Tag Archives: Donald Maass

Weekly writing check-in: second draft

Sunrise at the lake

I’ve moved from working on the exercises in The Emotional Craft of Fiction and have jumped into the actual revision. I still highly recommend the book, especially if you’re looking for something to jumpstart your manuscript or revision process.

I’m about 9,000 words into the revision. This isn’t simply going over the scenes I’ve already written. True, there’s some of that, but a lot of it is moving things around, pondering what happens if events occur in a different order, some brand new writing, and so on.

In other news, I found out that my story In a Manner of Speaking was a finalist for Easy Street’s first annual Portal Prize for Speculative Fiction, and it will be published in their print anthology in 2019. For anyone who’s counting, this is the third time I’ve sold this story. The great thing about Easy Street is they accept both published and unpublished fiction.

And … that’s it for this week! I’m off to cook some dinner and maybe add to the revision.

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Weekly writing check-in: The Potato Bug War

New short (very short) story release this week!

My flash fiction piece, The Potato Bug War, is now available in issue #19 of Pulp Literature.

This is my second historical fiction story, and like The Saint of Bright Red Things, it takes place in France during World War Two.

And it’s so short, that all I’ll say is it’s about insects, Nazis, and resistance.

Curious? You can order a copy from Amazon or Pulp Literature directly.

In other news, I’ve added about 10,000 more words to the revision exercises I’ve been doing, sketched out a few “big picture” ideas, and got knocked in the side of the head with yet another idea I might like to write. I’m resisting that mightily (for now).

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Weekly writing check-in: Hello, July!

Kitty can’t believe the year is half over

A quick update from last week: I did successfully find some cupcakes. The girls demolished the strawberry ones so quickly it was almost frightening.

In writing news, I have somehow managed ~12,000 words of revised/new content while using the exercises in The Emotional Craft of Fiction. This surprised me since I feel as if I’m plodding along and not making a lot of progress. Additionally, I revamped the opening scenes as well.

Sometimes, you have to stop and take stock of where you’ve been.

This week, I’m looking forward to getting some more work done on the exercises in the book as well as some additional brainstorming for the rest of the series. I have several high-level story threads that I want to keep track of as I move through not only this revision but the rest of the series.

I also might follow kitty’s lead and schedule some time for a nap.

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Weekly writing check-in: quickly, quickly, with a sunrise

Quick update this week. I need to hit the store for some snacks because I’m bridging my Girl Scout troop today. People! They are Ambassadors! (That’s the highest level in Girl Scouts). I’m eternally grateful that they still want to show up once or twice a month and do Girl Scout stuff.

In actual writing news, I’m still working my way through The Emotional Craft of Fiction. This isn’t anything I plan to rush, so I’m happy with this pace.

Related to research, I’ve been binge-watching both The Crimson Field and Anzac Girls, and I highly recommend both.

That’s it for this week. Now, to find some cupcakes.

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Weekly writing check-in: story within the story

Morning walk before the rain

I’m continuing with the exercises in The Emotional Craft of Fiction (and still loving it). Another thing I’m doing with this story is weaving in (or trying to) a story within the story.

I love books that have stories within the main story. I sort of did this with The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath, with the journal that the main character’s mother writes.

This time, I’m looking at a journal, some letters, and possibly some other documents, and the mystery of that will unfold into the overall mystery of the first couple of books (at least) in the series.

Well, in theory. Mind you, I’m still at the let’s see if I can do this phase.

So in addition to the work I’m doing with the exercises, I’ve been doing some research into World War I (or rather, more research, since I’ve read a fair amount already) and looking at how I’ll structure that story.

This also means I’ll have three points of view to handle (at least): the journal writer, the letter writer, and, of course, Poppy, the main character.

If nothing else, this gives me plenty to think about on long morning walks.

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Weekly writing check-in: Diving in

Hamilton, the (possibly magical) cat

This week, I jumped feet first into the revision. First up, I created a book map, which is essentially a list of all the chapters and scenes in the draft.

Or, in my case, just a list of scenes, since I figure out the chapters at a later point.

From there, I made another list, this one of all the big events. I looked at what might happen if I moved some of those big events around, and had a couple of Oh! That might happen! moments. Those are always nice.

As I’m looking at the big pieces, I’m also working through the exercises in Donald Maass’ The Emotional Craft of Fiction (and so far I’m really, really liking it).

Finally, I drafted a description of the story, which might not be a final description. Mind you, it might not be the description at all. Also, the story doesn’t have a title yet or the series a name. I’m kind of hoping one will magically drop from the sky as I work my way through the revision.

Five years ago, Poppy Jones left the necromancer community and all its ghosts. Now she’s back, degree in hand, homeless, jobless, and nursing an aching heart. She’s seeking the solace only a big brother can give.

When her brother vanishes—suspiciously and without a trace—only Poppy is concerned. As she pieces together clues to this current mystery, one from the past seduces her.

Jasper Riley, the sinfully sexy warlock, might hold the key to both mysteries. His professional opinion, as a private investigator, is that she doesn’t have a case, never mind a missing person’s one.

That’s before someone breaks into her home, before Poppy stops a supernatural onslaught with her bare hands, before either one of them realizes she’s a witch.

Even with the help of Jasper, his ex-girlfriend, and a (possibly magical) cat, Poppy may be too late. Because her brother has crossed a line, crossed the wrong necromancer, and may have crossed over to a place Poppy can’t reach.

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I see myself in this …

Courtesy of Lara Zielin, one of the fantabulous 2009 Debs, comes this video:

While I haven’t knocked on anyone’s door … yet, I’ve been known to sing the praises of “The Donald” more than once. Okay. A lot. All the time. Actually, I probably need a 12-step program, the one where I promise not to annoy my writing friends.

But, but, but … their (writing) lives would be much more fulfilling if only they listened to Donald Maass. Try the gateway drug Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. Just one exercise. Or two! How could it hurt? It’s an exercise, silly, not a way of life.

That comes later.

And look, he’s going to be in Madison, WI in November! I may have to make a pilgrimage.

Seriously. I used Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook extensively with Geek Girl. But you know, writing craft books are just like any other book–they work for some people and not for others. For me, voice and tone go a long way in whether I simply enjoy a writing craft book.

But, yeah. I’ll try to stop curb the proselytizing.

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Filed under 2009 Debs, Reading & Writing, Video, Writing, YA