Writing Resource – Writing the Breakout Novel

Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maas is another great resource for fiction writers. There is also a valuable workbook by the same name. I have used both in my training through CWG. Either resource could stand alone, because even though a lot of the material is the same, it’s not coordinated or formatted to correspond with each other. Example: Chapter One of the book is Why Write the Breakout Novel? Chapter One of the Workbook is on Character Development: From Protagonist to Hero.

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Process – Finally A Step Closer

Meghan's Choice in semi-finals

Meghan’s Choice in semi-finals

I finally got some good news on Sunday. Back in September I entered Operation First Novel from Christian Writers Guild. Even though the Guild has closed, Jerry B. Jenkins has promised to follow through with everything that began this year, and included Operation First Novel.

I got an email on Sunday. Meghan’s Choice made the semi-finals. Yeah! There are ten of us. After receiving three rejections, and you’ve gotten to read all about them, with a couple saying my book wasn’t ready for publication, when I knew it was – well this has done me a boatload of good. It makes it all worthwhile. Because I’ve been wondering about that. I’ve invested thousands of dollars in myself, developing my writing, learning, getting it edited, taking the Guild classes, and connecting with many other writers, both published and pre-published.

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Writer’s Resource – Plot and Structure


James Scott Bell's Plot & Structure

James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure

One of my resources for writers is James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure. I read some of this book as part of my online writers classes. It’s very good, and covers a lot.

What I like about this book is that he has it laid out very well, and there graphs, tips, quotes, and at the end of each chapter is a set of writing exercises. That’s what makes this book practical. In his Introduction, Bell has six tips which explain what it takes to learn to plot. (from pages 3 – 5) In later posts at later times, we’ll skim through and see what Bell has to offer – or – you can get the book and read it yourself. I’m just going give you a taste of them.

Today’s Recommended Resource: James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure. Everything you need to know about plotting out a masterpiece can be gotten from this book.

Example of an Exercise: “Go over the opening chapter of your work in progress (or write one now). What techniques will you use to grab the reader from the very first paragraph?”


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Writer’s Resource – the Emotion Thesaurus

Emotion Thesaurus

Emotion Thesaurus

I recently purchased The Emotional Thesaurus through Amazon. I haven’t explored it thoroughly, but from what I’ve seen, it’s going to be very helpful.

How do you write anger, joy, desperation, despair, or denial? Let’s look first at how the book is laid out. The emotion is at the top of a two-page spread. A definition is given, followed by a LOT of physical signals, in other words, describing what a person does who feels this emotion.

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Writing Resources

My small library

My small library

Sometimes I think I’m a librarian with all the books I own. I live in the United States, and books, both print and electronic are easy to come by. So today, since some of you are not from the U.S., but represent 33 countries, I’m going to share with you some of the resources I have that I’ve learned some things from in my online writing classes, as well as books I’ve bought since.

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In the Meantime

Photo from Flickr

Photo from Flickr

As I continue to wait to hear from publishers and contests, I’ve decided to be proactive and continue to write something. A new friend said she continued to write full novels until finally one sold, then she had others to tweak on the heels of her first sale. In my life, I’ve put the cart before the horse many times, but there is something to be said about doing something while waiting.

So, what I’m going to do in the meantime is write a novella. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo, as you know, but I can still probably knock out a novella during the holidays. I’ve already started it. It’s Lighting. And I decided rather than revise the story, I’d just rewrite it in a bit different way. I got to it again yesterday.

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Avoiding Cynicism

Winter's coming

Winter’s coming

It’s easy to get discouraged and cynical these days – and I don’t even watch the news. You know the saying “no news is good news”? I avoid watching the news for that reason.

But I’m actually talking about writing. Sometimes no news won’t turn out to be good news. I think it’s human nature to put off the bad. I’m still waiting to hear from two publishers and two contests. I was told by one representative of one of the contests that I’d hear something by the end of November.

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Writing Tidbit – Conflict

conflict in stoneIn life, we hate it. Well, some of us do, some of us thrive on it. Some invoke it, others avoid it. What is it? Conflict. It’s a must when writing a story. I’m not published yet, but I still have learned a few things about writing. And I’m going to refer to some of those things I’ve learned. Most of these tidbits will come from my mentor’s book Dance of Character and Plot.

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Website Revisions

DSC01363Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I’ve done some revamping of this website, hopefully streamlining it a bit. I’ve put the Moments of Courage stories together under a new section.

And, I started another new section entitled Short Stories. My first story is called “Stuck – A Winter Disaster.” It’s posted in its entirety here under the new section tab.

Let me know what you of the revisions. Thanks for reading.

Things to be Thankful For – Friends

Thank You - AppreciatedTHANK YOU!

I’ve talked about this before a little bit, but I have rejection issues, so to be able to say I am thankful for friends is making me extremely grateful. You are part of that, whether you live in Brazil, Canada, the U.S., Italy, Australia, France, the U.K., and many other countries. Thank you for being my friends. For reading this blog. I see my stats. And for those of you I know personally, some of you whose blogs I follow, I pronounce Thanksgiving blessings on you.

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