryl Campbell)”
All writing is art.
My father worked in Production Control for an electronics company. What that meant was that he was primarily responsible for whether the stuff that was made came out right. (Quality Control, where he started out, is about finding what’s wrong when Production Control fails.) No amount of training and oversight can supplant a good written procedure.
He wrote procedures he could send off from his office in Tijuana to techs in Boston and they could be followed blindly without modification.
Over the years I’ve settled into some assumptions about what kinds of writing are harder than others. (I do not warrant this information to be useful. I just hope it’s interesting.)
… more … “Why Poetry is Harder to Write Than Non-Fiction”