Questionable: Is Collaborating on a Novel a Good Idea?

Danielle asked:
A friend recently approached me about collaborating. I think we could be great together but she is not a writer. She is a devoted reader and I trust her judgment. . . . What advice or resources would you have for someone taking on a partner? I don’t think she’ll be interested in the grunt work but in the plotting and world building.

In your case as described, I would strongly advise not to.  In fact, run away.

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This is a Good Book Thursday, April 18, 2019

I think my reading mojo is off. I seem to be obsessively re-reading instead of looking at the new books I have. Comfort reading, even though the days here are now beautiful and sunny, and taxes are over, and there’s nothing stressful on the horizon except finishing my damn book. And yet . . .

What did read this week that was comforting? Or interesting? Or exciting? Or just plain good?

Argh Author: Deborah Blake’s Wickedly Unraveled

Our own Deb Blake is is the author of the Baba Yaga Series from Berkley (Wickedly DangerousWickedly Wonderful, Wickedly Powerful), the Broken Rider Series, and has published nine books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide. Her latest novel, Wickedly Unraveled, is out now. Oh and there’s this from Deb: “I’m doing a huge giveaway over on my blog to celebrate. Check out all the goodies! There’s even a Fire tablet. So hurry on over to http://deborahblake.blogspot.comto enter.”

And now, more about Wickely Unraveled . . .

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Questionable: How Do You Move a Story Through Time?

Colognegrrl asked:
I am presently working on a manuscript that has been giving me hell. I know where I’m coming from and where I want to end, but in between are a lot of problems. The main challenge is to fill the time gaps, you know like “this scene is on Sunday and the next important thing happens on Thursday, but what did she do in between? She must have met the guy, she must have done this and that, it’s too boring to tell but how do you take the reader from Sunday to Thursday …?”

This is called a segue and it’s used all the time. The easiest way is to dump everything into a clause: 

“For the next five days, Jane tried to pretend she didn’t care, throwing herself into her work, but on Thursday . . . “

If stuff happens during that time, you may need a full sentence: 

“Jane snapped at her mother on Sunday, savaged a client on Monday, kicked a dog on Tuesday, wept helplessly at work on Wednesday, and then fired her assistant on Thursday when he said, ‘This has to stop.’ Except he was right, so she rehired him and then that afternoon went to see Richard.”  Worst case scenario: It takes an entire paragraph as summary.

The key is to find out if there’s any info in that five days that must be on the page.  If there isn’t, stick with the basics:

“Five days later, Jane . . . “

Argh Happy

I was just thinking about how happy the comments on Argh make me. You know the ones I mean: about working on the garden at the new house, about having lunch with the daughter, about watching the little one help his baby brother walk, about meetings with nieces and old friends, about powering through problems and keeping on going no matter what and being grateful for the family and significant others that are always there. I treasure the Argh people, all of you, but I also love the extended world connected to you, connections full of joy and comfort and laughter, good food and good gardens and good books and good times. I am so grateful to you all for sharing all of that here. Makes me all warm inside. Thank you.

What made you all warm inside this week?

Cherry Saturday, April 13, 2019

Today is Scrabble Day, celebrating a brilliant game that’s now so iconic they make jewelry out of vintage pieces (has to be wood tiles, not the plastic). What other game demands the use of a dictionary and a million ways to use Q and X? I wouldn’t even know what “qi” meant without Scrabble. Best game ever (although Clue runs a close second for many reasons I will not go into here).

Happy Scrabble Day!

Questionable: How Do You Start and Develop Subplots?

K asked:
Do you start out knowing all of the subplots? Or do they tumble and bump into each other along the way? Are there certain ways you like to develop subplots? Or do they just come to you?  Are they villain driven?

As I believe I’ve said before, I don’t recommend my method. I never know what the hell I’m doing in the beginning.  I just write.  Characters show up.  Some of them are interesting enough they develop their own plot lines.  Some of those I have to put the kibosh on because they’re cluttering up the story (good-bye, Mort).  Some of them echo the main plot or act as a foil to the main plot, and they deepen what’s happening in the story as a whole, so I keep them (hello, Max and Button).  So for the first discovery draft, I just let them happen. After that, as always, I analyze. And to analyze I go back to basic plot structure.

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