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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


ALEX J. CAVANAUGH'S awesome co-hosts for the August 6 posting of the IWSG will be Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom!

  Be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!

Genre? Check: Mystery

Length? Check: Novel/75K

Setting? Check: Wisconsin

Protagonist? Check: Pepper Bibeau

Plot? Antagonist? Main Characters? Story Structure? Subplots? First Sentence? Motive? Method? Open with action or build to it? Prologue? Climax? Denouement? Epilogue? 

So many questions and decisions make the idea of writing a novel daunting. If every question had to be answered and every decision made before the writing began, there probably wouldn’t be any libraries or book stores. 

I reminded myself often that it wasn’t necessary to know exactly where I was going, and who did what at every turn, before I could write the next scene or chapter. Some days I wrote two thousand words, other days barely two hundred. On three days of the five weeks I spent writing the first draft, I wrote over five thousand words. Those prolific days produced accomplishments and memories that encouraged me to write another day. 

That’s all it takes, some encouragement to write for one more day, because you cannot write for two days at one time. 

Another trick that kept me moving forward was doing only small stretches of research. If I needed information to advance the plot, I would do a quick check on the Internet for details to assure that what I wanted to do wouldn’t paint me into a corner. Next month, I will learn the weight of a rifle loaded and unloaded, the exact distance from one county to another, and the correct bait needed to catch sunfish in June. Knowing a rifle fits into the story, the driving distance is feasible, and catching sunfish in June is legal, I could keep writing. 

What encourages you to keep writing?


Monday, July 28, 2014


For the past six months, I wavered on which direction to take for my next writing project. 

Then I signed up for a five-day writers’ seminar in Honolulu, which took place on July 19-23, 2014 at The Makiki Community Library. The seminar guru/sensei, William Bernhardt, is the bestselling author of numerous books, including the Ben Kincaid legal-thriller series. His Red Sneakers Writers Book Series, five compact books in print and ebook format, go hand-in-hand with his seminars. 

Once I committed to attending a seminar for five days, I had to write a novel to present to the group for feedback and critique. I made the decision to continue my Pepper Bibeau mystery series with a fourth novel. I purchased Mr. Bernhardt’s Red Sneaker ebook series for kindle, and read each of the five books. Then I used the information from the first one, Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction, to outline my manuscript. 
See book link
to Amazon below
The five weeks preceding the seminar included writing, researching, writing, eating, writing, and sleeping. It was my very own, intense NaNoWriMo - all day - every day! My finished first draft contained 68K words, and was ready for critique. During the five-day seminar, I received suggestions, ideas, and direction from Mr. Bernhardt and the other seminar-ians (not theologists!) on ways to improve the content. 

Moving forward, I will use the information from the other books in the series as a road map to complete and edit the novel. 

Are you planning to start/continue/finish your novel this year? What is your process?
Link to William Bernhardt's Amazon Author Page:
Link to Story Structure by William Bernhardt


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wishy-Washy or What?

It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group blog posting. IWSG was created by the awesome ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can find a list of all the other members of the group here. 

The Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG), started by ninja captain Alex J. Cavenaugh, is a monthly opportunity to share our writing fears or solutions and to offer encouragement to the other participants. (Co-hosts this month are: Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson.) ...just picked this up from 's site!

Decision-making isn’t a problem for me, but sticking to a decision sometimes is. 

Last November, for NaNoWriMo, I decided to switch horses and write about a new protagonist. The fifty thousand words required to be “A Winner” flowed onto the page at regular intervals. Then I had second thoughts about abandoning my original protagonist and her storyline. 

It took several months to work through my indecision (okay, decision-making sometimes is an issue for me!) I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to continue the story line of my original protagonist. I set up my own nanowrimo for thirty days between June and July. I am now over thirty thousand words into this novel. I’ve had to make at least a hundred decisions already concerning plot, characters, and setting. 

Each day more decisions are required, but I have my fingers crossed that the major decision to write the novel I’m working on now is my final decision. 

Are most of your decisions flat-out carved in stone, or are you often swayed to change your mind?