Wonderful Writing World

writing ozJPGA Trip to Writing Oz!

Many writers approach novel writing like Dorothy. They are naïve, hopeful, idealistic, and enthusiastic, which are all admirable traits.

But then the tornado of advice, information, do’s & dont’s, and publishing data sweeps you up into its maelstrom. You stare helplessly as frightening visions of platform building, branding, blogging, social media engagement, website ranking, editing, and querying zip past. It’s enough to make anyone jump into bed and pull the blankets over their head!

If you’re fortunate, Glinda the Good Mentor will show you the writing-editing-querying path and provide the essential footwear for the journey—namely a sparkly belief in the magic and promise of attaining your dream while keeping yourself grounded with the truth of publishing.

Alas! The realities—aka the Wicked Witch of Writing—of finishing your novel are sure to threaten your self-confidence from time to time. But have faith! You can reach the wonderful Land of Writing Oz!

Although the journey requires facing your inner Scarecrow, Tin man, and Cowardly Lion, all a writer needs is some brains (and good ol’ fashioned common sense), the heart to believe in yourself, and the courage to brave the enchanted forest of pitching and querying.

Beware of the flying monkeys like doubt, naysayers, and sabotaging behaviors.

Of course, you may discover that the Wizard of Writing is, in fact, an illusion. There is no one secret, no magic formula, no one genre nor method to achieve your writing dream.

The answer is in you… in the knowledge gained from the writing process, the value of supportive friends, the actions and attitudes of perseverance, and finding the inner strength to face challenges with grace and humility.

Then and only then will you be able to say “there’s no place like home” when sitting in front of your work in progress!

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’; Symbols & more Symbols; Rock Your Writing

Whine Country Tour

writing whinesDid a bit of wine tasting this weekend, which is always a fun way to unwind from the work week. While driving home  the next day, I was reminded of another kind of whine—WHINING.  Yup, writers love to  whine with their wine. And, naturally, writers have lots to whine about!

What’s your favorite writing whine?

1.   lack of writing time
2.   missing muse
3.   technology troubles
4.   platform or brand building
5.   lack of blogging topics
6.   social media snafus
7.   plot problems
8.   web wandering
9.   finding great beta readers
10. finding effective critique groups
11. Troll-like reviewers
12. self-publishing headaches liked cover art, editing, coding, and technology issues
13. self-publishing scams
14. FaceBook face-offs  ( do not engage )
15. crafting a query
16. writing a summary
17. agent quest
18. coping with rejection
19. expense to attend writers conference
20. the cost of having your book professionally critiqued and/or edited
21. Trolls—from the G to the X-rated
22. book sales—or rather  the lack thereof
23. Amazon algorithms
24. the magical mysterious world of publishing


Yup, writers have lots of whine about. But before you uncork a bottle of Whine  and indulge in the sour grapes of wrath remember how very fortunate you are to have found your passion in life! Most people never do! How lucky are we writers who are happiest just writing—time flying by while we are engaged in an enterprise filling us with contentment and joy and accomplishment.

Don’t let whining prevent you from enjoying, learning, and continuing your passion in life! Hurdles make us stronger, rejection makes us more courageous, and writing woes makes us more determined.

Did I leave out your favorite writing whine?

Related Poasts: Readin’ & Writin’; Rock Your Writing

Breakfast Beta Readers

beta readersWriters NEED beta readers! It’s near impossible for most of us to determine if our work in progress is horrid or brilliant—or somewhere in between. That’s why it’s soooo sweet when we find effective beta readers.

Beta readers come in all shapes and sizes—kind of like breakfast cereals—each have their own style and unique charm!

Luck Charms’ Leprechaun: You deem this person your “lucky” beta reader. Not only are you lucky they agreed to beta read for you, their comments and suggestions are always sugar sweet. Using their analytic spade, they spoon through through your creamy plot  to make suggestions that are magically delicious.

Frosted Flakes’ Tony the Tiger: This beta reader thinks everything you wrote is  “Gr-r-reat!” Which is great for your ego but maybe not so great for your manuscript. Although this beta readers can be a bit flaky at times—promising to finish reading by next week only to extend it until who-knows-when—they are often your most loyal and enthusiastic cheerleaders.

Rice Krispies’ Snap, Crackle, & Pop: Whether this refers to your beta reading team or a single beta reader with multiple talents, they excel at multiple levels. They find typos and awkward syntax in a snap!  Poor characterization or a plot flaws pop out at them! Although their stellar and knowledgeable literary/editing skills cause them ( and rightly so) to act a bit puffed up, they crackle with glee over a great story!

