Friday, September 30, 2011

There are no rules

I'm on an interesting reading binge right now, which started with the second book in Game of Thrones series and then moved to The Passage.

I'm loving the Passage, to the point where there have been evenings when I should have been sleeping and instead, I've been reading compulsively. What the book does really, really well is create sympathy for the main characters, you really, really care about them and how they survive the catastrophic happenings in the horrific world the author has created. It's a book that reminds me a lot of Stephen King's earlier works, and the comparison has been made in almost every review I've read of the book.

But largely I find the book works almost in spite of itself. It's huge, and a little disjointed. We get backstories on a lot of the characters. Even characters that have only minimal pov's, and POV's of characters that are minor elements and more backstories that add very, very little to the plot, but because the central storyline is so tense and because we care so much about the two central characters in the first section and a few more in the second section (it's hard to describe this book without giving away spoilers, so apologies for the vague sentences) I'm drawn through.

As a genre writer, I'm careful to ensure that backstory is crucial to both plot and character and that POV is for important characters, but when you have a storyline as compulsively readable as the Passage and a little girl in danger, and it's as tense as this book, I'll read past the flaws and just enjoy, perhaps skipping a few paragraphs here and there.

And I guess we come back to a rule my critique group decided upon, which is, when a scene/chapter is engaging and tense and readable, there are no rules.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Thing about Self-published Ebooks...

I was on a business trip this past week to the west coast and as everyone knows I’ve been struggling for something to read as I wait for a lot of my favorite authors to release their books in the next few months. It came down to crunch time as I was going to have a five hour flight back and forth to the west coast. (I won’t go into the part about how my boss convinced me to check my carry-on and then they lost it and I was stuck at a Walmart at 12:00am at night struggling to find something business appropriate. Business travel sucks!)

But to my delight as I went on Amazon I found an author whose historicals I really enjoy. I was surprised because I know when her next release date is and this wasn’t it. In this case this was a self-published eBook.

I was like – okay. Let’s give this a shot. I want to self-publish some of my titles why not start reading other’s self-published work and see how it goes. Other than short stories this was my first foray into this world. The price point was less than one of her normal books, but not .99. For a little more than six dollars I got what I felt was a full sized book. One that would suffice for my trip out and back.

It was good. But… every other sentence started with And… First this made me smile – I don’t know if you remember my rant on cleaning up my own work and realizing I start all my sentences with “And” too. Then it got a little in the way of the reading experience.

Overall I couldn’t see why publishers would have passed on this book but they must have. I could feel this was an older work but the author’s voice still came shouting through and really that was enough for me.

But it is a reminder of why it’s going to be worth it to pay a little extra for an “agency” priced book. There is no doubt about it – a professionally published book may not be “better” – but it sure as heck is going to be more polished unless a whole lot of effort is put into the copy-editing. Which let’s face it - costs money - which can result in a decrease in profits. After all the whole point of this is to make money.

So my message to the big “Six” is you all have nothing to fear. While I may seek out new self-published works, I know concretely what professional editors and copy-editors bring to the table and will always continue to want that level of professionalism in the books I read.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Funk

Just a few weeks ago we were blogging about all the reasons we were looking forward to fall... and for some reason this new season's just not working for me yet. It might be because, with the exception of a few cold days at the end of TIFF, we haven't had fall-like weather here, yet. Still wearing cropped pants and sandals and it's almost Thanksgiving! It might be because I've been anxiously awaiting the green light to make an announcement that keeps taking longer and longer (and consequently seeming less real and less exciting). It might be because so far I'm not turned on any of the new fall TV.. Or it might just be because I'm in that always horrible for me half to two thirds of the way through my book--the stage where it always seems like crap. (Every time, after I push through this part, I remind myself not to listen to the doubt demons at this stage--to just plow ahead as fast as I can and finish, trusting I can fix whatever's wrong in revisions--yet with each new book, the demons get louder, or my ability to ignore them gets worse instead of better because my personal stakes keep getting higher...)

All those reasons seem like valid contributors. But I think I've hit on the real reason I'm in a fall funk. I miss Molly. Come home, Miss Molly!!! We miss you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Books Week!

Hey, kids! Welcome to Banned Books Week! No. They're not celebrating the banning of books, they are trying to raise awareness about censorship, though. I figured I'd lend a hand.

If you check out the list of most challenged books of 2010, you'll notice (if you're a follower of this blog) that there's a book on the list that I detest. Yep. Twilight. I hate that book. I think it has some terrible messages laced through it about female submissiveness and sexuality and what love should be.

