Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It’s Not Over ‘Till Somebody Spills

Or is it?

All good things must end – including novels. At some point, every writer has wrap up the story and clarify mysteries. Some authors use a character to explain everything. Hercule Poirot gathers all living suspects in the drawing room and describes his deductive reasoning. Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort duke it out with wands and words several times, and Lord Voldemort gets to do most of the talking.

Those final soliloquies are so tempting to write. I had one in my WIP, until I realized it wasn’t necessary. The story still made sense when that dialog was cut. Changes could be made earlier in the novel to release clues. Now the ending focuses on the protagonist’s victory, not the antagonist’s defeat.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Overheard #99

"That makes something not completely unlike sense."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Midsummer

Tonight is Midsummer Night, and my dream of serene sunny days filled with productive writing has not yet materialized. Revisions are limping along, this blog is neglected. Other people are blogging though, and I’ll send you off to visit them.

On Wednesdays, Alice Pope’s SCBWI Children’s Market Blog, compiles helpful industry posts, and two caught my eye. Mary Kole at kidlit posted a letter from a reader about using a good telling sentence to introduce showing. This is similar to starting a paragraph in an essay with a topic sentence then backing it up with specific examples. Jennifer Crusie wrote a terrific, content-filled post on plot in Argh Ink.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pink Flamingo

Today, I'm over at Happy Mailboxes, a very cool blog by the fabulous writer, Lisa Wheeler.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Overheard #98

"He was off in the Sam-osphere."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More on Plot Problems

So what is a plot problem? When I introduced my exercise at Tuesday’s Write Night, I was asked to give an example. A plot problem is anything that isn’t working, doesn’t make sense, or bogs down the story. Plot problems are easy to revise around and delightful to put off, but eventually they have to be faced.

Here are examples from the group that don’t give away anyone’s story.
  • Getting a character to do something he didn’t want to do
  • Explaining an essential technicality of a magical world with humor
  • Rescuing characters from a high-tension, hopeless situation
  • Bringing two disparate characters together
  • Adding excitement to a lack-luster sequence of events
 In case you haven’t guessed, the last one was mine. Yesterday I replaced a chapter of sludge with action and tension.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Plot Problems

Last night's Write Night exercise seems to have worked out well - if I do say so myself. Here's the exercise.

Briefly summarize a plot problem in your novel.

Make a list of 5 or 6 solutions. (They don’t all have to be practical. They don’t all have to work. Brainstorm wildly.)

Pick one solution and write a scene that begins to implement it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Overheard #97

"In my next life, I’ll have poise."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

LIAR: the Unreliable Narator

by Justine Larbalestier

Bloomsbury, 2009

Picture shows the new US and Australian covers.

For reviews, see The YA YA YAs, Librarilly Blond, Bib Laura Graphy, A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cosy, and The LibrariYAn.

This book is not for the squeamish. It has a raw brutality that even the multiplicity of lies can’t mask. That aside, Liar is a masterful example of the unreliable narrator. The tale drips out slowly as if Micah is reluctant to tell us the truth. Then the story shifts and Micah admits she’s lied, and promises to be honest next time. Then the story shifts again. And again.

If you’re writing a novel with an unreliable narrator, there’s much to learn from this book.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bargain Vacation – Transylvania

Wildwood Dancing

by Juliet Marillier

Alfred A. Knopf, 2007

For reviews, see teen reads, Emily’s reading room and the book book blog.
Fascination with vampires has made Transylvania an increasingly popular vacation destination. In Wildwood Dancing, the reader can observe Night People from a safe distance and still enjoy moonlight revels with inhabitants of the Other Kingdom. Dancing lessons and haute couture ball gowns are included in the price.
“Children love forbidden places, especially when they lie deep in a mysterious dark forest, where all kinds of wonderful games can be played, games that last from dawn to dusk and spring to life again the next morning.”

Monday, June 7, 2010

NYC Libraries

Jump on over to Jumping the Candlestick to get all the details.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Here's a damselfly link.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Overheard #96

"If you turn into an alien, can I have a ride in your

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


since it's June

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bargain Vacation - France

The Vintage Caper

by Peter Mayle

Alfred A. Knopf, 2009

For reviews see New York Times Sunday Book Review, goodreads, and Wine Peeps.

If you needed an excuse to frolic through France, sampling culinary delights and indulging in fine wines, you could join Sam Levitt as he investigates the theft of three million dollars worth of aged Bordeaux.
“Returning to Paris after a long absence, there is always a temptation to plunge in and taste everything. Call it greed, or the result of deprivation, but food in Paris is so varied, so seductive, and so artfully presented that it seems a shame not to have a dozen of Brittany’s best oysters, some herb-flavored lamb from Sisteron, and two or three cheeses before attacking the desserts.”
“The restaurants of Marseille were the reason God made fish.”

On Cassis: “A village on the sea is a magical sight on a sunny day; a village on the sea with twelve excellent vineyards in its back garden is enough to make a man want to throw away his passport and stay forever.”