Monday, November 30, 2015

NaNoWriMo's Over: Now What?

Okay, so you’ve pounded out a first draft of your new novel, thanks to that intense writing marathon known as NaNoWriMo.

That’s great! Congratulations! But before you drop everything and go looking for an agent or an editor or a publisher to publish your NaNoWriMo masterpiece, STOP!

I know, I know, you turned out 50,000 words and that’s swell. But you’re not ready for prime time yet. Because you are only halfway there.

As I tell writers all the time, over and over again, the people who get published are the people who:

1)      Finish,
2) Revise.

So good for you! You finished. Now you have to revise. The good news is, compared to creating an entire story out of the thin air of your imagination, revising is a cinch. In fact, it’s actually fun.

Think of it as decorating. You’ve built the house; now you get to fill it with furniture and books and art and love.

You get to make your house a home. Go for it—and then write that query letter.

For more on revision and query letters, use code PMQHANDS for an extra 20% off:

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Top Five Quotes from the New England Crime Bake

There’s nothing like a good writer’s conference to get your creative juices flowing. And the New England Crime Bake is one of the best, and one of my faves. This year I had the good luck to be invited to sit on a swell panel, as pictured above, with Hank Phillippi Ryan, Elizabeth George, Hallie Ephron, and Kathy Lynn Emerson.

The Crime Bake is a coming together of top writing and editing and publishing talent that can benefit writers of every genre, not just crime writing. And 2015 was no exception, thanks to the swell line-up of authors, agents, and editors, most notably Guest of Honor Elizabeth George.

Here are the top five quotes from this year’s Crime Bake, beginning and ending with the wise and wonderful Elizabeth George:

“I am always looking for a sentence that will take me somewhere.”
--Elizabeth George, New York Times bestselling author

“Hide the exposition.”
--Spencer Quinn, New York Times bestselling author

“Writing well is writing well and it doesn’t matter what genre you choose.”
--Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author

“I fly by the seat of my pants, and then hope and grope my way through.”
--Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author

“I write five pages a day, no matter how long it takes me.”
--Elizabeth George, New York Times bestselling author

Use code PMQHANDS for an extra 20% off of my new book, WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS:

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Art of Distraction for Writers

Okay, so it's Day Four of NaNoWriMo and I'm writing about cake. One of my characters is a pastry chef, and she's making Three-Layer Lemon Chocolate Cake for a party in which a big secret will be revealed.

But I have lost sight of the scene in which a big secret will be revealed. I am stuck on cake. I am dreaming and doodling and googling about cake and lemons and chocolate.

Turn that Distraction Frown Upside Down: Meyer Lemons

I can taste this cake, with its triple layers of sweet and tart lemon cake, made with the juice of Meyer lemons. A Meyer lemon is a Chinese citrus fruit that's a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They taste swell!

You can buy Meyer lemons at Whole Foods, just so you know. Hmmmnnn...Maybe I should include the recipe for Three Layer Lemon Chocolate Cake in the story. Readers love recipes. I better get up and go to Whole Foods right away and get some Meyer lemons. I have to test all my recipes, don't I? In the name of accuracy...and dessert for dinner.

Not So Fast, Cake!

Wait, but first I have to hit my NaNoWriMo word count for the day. I have to write that scene in which the big secret is revealed. The cake must wait.

That's how NaNoWriMo works: Word Count Before Cake.

Why? Because Life Is Uncertain, So Write That Book First.

And then you can write your cake--and eat it, too.

For more inspiration, use code PMQHANDS for an extra 20% off of my new boo, Writing with Quiet Hands:

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Secret to NaNoWriMo

There's a simple secret to NaNoWriMo--or any writing practice--and here it is: Write On!

Boss bullying? Write On!
Spouse sniping? Write On!
Kids fighting? Write On!
Rain pouring? Write On!
Mind balking? Write On!
Body aching? Write On!
Soul suffering? Write On!

Real writers write--and real NaNoWriMo writers write during NaNoWriMo!
For we writers are warriors, and NaNoWriMo writers are warriors in a hurry.

If you need some inspiration, turn (arguably) to the most stirring speech ever written by a fellow writer. Here's my favorite part of Shakespeare's famous St. Crispin's Day speech:

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispin's day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words—
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Write On, band of brothers, Write On!

For more inspiration, use code PMQHANDS for an extra 20% off for my new book Writing with Quiet Hands:

Labels: , , , , , , ,