Do I want it banned? Absolutely not.

I don't care for Meyer's world view one bit. I think it's a terrible example for young girls. I also think they should totally have a right to read it. In fact, I might just encourage it. If we don't read it, how can we discuss it? If we don't discuss it, how can we show the young women in our lives that romance doesn't mean being physically subdued whenever she disagrees or being isolated from her friends and family by an overly possessive boyfriend or that sexual desire is dangerous.

So, in celebration, go read Twilight. Or And Tango Makes Three. Or The Hunger Games. In fact, just read. We have the right to do that.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I still say contemporary romance is the hardest genre to write

I just finished a contemporary romance, which after all the dark YA and urban fantasy I've been reading lately, felt a but like a palate cleanser, light and frothy and fun. At least for the first half, and then for the second half, I lost interest.

The characters were still engaging, it's just the scenes could only progress so far, with the way the author had set it up, and the conflicts could only be hashed out so much before they felt repetitive. I know my own limitations, this is the point where I would have thrown a murder mystery at the wall, simply to add wordcount and I commend the author for not doing so. But it's why I still feel like this particular genre is so hard to write.

How do you come up with compelling internal conflicts and external conflicts that aren't life and death, keep each scene moving forward and keep the reader invested through 90,000 words?

Paranormal, fantasy, suspense, all have life and death, a strong external plot to pick up the slack when the internal starts to feel repetitive. But not contemporary.

And this is where I write my ode to Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who never seems to have this problem. She keeps me engaged and voraciously reading all the way through, without ever throwing a dead body into the mix.

Molly does this as well, which is why we drunk writers are so in awe of her contemps and so excited for them to be released on the world.

And it's why I could never write one. The urge to kill someone on paper would overcome me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ode to Old Elizabeth Lowell...

Now I really hope Elizabeth Lowell doesn’t have a Google Alert which will pop up because she might not like the title of this blog! But of course I don’t mean the “actual” Elizabeth Lowell. I’m talking about her older category novels.

My collection consists of tons of the old school Silhouette and Harlequin category novels of the 80s and 90s when I first discovered romance. This was back in the day when S&H were discovering authors like Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, Sandra Brown… I could go on forever. But some of the most delicious stories came from the amazing Elizabeth Lowell.

Usually what happens when I hit a reading dearth which is where I seem to be now, I’ll go back and just pick up a random book from my shelf and relive the glory days. They are a short investment of time. I know where all the good parts are. And they leave me feeling nostalgic.

What astounds me every time I read her, is why I love her heroes so much. I mean truly a woman in 2011 should probably look at these near Neanderthals and balk. They are crass, rude, usually sexists and sometimes actually sexually threatening… but there is always that lingering reason why. That soft gooey middle which gives him humanity.

These men will abuse their women (not physically of course) but emotionally to the point where you are screaming at the heroine… “Walk away! You don’t need this. You don’t need him!”

In most cases this is accurate. She doesn’t need him. But in an Elizabeth Lowell book he always needs her. It’s his desperation which is so compelling. The reader knows he’s hurting this woman because he hurts so much inside. Elizabeth Lowell plays on this theme so perfectly and in the end somehow redeems these hard men.

As a thief who is about to start my next book (Naturally suffering from startabookaphobia… but I’m hoping to overcome that this weekend) I plan to steal from Elizabeth Lowell. Just that one element.

In this story my hero is strong, he’s ruthless and he’s cold. He’s also lost and desperate. He NEEDS someone. Cue blank page… in walks my heroine. Boy is she in for a ride.

Thank you Elizabeth for so many amazing heroes!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pirates are Funny, Copyright Infringement is Not

Somali pirates aside, piracy of old isn't something people have had to deal with over the past, say, hundred or more years, and at some point during those hundred years pirates have become less something to dread and more something associated with Halloween costumes and children's games. And then along came Johnny Depp and suddenly pirates were not only funny, but also cool and sexy.

So it has occurred to me that the entertainment industry (or whoever started it -- software industry?) made a huge tactical error in calling people who infringe on copyrights pirates. Huge.

Pirates are funny. Pirates are cool. Pirates defy the big bad authorities to claim spoils and get the girls. The general public does not think "criminal" or "thief" or "immoral" when they hear the word pirate.

