Tag Archives: Revision

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.


Filed under Weekly Writing Check In, Writing

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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Filed under Coffee & Ghosts, Weekly Writing Check In, Writing

Weekly writing check-in: the one with more keeping time

cofee and ghosts headerThis week my story Keeping Time found a new home over at Luna Station Quarterly. This is a reprint sale, but it’s especially nice since the original journal is no longer online. So, come December, Keeping Time will again be available online.

Some rejections, some submissions, and some work on a series bible for the Coffee & Ghosts series. I have a hint of an idea for an upcoming season two, and maybe a hint of one for a holiday novella. We’ll see how that goes.

Otherwise, it was a week of wrestling with tech issues, from formatting to trying to get four Girl Scouts registered to do some online first aid training. Now, you’d think that last wouldn’t be so hard. Well? You’d be wrong. I think we’ve got it now, and by this time next week, we’ll all be certified. But keep your fingers crossed, just in case.

I’ve also been playing around with Canva (lots of fun) as illustrated above.

Writing Work:

  • Final review: Print and e-book layout on Coffee & Ghosts
  • Revision and formatting work
  • Ghost series bible and brainstorming


  • The Perfect Canvas
  • Incriminating Evidence
  • Gretel and Hansel


  • Gretel and Hansel
  • Incriminating Evidence


  • Keeping Time


  • None

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Filed under Publishing, Weekly Writing Check In, Writing

Weekly writing check-in: the one with selfies at the end of the world

So … the world ended this week, and we have the selfies to prove it. Or something like that. My short story “In a Manner of Speaking” is included in the anthology from Mad Scientist Journal.

I’m still working on the very last adjustments to Coffee & Ghosts. It would go a bit quicker if this wasn’t happening:


CreateSpace is all: That’s a nice file you have there. Too bad you can’t see it.

I suspect things will be up within a few hours. I did just manage to download all the new books and files to my Kindle. I can always go read. Or write. I could always go write something.

Writing Work:

  • Final print and e-book layout on Coffee & Ghosts (almost there)
  • Revision work
  • Proofing work


  • None


  • Incriminating Evidence


  • None



Selfies from the End of the World is out in the world this week. You can see more about it in my post here.

No one understands an apocalypse like the people who have experienced it. Mad Scientist Journal has brought together twenty-three tales of people who have seen the world end.

These accounts range from irreverent to surreal to heartbreaking. Zombies share space with global wars, super-viruses, canned peaches, and the death of the sun.

Available in print and e-book: Kindle, Nook, Print, Kobo, iTunes

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Filed under Promo, Publishing, Weekly Writing Check In, Writing

Weekly writing check-in: the one with behind-the-scenes

Coffee and GhostsAnother week where I do a lot, then when I sit down to post my check-in, none of it seems all that interesting.

For instance, I completed the print and e-book layout for the Coffee & Ghosts series bundle, barring a few tweaks. But I can’t really show you that. I mean, we could sit here and watch the tracking number for the proof delivery.

But that isn’t very exciting.

Well, I guess I can show you the cover.

I also did a fair amount of revision work this week as well. That isn’t so remarkable. What is remarkable is I did half of that work at a coffee shop.

I never thought those studies–about how the noise level in coffee shops can boost creativity–would apply to me, since I’m such an introvert.

I. Was. Wrong. I am seriously pleased with the progress I’ve made, in the evenings no less, while my daughter is at her dance lessons.

I wouldn’t proofread in a coffee shop, but it’s great for coming up with creative solutions to story issues.

Lesson in all this? Even if you think you know yourself and your process, it doesn’t hurt to try something new.

Writing Work:

  • Photoshop tutorials
  • Print and e-book layout on Coffee & Ghosts
  • Revision work


  • None


  • Knight in the Royal Arms


  • None


  • None

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Filed under Publishing, Weekly Writing Check In, Writing

Editing cat is editing

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Editing cat finds your words … wanting.

Also? That’s no ordinary pen. That’s a Uni-ball Vision Elite, black ink infused with color (in this case, red). That’s right. It’s infused. With color. And it is awesome.


Filed under The cat, Writing, YA

View from the revision cave

So, I’m revising again. Because I like to. Everyone needs a hobby. This is mine.

One of the first things I did was to list out the scenes in each chapter, essentially an outline, using the method from Cheryl Klein’s Second Sight book (I’m essentially doing the exercises listed here, along with some from another book).

Here’s what I discovered:

  • Wow. There’s a lot of crap in this book. I’m not sure I’m actually the one who put it there.
  • Why is there a chapter with only one scene?
  • Why is there one with seven?

To be fair, the very first thing I did was strip out the self-contained subplot for revamping and revision. So that lone scene in its own chapter wasn’t always quite so lonely. That fat chapter hoarding seven scenes? No clue. It’s like that reality TV show about hoarders, only in manuscript format.

I’m doing a lot of work with structure. Because that self-contained subplot? It’s in diary format, which is why it’s so easy to pull from the story. Weaving it back in? Yeah. Not so much.

I think I’m going to need that T-shirt.


Filed under Reading & Writing, Writing, YA