Category Archives: Writers Block

Three Thing Thursday


Today was a little bit harder than yesterday. I didn’t  get writing as soon as I would have liked to, and then family was here. I do have a super cute baby living in my house.

Hint: stick to the schedule you set up for yourself. Perhaps you will be able to make this writing time for the next 30 or so days into a real habit.

Hint: write the title of this book you’re working on a 3 x 5 card. Use block letters. Post this title where you can see it every time you sit down to work on your book.

Wrasslers Gals


Carol Lynch Williams

If I see this every single time I sit down to work, I can imagine this middle grade novel coming to life, being printed, and finding its way into the hands of little girls.

Do this with you WIP.

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Kyra, Plot, Uncategorized, Writers Block, Writing Marathon, writing process

Monday, Monday

Things I Have Learned in the Last Month

  1. I have found if you are always cold, your heating bill isn’t as much as when you are warm.
  2. If you make goals and then watch TV all the time, you never reach your goal. Even if you are watching all the Friends episodes. Or all the Sherlock episodes starring Engelbart Humperdinky. Or all the House episodes even when you hate House.
  3. Lots of dogs make lots of dog hair. This does not make you warmer, and yes, you will awaken with a hair in your mouth and or war. I bet even very clean Cheri earl has dog hair somewhere at her house. Maybe not in dinner, but somewhere.
  4. Grief freezes you.
  5. If you write the emotion you’re feeling when you come up with a new book idea then set the book idea aside, later when you come back to it you’ll remember why you love this new idea.
  6. The older you get the more tired you are. Unless you’re eating right and exercising. At least that’s what I’ve heard.
  7. Adult children, and writing partners, are even more naughty than little children.
  8. The more you brain storm, the more you can brain storm. This goes for ideas for new books, plots you’re having trouble with, and where to store your canned corn.
  9. Babies are amazing.
  10. Writing for just five minutes each day keeps a story alive, keeps you interested, means you’re that much closer to publishing success.



Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, Publication, Writers Block

Moving Forward–It’s All About Trust

Last night, as I got ready for bed, I pulled out a pad of paper that I’ve been trying to use up (am I the only person out there who owns 836 pads of paper only partially used?). I’ve written goals for when school is out in less than a month.

“Hey,” I said to Carolina. “I gotta come up with something for my novel. I’m about a chapter into the middle of a mid-grade. Maybe two chapters in.”

She looked at me. Probably got scared I was gonna start whining the way I always do when I’m writing the middle of a book.

Ah, yes. The Icky Middles.

This is the place where people develop Writer’s Block.

That thing I don’t believe in.

This is the place where, for me (and lots others–hence so many beginning and fewer completed pieces) the writing gets really tough.

The middle of a book is the work of writing.

Sure, I have all the ideas for this novel.  Right here in my head. Now all I need are words.

Words for the middle.

Interesting words, thank you very much.

So. Last night, in a couple-of-minutes brain storm session, I came up with the middle of the novel.


Here’s my Number One hint about Writing for the Middle of the Book: Trust Yourself.

As I sat with that pad of paper, I thought about my twin gal characters.

And their grandparents.

I knew this book couldn’t be a story about the actual 150 mile trip they would make.  I already have a novel about a trip. Everyone in the world should buy and read Signed, Skye Harper. This will make me rich plus you’ll get what I’m saying about trips in stolen vehicles and kissing and chickens and dogs. (Information added for intrigue.)


Back to my sitting and thinking.

As writers, we leave clues for our readers. Just like in a mystery. All these clues  play into the middle of the book.

For example, this novel is set in 1969.


What significant thing happened in 1969?

What music was popular?

What did Florida look like?

One of these three things will play more heavily into the plot than the other two (those will add details that makes the book feel real.).

What about wrasseling in the late sixties? After all, this is a book about wrasseling.

How much fact can I twist for my own benefit? Throw over my shoulder? Squeeze into a choke hold?

What other clues were hidden in the opening of this mid grade?

Of course. The rest of players in the story.

What about Miss Emery, Etta’s teacher?

And Mr. Johnson, Kat’s teacher?

What about The Fabulous Moolah?

And Ray who can sing the Star Spangled Banner like an adult. Will he show up again?

Anyone else?

I’ve set up these sisters who are competitive with each other. Can I use that int he story?

Then the grandparents hate each other. Will that play into the middle?

What about the four of them running off without permission. How will that work?

What I’m saying is, the clues I leave for a reader, well, they’re in the book for me, too. I planted them as I wrote the opening. And I didn’t even know I was doing it.

Last night I wrote down several events that could happen.

This morning, while typing this blog post, I thought of one or two more incidents.

Now all I need to do is get to writing.

Uncover and use what’s waiting for me.

Just trust myself.

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Filed under CLW, Plot, Writers Block, writing process

It’s Over! Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers 2014

It’s Monday after WIFYR and I feel like I’ve been run through a wringer. Or a wronger. (I am wronger than you.)

My class was amazing.

The mini workshops were amazing.

Next year will be amazing. Yes. I am already working on it.


One of the best things I did in my class this year was read Ann Dee Ellis‘ book The End or Something Like That out loud. This is the 2nd time I’ve read the book (we only read for a total of 50 minutes, so we didn’t finish) and I saw so much good in it. Ann Dee is amazing at literally weaving plot lines together. They come from all angles. This way and that. They side step each other, side swipe each other, inform each other and support each other. I’m not sure how she does it.

Another best thing was my song with Cheri Pray Earl. Yes, we had to start over. Cheri always makes us start over. And yes, I looked like a blue bowling pin. But the lyrics to the song were funny.

Finally the very best thing we did was the dance. One person commented it was weird. Another said never do it again. But I danced and laughed and had so much fun. The best best part, however, was we asked for gently used or new books as a ticket into the dance. These were gathered for the Hopi Community Center (and maybe a library some day?) in Arizona. The good people at Writing and illustrating for Young Readers–Attendees and Faculty and Assistants–gave nearly 400 books. 400!

Thank you to Cynthia Leitich Smith, Greg Leitich Smith, Brodi Ashton, Jen White, Ken Baker, John Cusick, Michelle Witte, Amy Jameson, Sherry Meidell, Cheri Pray Earl, Ann Edwards CannonKristin Ostby, Ilima Todd, J Scott Savage, Shawn Stout, Lisa Mangum, James Dashner, Emily Wing Smith, Jennifer Nielsen, Ann Dee Ellis, Jan Pinborough, Courtney Alameda, Natalie Whipple, and Wendy Toliver. You gave the conference great depth. You were funny, kind and sincerely supportive to the writers and illustrators who came.

Thank you, too, to the assistants who made this possible: Debbie Nance, Becca Birkin, Alison Randall, Michelle Hubbard, Kevin Smith, Joel Smith, Amy White, Bruce Luck, Becca Ogden Jensen, Cindy Stagg, Melanie Skelton, Robin Johnson and Stephanie Moore. I could never have done this without you. I wouldn’t want to.

And finally, Caitlynne Williams and Kyra Williams ran around like crazy helping me. Thank you, Girls. I love you both.

And now, Everyone, start setting aside funds for next year! Yup, we keep doing this crazy event. Or am I the crazy one?


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