This has never been more evident to me as it has been during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) these past few years. TIFF has become arguably the most important festival in the world in terms of launching award winning and commercially successful films. And while most of the movies screened at TIFF are made outside of the studio systems, many come to the festival already sold to big distributors who have a huge stake in not having the films leaked before their releases. Hence, it's probably also a great festival for a criminal to attend who wants to record the films and sell the bootleg copies.

I'd say that about 5-6 years ago, TIFF started taking this very seriously. Also because that was around the time that cameras started getting smaller and better quality. And now most of the "bigger" films have burly men in uniforms with night vision glasses standing around the audience watching us watch the film...

The first year the burly men showed up, they were super aggressive at some screenings and didn't even let people take out their cameras during the introductions before the films. (Which led to my tragically blurry photo of Heath Ledger, in spite of only being less than 15 feet away from him, because a big burly man was diving at me as I took it.)

But back on topic, about five years ago they started making announcements before the films to the effect of, "as part of our anti-piracy program, night vision technology may be in use during this screening."

And what happened? Some joker one night made a pirate "Arrr" sound during this announcement. And, as so often happens, it became a tradition. (Kind of like the audience used to clap wildly and cheer for the guy who took away the podium before screenings at the Uptown. I miss the Uptown.)

This year, clearly trying to stop this tradition and probably to make the filmmakers believe that TIFF festival goers do take copyright infringement seriously, the TIFF staff stopped using the word piracy during these announcements. Instead, they started their announcement with something like, "recording the movie is a criminal offense."

But did this stop jokers from saying "Arrrr!" No, it did not. And it still got laughs from the audience. Not from me. As someone trying to earn a living from royalties, I don't think copyright infringement is funny. But after being annoyed for the first few days, I realized I just needed to have a sense of humor about the "Arrr".

Pirates are funny. Copyright infringement is not.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apparently point of view does matter to me

I have met a few people who have told me flat out that they dislike any book written in first person. I've also met a few who only like first person. This has always seemed strange to me. Both first and third person POV have their uses, their pluses and minuses. I like writing in both (but always in different projects) and I like reading both.

But apparently I really dislike omniscient point of view.

I'm reading two books right now. Sister by Rosamund Lupton and The Little Book by Selden Edwards.I am loving Sister. It's the of a woman figuring out what happened to her sister. It moves from the present as the heroine prepares for the murderer's trial and deal with her grief to the past as she unravels the mystery and solves the case. We are always in Beatrice's point of view, but we always know when we are because she cleverly uses present tense for the present narrative and past for the past. I know that sounds really elementary, but it's a great reading experience and feels very subtle as you read. I am so deeply into this character's POV (although she's very different from me in temperament) that the scenes where she recounts finding out that her sister was dead made me weep. And we already knew she was dead in the book! We'd known for pages and pages and pages!

I wish I could say that I hated The Little Book, but it's too boring to even incite that much emotion. It's an incredibly intricate story with time travel and cultural references and historical figures and it's all told from the point of view of the hero's dead father. I guess he might not really be dead, but he's supposed to be dead.

Because it's always him telling the story, we're never deeply in anyone's POV. We're floating above it all and watching. To me, this has about as much life as the flattened snake I saw in the road last week. Everyone's voice is the same. Everything's a little removed. I hit a "love" scene and it was so clinical and detached and weird that it actually kind of grossed me out.

I keep wondering what that book would be like if Edwards had gone ahead and written it deep third person POV. Would those scenes in nineteenth century Vienna have come alive? What about the tension of the baseball game at the prep school? Would the love scene have seemed tender and sweet instead of icky?

So . . . third person omniscient is a deal breaker for me. Do any of you have POV deal breakers?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Irrevocable Decisions...

As authors we make a ton of decision every time we tell a story. Everybody knows that. Our readers have to put up with those decisions. Some are going to like them and some are not. Let’s face it.

I recently ran up against a book where an author made one of these big irrevocable decisions. This is an ongoing series and the author did something to fundamentally change the main character’s life.

As an author I thought it was brave and daring because there is no walking back from this decision. It’s not like in the old days of daytime soaps where you could kill a guy by having him drive off a cliff and then suddenly bring him back to life ten years later.
When it’s done – it’s done.

I thought about the courage it took to go that direction not knowing how readers were going to react to it. But the truth is as a reader I hated it.

It made me think about how important the really big decisions are. This writer removed an entire element of the series that might not be an issue for a couple of books, but could impact the series down the road when you start to worry about how you can continually show character growth.

