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Short stories, character development, and another writing commitment.

May 5, 2014

I used to write a lot of short stories. Before I had even considered writing a novel, before I thought it would be possible for me to write a novel, I wrote short stories all the time. I wrote short stories about weird things, like an experiment we did in my science class with an egg and some vinegar. I wrote short stories about weirder things, like one about a girl playing the cello that my creative writing teacher equated to sex. That became extremely uncomfortable extremely quickly, but I did win an award for that one. And, in the beginning phases of Martyrs, I wrote a lot of short stories for the novel, too. I wrote short stories to explain the backstory. I wrote short stories to explore the world. But most importantly, I wrote short stories to develop the characters. It works phenomenally well. One of the best ways to understand your characters is to write for them, […]


Handling your characters across a series.

April 30, 2014

Yesterday I wrote about what the story arc looks like between an individual book and a book series. Today, I wanted to touch on another element about writing a series that is a bit different than writing an individual book: how do you handle all the characters? It actually isn’t THAT different when you consider the overarching story arc from yesterday’s post, but it can be a bit tricky breaking all the old “rules” you stood by when you were working on your individual novel. Here are a few of the biggest differences between working on a novel versus working on a series of novels based on character development. You do not want to introduce all your characters at the same time. When you’re writing a stand-alone novel, every single character that has anything to do with the primary story arc is introduced in that single book. When you’re writing a series, you have several books in which to meet […]

Series Storyline

Creating a cohesive storyline for a series.

April 29, 2014

I love nothing more than being approached with questions about writing. I actually had a dream the other day that I was teaching a class about writing to a group of men and women, and I woke up super sad that I wasn’t actually teaching a class, even though I don’t know at all if I’d be any good at it (I think I’d be okay). So when people ask me for advice, or for help, or want my opinion, I feel super awesome. I feel like other people think I’d be a good teacher, too. So when a writer friend of mine asked me for some insight into planning a series of novels (as opposed to a solitary novel), of course, I wrote her a reply that was long enough to be its own blog post. I considered doing the “copy-paste” thing, but that felt lazy. Instead, I decided to re-write the same basic stuff I told her. We’re […]


Rushing the end.

April 26, 2014

When I finished the (second) rewrite of Martyrs back in 2011 (2012?), I was so fucking excited. I had one chapter to go, and I sat down at my desk and wrote and wrote until that thing was totally complete. Then, using Scrivener, I exported it to a PDF file and an EPUB file, sent copies to my main beta readers, and forced my husband to sit down and finish the last of the book. I was so thrilled with myself, so absolutely proud, that when he sat down with me afterward and told me he thought the ending felt rushed, I was a little crushed. And angry. I called him a jerk and then quickly took it back because there had to be a damn good reason he felt that way, and I asked him to elaborate. Though it wasn’t exactly fun to hear, he had a really good point. The writing wasn’t as thought out as it was […]


4 facts about being a writer.

April 9, 2014

When it comes down to it, there are a lot of things about being a writer people don’t really seem to know, and if they do know them, they don’t seem to understand. I’ve been compiling a big list of “writing facts and myths” for a while now, and it’s about time I share some of them with you. Like I said, I have a pretty long list, so I’ve taken these four out because they deal most specifically with the life of a writer prior to publication. In other words, this is the kind of stuff I and writers like me have to deal with every single day until we finally do get that publishing call. (And, to be honest, we’ll still be dealing with them once we have.) Education may not be everything, but it sure helps. I get a lot of people upset about this point, but let’s sit down and think about it for a minute. […]

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