Do We Have A Deal For You!

November 30, 2012

I'm Published!!! WOOT!

As the end of this year comes sailing towards us,  I’m offering the first 7 Deadly Serious Nano’ers who contact me, wanting to work on their stuff, a Post-NaNoWriMo-Deal.

Five 90 minute coaching sessions at my hourly lesson rate.  That’s like two and a half hours of free coaching work. I work on content edits, story structure and writing craft.

How can you not decide to try this offer?  I’m very serious about coaching novices to become the best writers they can be.  You can check the Bridge to Story site for my coaching style. Read the rest of this entry »

Scenes verses Narrative

November 25, 2012

You’re near the last days of your NaNo experience. And things are going so well you’re glad to give up just about anything to get more writing in. Your list of things to do has been whittled down to:

Write Sleep Eat Write

 And you wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s November and You are a writer!

That High will last a while once the month ends. But then you’ll think about looking things over, and settling in for some editing. It may take a month, or maybe four of them, but you’ll be coming back and re-reading your work, eventually.

Maybe you’ll find things seem a bit off – You may find yourself asking,

“Was this what I had in mind?” Read the rest of this entry »

I know I shouldn’t be telling you this trick about Chapter Breaks yet, but I couldn’t wait.

I’m bad that way.

Before I do though, let’s back up a second and I’ll show you my plan to date. If you remember, I decided this year to take some short stories and deconstruct them, to find my way into my own writings. I blogged about it HERE

I used the whole NaNo pre-work month reading a slew of short stories. Taking each one and deconstructing what was done in them craft-wise. So I came away with a set of notes, about 20 stories were picked over. Read the rest of this entry »

As I’ve said in the Nanowrimo threads, plenty of times in plenty of places, I’m a pantser…not a plotter.

Cat at laptop, writing fiction

Mitten’s 2012 NaNo effort


I’m working without an outline and very little pre-planning.

Essentially, in order to gear up for 2012 Nanowrimo, I just started talking to myself. Well actually, talking to myself and listening.

Basically, it went like this:

“So, what you want to write about?”

Me: “People. I think this should be character driven.”

“Okay. How many people do you want be writing about?”

Me: “Three’s a nice uncomfortable number let’s do 3.”

“3. Good, so um, how many men, how many women?”

Me: “That’s ah, one woman, older, and then, uh, a guy and another woman, yeah.”

“This isn’t, ah, going be like a Lifetime movie triangle thing is?”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

“Just kidding, ha ha h– oww! You punch hard. So tell me about the lady, older?”

Me: “Let’s make her a writer. Older than the guy… [Spoilers].”

“Okay, I can accept that in a non-Lifetime-movie, elevated kind of way. And the guy? How about him?”

Me:  “He’s some kind of editor, or agent, maybe… [ more Spoilers].”

“And this is nothing like a Lifetime movie?”

Me:  “Oh ye of little faith.”

“Fine. So what’s going on with the young lady?”

Me:  “Ah! Here’s where it gets good, see,…[Even better Spoilers]…

At this point I open up Scrivener, and try to get down a few ideas of how I want all this to look. It’s pretty basic. I don’t actually write plot points– that stuff stays in my head fermenting. It’s the only way to get that yeasty batch of ideas to rise.

I firmly resist putting them down until they just come spilling over the edge of the bowl. Nearly full-formed in the struggle to be noticed.

So, What I get down in Scrivener, are craft elements. Here are a few of my cards so you can see what I’m talking about.

I run a short Q/A card to remind myself quickly about what I eed to keep in mind.

But then I write out a longer version of it too, with examples of what I mean – for the moments I’m too weary to figure out my own shorthand notes:

Scrivener's Corkboard/ index card view As you can see, I also set up the Chapter cards  with the same info–

so each one will help me keep pace on the craft elements the story requires.



I don’t really need precise outlining.

For me, the ideas really will never stop coming. I’m never paranoid that I’ll run out of them. What does worry me from time to time is that I’ll forget that better writing doesn’t come accidentally. That there is a craft behind it. And I keep reminding myself about those craft elements.

The gift of storytelling is there, I was born with that. It’s the skill of writing stories that preoccupies me the most, for many of us this has to be learned.  And I learn and re-learn that each and every time I start up, edit, refine, and send out something.

Let’s hear from you, how are you pantsing it this November?

In celebration of the beginning of NaNoWriMo I’ve copied over, and revised, three NaNo posts of writing advice. I complied these in time for the kick off of this year’s NaNoWriMo. These come from three different Threads, probably in three different Forums, even.

Puppy winking at you, "You're Awesome!"



They may help a few of you. Take what you can use and leave the rest. Advice is never a one-size fits all. I write Literary Fiction, and these posts show that leaning. Nevertheless, trying to write well is trying to write well. Here we go… Read the rest of this entry »