This writer took a chance a lot of readers (including me) were going to be disappointed. The author had to hope the disappointment wouldn’t be so great these readers don’t come back for more.

For the record – I probably will go back.

But it really brought home the concept that when we make the big decision, when we take the road less traveled or bring about a major change which will dictate the character’s actions going forward - we really really need to think about what it means. Not just to us the author – who is telling the story – but to the people we tell the story too.

I’m not saying give the fans what they want all the time. We have to own our work. But when we know we’re probably going to upset them, then we need to consider the whole picture before we do.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shame (and Michael Fassbender's penis)

I'll now disappoint all the people who stumbled onto this post from google because of the penis reference. (And another warning: This will be a short post... I'm bagged. I'm basically out of the house 14-15 hours each day during TIFF. Love it. But it's tiring.)

One of the best films I've seen so far at this year's Toronto International Film Festival was Steve McQueen's Shame.

It's not an easy film and goodness knows whether it will ever be released in the US (because of all of the nudity and sex and full frontal penis) but wow, it's a powerful film.

And, more relevant to this blog, a lesson in "show, don't tell" -- particularly where it comes to revealing character without revealing much backstory... Also it made a great use of foreshadowing to create tension.

The film is about a man with a sexual obsession. A man who uses sex to block out feeling any emotions. To the point where the one time he tries to have sex with someone he knows and likes, he can't. (Sorry, that was kind of spoilerish.)

The man's world, one in which all he does is work, watch porn, and f8ck strangers, is disrupted when his sister (also clearly damaged) lands on his doorstep to live with him for a while. She's clearly also messed up and we see this both through their interactions and through a heart wrenching rendition of New York, New York she sings in a night club (sister is played by Carey Mulligan). We never learn why these two siblings are so damaged. The only clue is her telling him via a voice mail late in the movie, "We aren't bad people, we just come from a bad place." That line tells us what we've already figured out at that point... that something happened to these two in their childhoods that messed them up. And I suppose it doesn't matter exactly what happened in the past, but most writers would tell us or add a flashback or something. And I admired that Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen did not.

Each of the two siblings has chosen a different but very destructive way to dull his or her pain and the movie builds to a moving climax where we finally see the hero emote.

I liked the slight ambiguous ending, too... Actually, would like to see the movie again to decide for sure what I think he'll do the second the movie stops. I think he changed during the movie. I hope so.

My final comment: Fassbender naked. Wow. Just wow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Best. Book Club. Ever.

My book club just left and I know I'm a little biased and a little drunk, but they are the best book club ever. We call ourselves the BDBC which stands for Big Dumb Book Club. We came up with the name after we read One Hundred Years of Solitude and all looked at each other and said, "WTF? I don't get it." We know it's a classic. We just don't get it. It was like a bunch of random stuff all strung together. What I love best about this group is that they're completely unafraid to say that they don't get it. Tonight was the All Eileen All the Time Night. They read both the books I published this year. They always read them and they always show up at booksignings and they always want to hear about the writing and publishing and all of it. They're fabulous. They're also unafraid to try something new which is how we ended up drinking Chocovine tonight which we decided tasted like a chocolatey Bailey's. We have some lawyers, a couple of therapist-types, some scientists, a nurse, some stay at home moms. Some of our kids are toddlers. Some have graduated from college. So I'm a little high on all the love and the Chocovine and I wanted everyone to know it. Oh! I almost forgot! Romantic Times reviewed Vanished in the Night and it was kind of awesome! They compared me to Tami Hoag! I love Tami Hoag!!! Good night, everyone! I'm sending you all a big chocolatey kiss and a overly friendly wine-soaked hug!!! May you all find awesome book groups with whom to talk and drink. I came really close to ending that last sentence with a preposition, but I'm not that drunk!!!!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Do the pictures of naked men really work?

Well, maybe not completely naked, but mostly, and I'm referring to a lot of romance writer blogs and websites where they post pics of half naked men, as inspiration for heroes and as well, inspiration for the day.

And hey, I am not against seeing a fit half-naked men, but sometimes I worry that those pics aren't doing anything to dispel the myths about romance.

I still know a ton of people who dismiss romance novels as porn for women, who think of them as nothing but silly and poorly written. Which, as anyone who reads this blog, knows is completely untrue. Like any genre, there are great and not so great books, but the ambassadors of romance have to be the authors and if we spend more time discussing a hot bod, rather than craft and story on our blogs and websites, how can we expect to be taken seriously?

