First Three Pages

Last Saturday I attended my local Romance Writers of America Chapter’s meeting. This month’s MMRWA program focused on the first three pages of members’ WIPs (works in progress). I’m not exactly sure how many members submitted their first three pages, but there were at least a dozen read during the … Continue reading

The Agony of Defeat

I want to continue my comparison of athletes to writers. Both athletes and writers enter competitions (the Olympics or other athletic contests for the athlete and writing contests or efforts to have a book published for the writer). Both enter with their best (best conditioning, best routine, or best manuscript). … Continue reading

Practice, Practice, Practice

I’ve been watching the Olympics, and I realized there are a lot of similarities between a successful athlete and a successful writer. Athletes who want to compete at the highest level practice. Most do this daily or almost daily. They don’t let illness stop them or family events. Because they … Continue reading

Can You Write About Real Places?

Recently I’ve been seeing emails where the topic is the following question: Can I Use Real Places? The answers (as they should be) have been “Yes,” “No,” and “It depends.” It depends on what real places (Disney is very protective of its Trademark and anything to do with its products … Continue reading

The Misadventures of Catie Bloom

Last week I had the pleasure of reading a delightful romance (The Misadventures of Catie Bloom) written by my niece, Brooke Stanton. For weeks I (and many others) have been receiving teasers announcing the coming release of this book. I remember even voting, sometime in the past, on which cover … Continue reading

How Many Plots Are There?

Back in May a new writer asked how to keep others from copying her plot. My answer was: “There are only so many plots, so everyone is copying. It’s how each individual presents the plot that makes one story different from another.” The discussion then moved into how many plots … Continue reading

Come Saturday, Come Sunday

I’ve been friends with Joe Novara for over ten years. We were in a critique group together for some of that time, and after that group disbanded, Joe and his wife Rosalie acted as Beta readers for my novel A Killer Past. In return, I’ve had a chance to read parts … Continue reading

He Said, She Asked

Said and asked are two words that become almost invisible in a story. They help identify who’s speaking—he said or she asked—but they don’t draw attention to themselves. (Unless used too often when not necessary.) Recently I took advantage of Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. I was trying to decide if … Continue reading

Agents Advice on Query Letters

On June 22, 2016 the Authors’ Guild had an interview for their Industry and Advocacy News titled “Agents’ Roundtable: Three Agents Reveal What They’re Really Looking for from Authors.” The roundtable included David Forrer, from Inkwell Management; Eric Myers, from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management; and Regina Ryan from Regina … Continue reading

Query vs Synopsis

Both the query letter and the synopsis are tools used to convince an agent or editor to buy a story. A synopsis is often also used by marketing to sell the book to reps and distributors, and the art department wants one to help with a cover. Most writers will … Continue reading

10 Ways NOT To Get Published

Want to be published? Then don’t do the following: Send your manuscript to the wrong publisher. I have a friend who, early in her writing career, sent a sweet romance short story to Hussler magazine. Now, when she looks back on that, she says she bets the editorial staff had … Continue reading

How Much Does It Cost?

I was at the Portage District Library last Thursday talking with a group of writers and one woman asked how much it cost to publish an ebook. I had to give the unsatisfying answer of “It depends.” I decided that would be a good topic for a blog, especially since Friday … Continue reading

Categorizing Your Writing

Last Saturday I had a writer friend say she wasn’t sure what to call her story in a query letter. She was debating between science fiction or futuristic, but mostly she wanted something that would give an agent a good idea of what the story was about. Hers was a … Continue reading

Sifting Through The Comments

What do you do if you’ve entered a contest and the scores you receive range from high to low and the judges’ comments seem to contradict each other? Or if you belong to a critique group where some of the members tell you what you’ve written is fantastic while others … Continue reading

Building a Character: GMC

In 1994 Debra Dixon was the guest speaker at the Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter’s “Retreat From Harsh Reality.” That was the first time I heard her talk about GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. It was one of those light bulb moments. I’d been writing for over ten years by then, but … Continue reading

Retreat Aftermath

Last week I wrote about going to a writers’ retreat. (Retreat from Harsh Reality.) Well, I’m back, energized, and ready to write. Christie Craig is a wonderful speaker. First of all, she has roots in Alabama and lives in Texas, which means she has a way of talking and an … Continue reading

A Cure for the Dumps

Friday I’m heading for the Bay Pointe Inn on the banks of Michigan’s beautiful Gun Lake. My husband grew up in this area, so over the years we’ve often visited Gun Lake. We used to drive up for Sunday brunch at the original Bay Pointe Inn, before they tore it … Continue reading