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So, the reason it took me so long to get any traction on that novel…

As my blog-readers may know, I’ve been struggling to write a children’s novel for the past 10-12 weeks and I’ve been putting an epic amount of time and effort into it. And I had several points at which I’d written 15+k of a novel and outlined the rest of it and knew exactly what was going […]

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Work is going extremely well!

I’m well past the halfway point, and it’s looking like I’ll finish by the end of the week (book is a middle grade novel, so it’s only novella length). It started off as a whimsical children’s novel. Now it’s not nearly as whimsical as it once was, sadly. This has been one of the more […]

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Working

Still working on the middle-grade book. About to start Chapter Five! It’s growing less and less likely that I’ll need to restart again. Someday I’d like to go back and summarize all the permutations that the concept has gone through. But not now. I think it’s going well. At least, I can’t spot any clear […]

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Sometimes, when you’re in the darkest and gloomiest part of the writing process, the workshop cliche is what saves you

Usually, the suggested fixes that you’re given by a writing workshop are pretty mechanical and, oftentimes, not very coherent. The thing that workshop does well, though, is diagnose the problems that need to be fixed. Because stories are so complicated and need to work on so many levels, it’s very possible to create a story that’s all tone or […]

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My life is mud, but at least I read a good book

It’s ridiculous how mired up I am in this book. But I distinctly remember how awful I felt when the last one wasn’t going well and how amazing it was when the book finally opened up and yielded its secrets to me. I hear other people talk about how disappointed they are that the book […]

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Up to my 49th draft of chapter one of this children’s book

I thought that the 48th was going to be it (I got all the way to Chapter Four!) but then it turned out not to be it. All of this rewriting seems crazy now, but, in my opinion (and in my experience), a book’s not gonna work unless the first chapter works. For me, the […]

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Sometimes the key to writing a novel is situating yourself at the right point in your protagonist’s emotional journey

Actually managed to get to chapter 2 today!!! Not sure that I’ll stay there. I’ll probably end up getting two or three chapters in and then find myself back at chapter one. It’s very strange, because I know pretty much what the world is like and the emotional journey is going to be and what’s […]

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It’s inadvisable to begin a novel with both an unusual event and a weird setting

With the end of the semester, I went back to work on my whimsical children’s novel (no joke, I am currently writing the 32nd draft of the first chapter). And I realized that one of my problems was that my first chapter contained both: a) a pretty atypical setting; and b) an event that was, […]

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That part of the novel-writing process where you find ways to avoid writing the stuff that you don’t yet understand

Sometimes, when I get to a point where (but not all) of a novel is working well, I’ll experience a curious sort of circularity in the writing process. Things will really be clicking for awhile, and then the whole thing will go slack. And then I’ll make a titanic effort and sort of figure out […]

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Writing a novel is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle composed of pieces you carved yourself

I’m trying to write a whimsical children’s novel (you know, something in the style of Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket or Dianne Wynne Jones’s oeuvre), because I wasn’t in the mood to write another short story and I wasn’t in the mood to write anything long and complicated. Whimsical children’s novels (WCNs, for short) tend […]

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