Tag Archives: hints

Three Things Thursday

I keep forgetting about posting on today because I have to teach. But I am up early for me today and here I am!

First, thank you Lynne for the very delicious caramels. They worked beautifully for my party last night. Lynne is an amazing writer and an amazing woman and I feel lucky to know her.  Her heart is as big as Provo. Also, guess what? She water colors and is quite good.

Our Upcoming March Madness Marathon: Preparing for March 18-31

1. Make a goal for your writing. This goal is very personal. It can be as many words, or as few words, as you like. You can decide to rewrite a book completely. You can start with a new idea and write the first half of a novel or the whole thing or whatever. HINT: This is a marathon. We are pushing ourselves. So don’t use this organized time to play around but, instead, really work hard. You know what hard is for you. Go for it.

a. My goal for me: decide between next two books–dark YA or fun, light YA.

b. Write a very rough and dirty 100 pages or 25,000 words.

1A. Make a secret goal. If you are like me and always set your goal too high (like 1000 goals for the New Year), make another goal that is more private. My secret goal is to finish the book. This won’t happen, I know, because I am a very slow typist and I usually need two whining weeks when I get to the middle of the book. But still, I like to think I could do this. Ann Dee CAN do this. I have seen her write a book in a  day. Or something close to that.

2. Start planning what you want to write NOW. This does not have to be a word-for-word detailed, synopsis (unless you want it to be). I don’t ever write that way. HINT: So when I started the Motor Home, One-legged Rooster book, Steve sent the first few chapters to see if Paula Wisemen was interested in what I was doing. She asked for a few more pages and a few more and a few more. Then she asked for a synopsis. It did me some good to think ahead and wonder what might happen to my character. There are just ideas in that synopsis of mine, things I can change if I want to. Nothing is set in stone. But, like this motor home driving toward Las Vegas from Florida, I now have a bit of a direction.

2A. Give yourself a list of fifty things that could happen in the novel. You won’t use them all. And that’s okay. But think of those ideas like a highway and set up a few markers along the way of things that might happen.

PS Knowing the climax, or having a feel for what the climax might be, is important.

3. Decide now how much you will accomplish each day next week. Tuesday-Thursdays are my harder days. Do I get up earlier? Eat through dinner? Write during class?  Stephen King, my favoritest role model, has a certain number of words he writes every day and he doesn’t get up until he’s done. I mean, he doesn’t get up and quit writing until he’s done. He may get up and like, use the potty or something. HINT: Writing to a goal gives you something to work toward for that day.REWARD: Last night checked on the place we will do our readings (from our new books) and have lunch or dinner. I’ll reserve this restaurant. We’ll eat (in a private room), hand out prizes, read and laugh our guts out. Cost will be whatever you have for lunch. It will be a fun 2.5 hours. Tentative date: April 8, 2013. Sorry that this part squished up into the other. I can’t make it be a separate paragraph. I blame WordPress.


Filed under Agents, CLW, Exercises, Plot, three thing thursday, Writing Marathon

Danger! Will Robinson! Danger!

Okay everyone–already we have had had quite a few submissions for Project Writeway. In fact, I had just posted a note on Ann Dee’s write up of the contest and two people submitted.

So, here’s what I have to say.
You can only enter the contest one time per challenge, so take your time.
Read through what you have.
Ask yourself these questions–
Is this beginning THE very best you have ever written?
Could this be tweaked?
Are you so close to your work that you don’t see the flaws?
Could someone give your contest submission a quick read-through?
Are you wasting words? Not using enough words? Are you trying to do too much? Are you writing the opening too slowly or too quickly as far as pacing goes?

Once, a million years ago, Richard Peck spoke here in Utah. And I was his driver and got to talk to him. I was in heaven. It was great spending time with one of my favorite writers.
Anyway, when he spoke to a packed audience he said (and this is from memory from a million years ago), “You’re no better than your first line.”
Of course he meant was we need to start with a line that grabs the reader.

At one point, Richard looked at two pages of an unpublished middle grade novel I’d written. “I like so much of this,” he said, “but this isn’t your best first line.”
I took the piece home and realized that the best line was just one or two sentences down. I chopped away that first line or two and then I had it, a great first line, hidden in the words.

Richard said a lot of terrific things that day to me and during his speeches. But what I came away with (and this has evolved over the years since his visit as I have written and rewritten and rerewritten and rererewritten and . . .) is that every word is important.

Many of today’s books would tell you differently, that only story matters.
And maybe if publication at all costs is your desire, that’s true for you.
But I think that writing is more than that. It’s the perfect start, the best word choice and a strong story line.
It’s writing and rewriting and rerewriting and rererewriting and . . .

Take your time during this contest.
Put your best work forward.
Make every word count.
And, most of all, have fun!

PS Even if you are eliminated, continue to Play at Home (we’ll tell you how). There’s a prize for the Play at Home winner, too!
Plus a few give-aways.
And schtuff!
Yippee ti yi yo!


Filed under CLW