Fruit Loops’ Toucan: They follow their nose—it always knows—the flavor of a fruitful manuscript. These beta readers sniff out plot, characterization, setting, and theme from far away—perhaps the first chapter. And because they have a nose for the art of fiction they provide genre-specific comments.

Cap’n Crunch’s Cap’n Crunch: This beta reader looks at everything through their telescope and gladly rescues writers from soggy manuscripts by suggesting more crunch to their writing. Although they might not be a real captain of writing their comments are delivered in a Sea of Milky approval.

Yet, as you know, not all beta readers are sweet, so I’ll save a spoof on harmful beta readers for another post.

Related posts: Rock Your Writing; Readin’ & Writin’

Collateral Damage

collateral damageOne of the many perils of writing is dealing with the fallout from months of obsessive…um…enthusiastic writing, rewriting, and tweaking. There’s lots of fabulous information about what writers should do, yet not too much about what we don’t!

Here’s a What-Doesn’t-Get-Done list. Does it look like yours?

  • Any project at all—be it as easy as sewing on a button to shopping for more bookshelves.
  • Clean the fridge… or any time-consuming cleaning and organizing task!
  • Hang with friends. (True friends already know you’re a bit obsessive…um enthusiastic, that, and they really want to read your next book! )
  • Organize/file bills and receipts ( Thank goodness for auto pay.)
  • Shop for shoes. ( Comfort can’t be assessed on a website. )
  • Bake…except if it’s one of my children’s birthdays and they asked for a cake.
  • Cook any meal requiring more than an hour of prep and cook time—if there’s food in the house hubby should consider himself lucky.
  • Regular work outs decrease as the light-at-the-end-of-the-WIP-tunnel increases—   my fingers, however, are in excellent shape!
  • Impromptu visits to fun places. ( Usually a daughter drags me by the hair to the beach. “An afternoon away from the keyboard won’t hurt mom, I promise.”)
  • Stare lovingly into hubby’s eyes—oh, wait I don’t do that, and anyway it would probably mess up his golf stroke.
  • Teach the pooch new tricks. She’ll have to be content with mooching treats with the old ones.
  • Attempt any website overhaul—I’ve been itching to update my layout for months.

So what does one do in that brief bit of time between old project and new project? All of the above of course! And they will all be done with gleeful-happy-exuberant joy because, by golly, another novel is complete.

Maybe one day I’ll learn to manage my time better…nah…where’s the fun in that??

Related links: Rock Your Writing; Readin’ & Writin’

NFL Draft for Novels

NFL character draftsDo you choose characters like an NFL draft? Let’s break it down!

1st Round Draft Picks: These are the BIG stars. In the football world, they have talent and that ‘it’ factor to get the team to the promised land (Super Bowl). The 1st round picks in your novel are the protagonist and antagonist. You—as coach—must hone their natural talent and skill to get the most out of them—full character development  achieved through countless hours spent with dialog, action, and description. Readers expect great—or horrible—things from them! A 1st round draft pick who doesn’t deliver sends your team—your project—into the dumpster.

2nd Round: These are very good players who will—or should—complement the star players. These characters also complement your main characters by acting as a foil ( a character who highlights or contrasts the main character’s qualities. An example is Mercutio to Romeo ), and/or acting as the trusted confidant, and/or involved in a subplot. These characters are not usually as fleshed out as the stars but  readers feel they ‘know’ them just the same.

3rd-5th Round: These are supporting players building the team. They may not be the stars or 2nd picks but they are an integral part of making a team championship caliber. These characters can make or break your story by being ineffective, unbelievable, or cliche. A strong cast of characters—no matter how much ‘play’ time they get makes a stronger story.

6-7th Round: These players have potential and may even make the team but they are long shots. Sometimes these characters blossom while writing the story, even if it’s a bit part in your plot but chances are you didn’t even give them a name.

Mister Irrelevant: Celebrated one moment, gone the next! The last pick of the draft. These characters are expendable, a quick DELETE scene/paragraph and the writer forgets about them. They don’t usually make your story’s final cuts.

Undrafted Free Agents: These players need to try-out on a team, and although they rarely make the cut they may have latent talent. Likewise, these characters may be hidden gems or have potential for your next project. Don’t discount them.

Now that you’ve assembled your cast of excellent characters on Team Novel you’ve got a shot at the big time—finding an agent or scoring a publishing contract!!

Go, team, go!!

Related links: Readin’ &Writing’; Rock Your Writing