Your Moment of Dog, March 14, 2017

So today at about 9:30, I opened the front door to the expected blizzard. I shoveled a path to the driveway and then quit before I had a heart attack. Yes, it was still snowing, but it’s easier to shovel a foot of snow at a time than it is to shovel four, and this stuff isn’t supposed to stop until eight tonight. We’re getting two to three inches an hour. You do the math.

The dogs do not do math. I went inside, yelled, “Outside!” (their favorite word next to “Cookie!”) and Milton and Mona raced through the door. Continue reading

Act One, Part One: Parallel Scenes for the Beginning

The opening scene of any story should be (if I’m writing it, your mileage may differ) the transition from the stable world into the unstable. That doesn’t mean that everything is hunky dory at the beginning of the scene, there can be a lot of trouble, but it’s the usual trouble, nothing new, the protagonist’s world is still working the way he or she expects it to. And then Something Happens that turns the stable world into an unstable one. Continue reading

Cherry Saturday: 3-11-2017

Today is Oatmeal Nut Waffle Day. And I object.

I don’t object to oatmeal nut waffles, I’m sure they’re tasty and good for you. I object to this insanely specific day. I can go along with Waffle Day or World Nut Day, maybe even Oatmeal Waffle Day, but when you get down to a double-modifier, you’re just being ridiculous.

Bottom line: Eat whatever waffles you want. The Waffle God will still be appeased. Continue reading

Act One: The Synopsis

One of the things that charting an act can do (once you’re at the truck draft stage) is give you the synopsis of the act. Yes, I know synopses usually are for entire stories, but if you think of each act as a story in itself (and I do), then an act synopsis is a huge help because if you can tell yourself in one paragraph the plot of an act, you can hold the shape of that act in your head as you revise. A discovery draft is “this happens, and then this happens, and oh look what just showed up, and then this happens and wait this happened earlier, and . . .” It’s incoherent because it’s not supposed to be coherent, it’s supposed to be creative and free and anything goes.

The truck draft has to be coherent. Continue reading

Act One: The Big Picture

As has probably become painfully clear, I’m one of those writers who has to see what she’s written to see what she’s writing, the fictional equivalent of “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” This makes the writing process long and convoluted. I have tried to streamline it (I wrote three books with an outline-first Green Beret), and it does not work for me (I think the Green Beret is now in therapy because of those three books). This is how it works for me, and there’s no point in wasting time trying to find a way to not waste so much time.

Which means that more than a year after I said, “I’m not going to write this book,” I’m only about half done and I’m still trying to figure out exactly how this book works. So it’s Big Picture Time. Continue reading

Dreaming Blurbs (Rev.) (Rev. Again) (Rev Again)

I woke up this morning with one of those She/He blurbs in my brain. I have no idea, it’s not dreamwork, the last thing I did before I fell asleep was work a crossword. What was interesting about it, as I fought my way awake (very slow waker-upper here), was how it pointed out the weaknesses in the story. It’s not a good blurb, but evidently the Girls weren’t interested in good blurb, they were shrieking at me to fix my protagonist.

Here’s the bad blurb: Continue reading