3rd Draft

I often get asked how long it took me to write one of my novels. The answer varies anywhere from 10 years to 6 months. I’d love to say the novels take less time the more I write, but that’s just not true. Each novel is different and has its own problems.

garbageI also get asked (a lot!) how many edits it takes for a novel to be good enough. My answer: all of them.

I don’t mean to be flippant. The truth is, you just can’t edit a novel enough. But you eventually get to a point where you decide, either a) the novel is quite good, b) you need the publisher’s/agent’s input before you do more, or c) you’re just so sick of the story you want it out of your life. Just a hint, when that last happens, chances are you should just put it down and come back to it much later for one last read through.

You edit until you can’t. It’s just that simple.

The Last Griffin took 2 edits on my end and one from my publisher’s editor.

Frozen Fire just …. Grrrrrrrr! I can’t tell you how many times I went through that book, editing, rewriting, completely overhauling. I honestly am not sure I’ll ever be able to read it again. But I knew when it was ready to find a new home. You will too.

To Be Phoenix is on it’s 3rd rewrite since it’s major overhaul. Not even ready for fine editing yet. But it’s getting there.



Posted in Fiction Writing Tips, To Be Phoenix, Uncategorized

Character Worksheets

There are a million-zillion different character worksheets spread all over the web. These are designed to help you better understand your character. Nothing wrong with that.

However, to help your readers to understand your character, some of this material actually has to make it into your story.


Customize the details to fit your story. You know your character has red hair and walks with a limp. You know your character is twice divorced and has an only child by the second marriage. These are important things for your reader to know too. It points to the personality of the character.

I’m not talking a big infodump of details, but a scattering throughout the story as it relates.

To add the earlier info to a story, you can use taglines at the end of dialogue.

“You’re quite generous,” he said. Not like his first wife who could refuse a drink of water to a man in a desert. But not like his second wife either, who’d nearly put the two of them and their son in the poorhouse just by her constant donations to charity. No, this woman was right in the middle. Nearly perfect. He smiled at her.

See how that adds so much to the character’s personality? These details are what create depth and interest in a character.

Use character worksheets. Customize them to your heart’s content. And put that info in your story!

Posted in Character Writing Tips, Fiction Writing Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,



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On Finishing

I finished the second draft of To Be Phoenix,

and I must say, I’m getting excited about this book. I think it’s going to be one of my best.

Now to reward myself.pen

I find that writers don’t do this often enough. Writing is hard work. It’s never-ending. In between the giddy highs of milestones, the work is frustrating, annoying, defeating, and infuriating. Why in the world would we want to keep doing something like that? Sometimes we need little things to keep us happy.

When I’m having trouble staying motivated, I set little milestones with little rewards. Maybe, once a chapter is rewritten, I’ll go sit on the deck for the rest of the day.

Sometimes I need a reward for even smaller milestones: half a chapter, one page, sometimes even just figuring out a difficult situation without it even being written. I might get a little prize.

Bigger rewards are for bigger milestones. I finished a draft of my novel. I get dinner out. Though, it was a very difficult rewrite. Maybe a movie, too.  Yes, that’s the ticket. Dinner and a movie!

When I get it published, maybe I’ll take a little trip somewhere. Not a big one, just a weekender. There is the work of the release party coming up, after all. And the next novel is waiting in the wings.

The point is: Writing’s hard work; reward yourself often. Bribe 
yourself. Do whatever you have to do to make yourself keep coming back to your story. And finish it, any way you can.

Posted in Fiction Writing Tips, To Be Phoenix, Uncategorized