I want to mention JR Ward, and Courtney Milan and Sherry Thomas to strangers and not have them look at me as if I'm an addle brained twit for reading romance. Because these books are great examples of craft, and character and a lot of "serious" authors could learn a lot from romance writers. Which is why I sometimes worry, do romance authors treat their own work with the respect it deserves?

What we put on the internet is basically out there for the world, and I don't want it to be serious all the time, but it cannot be taken back and when I look at those pics, I wince, because I think of a reader that has never read a romance and is investigating an author thinking whether the might pick up their book and would they after seeing that?

I'm not sure, but I do hope they pick up the romance, because if they do, they'll probably be a romance reader for life.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My post to explain why I have no post...

With being off Monday for Labor Day it sort of messed up my days of the week.

What I thought was Tuesday was really Wednesday and today is really Thursday and my normally well thought out post (not really... I just like to pretend I think them out) is not available.

This is me, live and unedited.

So I'm going to take the most completely lame approach and ask (or beg) our readers to help me out.

I'm out of books to read. I know that's crazy talk, but truly I've gone through all my favorite authors and I haven't seen any amazing new reviews of new authors to tempt me. I'm counting the days until Meljean Brook's new Steampunk novel is out. Other than that I'm a little lost.

I don't want serious, sad or depressing. I want a great romance novel. Any genre. So for all you out there thinking, seriously? I clicked on the blog for this? I apologize but can you help a sister out and at least tell me what you are reading and loving.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Falling into Autumn

Inspired by Eileen's list yesterday I thought I'd do my own It's Fall! list.

Fittingly, temperatures here dropped dramatically on Monday, so I definitely had fall on my mind already.

Things I'm Looking Forward To:
  1. Sleeping with my windows open. Toronto is hot and sticky in the summer and the only thing I hate more than sleeping with the air conditioning on, is sleeping when I'm hot and sticky... I love a nice cold room for sleeping and so fall is one of my favorite times of the year, for that alone. 
  2. TIFF. The Toronto International Film Festival opens on Thursday and runs to the following Sunday (8th-18th) During that time, I will be seeing a minimum of 32 films. At least that's how many I have tickets for at this point. And I'm excited about them all.
  3. Oscar season. TIFF usually gives me a head start on the fall movies, but I'm looking forward to all the great films that typically open between now and the Oscar deadline at the end of the year.
  4. Fall colors. This part of the world has some pretty spectacular autumn colors and I love the show. Who knows how it will really be, but at this point the weather people are predicting a long and mild autumn. Here's hoping it doesn't turn into full-on winter until January. 
  5. I've been sitting on some exciting news and fall is when I'm supposed to be able to finally announce it... I hope. Soon.
  6. Fall TV. I'm most excited about premieres for The Good Wife and Boardwalk Empire. And Sons of Anarchy Season 4.  (Sinead, you really should watch Season 3.) Also pining for Mad Men and Game of Thrones, but those won't be until winter or later, right?
  7. Finishing my WIP. I cannot wait to be over the first draft stage and on to revising. I told Molly I'd be done my first draft by the time she gets back from New Zealand and barring a miracle, that's not likely to happen, but definitely before the end of October. (TIFF is eating up way too much of my September.)
Things I'm Not Looking Forward To:
  1. Winter. As much as I love me some fall, I hates me some winter. It's a tough call between which season I hate more, the 35 C degree and humid days of summer, or icy, windy cold days in winter.  (I actually don't mind the freakishly cold weather we sometimes get here in the winter, as long as it's sunny. You can dress for cold.)
  2. Shorter days. As much as I jested yesterday, I dread the shorter days too. And they start to get shorter so dang quickly. It's no secret I'm not an early riser, and the consequence of that bad habit is that my days get VERY short...
  3. Deadlines. I'm going to be facing at least two over the fall/winter and I'm already a bit stressed out.
  4. Sandals. I will miss my open toed shoes and going sans socks. I actually wore closed toe shoes for the first time yesterday since some time in May, possibly April. On the other hand, I bought an AWESOME new pair of Fluevogs this summer I can't wait to wear. (See below.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

It's over.

Yesterday was Labor Day so as far as I'm concerned summer is over. I know it has a few more weeks according to the calendar, but in my mind, summer goes from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In our listy spirit at Drunk Writer Talk, allow me to tell you about things I'm looking forward to this fall and things I'll miss from the summer.


1) Finishing the book I'm working on now. I've got less than two weeks to go. I think it might be good. I can't wait to find out.

2) Fall TV Premieres. I can't wait for The Good Wife and Castle. I'm also curious about a lot of new shows. There are TWO fairytale based urban fantasy sounding series. Two! Plus Ringers and something with Claire Danes and Damion Lewis that sounds interesting and a bunch of others.

3) Starting a new book. I've got a third Messenger novel and a novella that I'm itching to get started on.

4) My kid's soccer season. This is the last one. He's a senior this year. I've made so many wonderful friends on those sidelines and have had such fun watching him play.

5) Figs, persimmons and mandarin oranges. I adore the summer fruit, but some of the fall and winter fruit is pretty darn special, too!


1) The light and the heat. I love the long hot summer days. I like it being light at 6 a.m. and still light at 9 p.m. I groove on it. I'm already losing the morning light and it's totally bumming me out.

2) Summer TV (In Plain Sight, Suits, Wilfred, Burn Notice, plus some more I can't come up with off the top of my head). Summer TV seems a little quirky and weird and I love it.

3) White clothes. I don't have any white shoes, but I love me my white capri pants.

4) My big boy when he goes back to school. I think we laugh more when he's in the house. I am not, however, going to miss the chaos he tends to spread through the house.

5) More relaxed schedules. School's started. We're all busy. Our house runs on a schedule year round, but in the summer it feels like it has a little more grease to it.

Friday, September 02, 2011

What I've learned this summer

More lists, in honour of Molly, who is having the vacation of a lifetime.

1) summer is the hardest time of the year to write. I'm unfocused, reluctant to sit and work and lacking in focus. And judging by how much work my critique group sends out, we all feel this way. When the Fall hits, it seems all of us get to work and scenes get sent out, and we meet much more frequently.

2) Without an actual deadline, it's hard to muster up the enthusiasm to put the last, finishing edits on a book, the detail work that I generally don't enjoy as much. I should have finished this book three months ago and I'm still editing it... Creating my own deadline doesn't work for me any longer.

3) Every writer needs a break. I've watched critique partners and friends push to three, even four books a year and there is inevitably the book that teaches them they need to take a break, the one that needs a complete edit, or where each sentence is painful and they lose the joy.

4) Too much bachelor pad can turn your brain to mush, but two hours a week is just perfect.

5) Wear white after labour day. That rule that says not to is outdated.

time to get back to work. Have a great labour day.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Things I've learned after writing this book...

Once again in honor of Molly and her love of lists I thought I would put together a list of everything I learned from writing this last book. Which if I prevail will be turned in after this weekend. (I always ask my editor for that extra weekend – this time I was super sneaky because it included a holiday.)

1. A book is easier to write when you are writing consistently every day or every other. When I take breaks between writing chunks… it’s disjointed and sucky.

2. Writing for an hour consistently every day allows for more pages than trying to do major chunks of time only on the weekend. I will commit my mornings to writing. I will. (Damn you double alarm clock which always gives me an out…)

3. I can’t start a sentence without And or So. I must also include the word “that” and “just” in every sentence. It simply is what it is. Thank goodness for Find and Replace.

4. I believe 20 percent of my sentences are fragments and I have a passion for the “…”.

5. My favorite parts of writing are the spontaneous things which come out. Not brainstorming, not executing a chapter the way it appeared in my head, not editing it certainly. It’s the things which go where I didn’t know they were going, which surprise me, which make me ask - Where in the hell did that come from? - which excites me the most. I never realized that until this book.

6. I’m too linear. I can’t get far enough away from the book to pick out the big things I got wrong. I can’t move chapter 11 to chapter 2 or insert chapter 2 ½ between chapters 2 and 3. Thank goodness for my editor.

7. Thinking about GMC actually helps. Funny story… I had no idea what that acronym stood for. Molly sent it to me in an email regarding a book I had asked her to read. I was like what the heck… oh no – I bet it’s one of those writer terms everyone should know. It was. Thank goodness for Google.

8. I need a little pressure when writing. Not a lot of pressure. I could never do a twenty four hour writing marathon. But sometimes I like to wait for the last moments because it lends a sense of urgency to the writing. I’m still putting my book together, still waiting for the word count to add up and I still have the final scene I need to write. I have to give it another read, then more editing. All of that in a handful of days. I think it makes me more focused.

9. I did not think I could write a book without killing someone. I was right. Someone in the book always has to die.

10. … I’ve run out but I wanted to have a 10 things listed.

And that’s it. So just what are the things that you learn too….

(See what I did there.)

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