Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

I hope you all had a great week last week! We had a very nice (and delicious!) Thanksgiving with two of my sisters and their families. Now the last of the pumpkin pie is gone and it's time to get back to work. :)

As I mentioned before, I sent my latest manuscript out to critique partners recently. While I'm waiting to hear back, of course I'm starting the next book. A couple of weeks ago, when I started this project, I had just a glimmer of an idea. It's a mystery, so at that point I knew the murderer's identity and motive, and that was about it. Then I went to one of my all-time favorite books, the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass. I spent the past couple of weeks working through the exercises and ended today with writing the skeleton of my outline using the step-by-step guide in Appendix A.

I'm a compulsive planner, and I still have plenty of prep work left to do before I start the actual writing. But by working through this book, my glimmer of an idea has grown into a full-fledged story with layers and subplots and complications and steadily rising stakes. I've discovered new suspects and symbols and even my theme. I'm sure much of this will change as I continue to play with the storyline, but it's a great start with plenty of substance and details and original ideas I'm sure I wouldn't have thought of had the exercises in the book not forced me to dig deeper than my initial, easy surface ideas.

So, are you starting a new project soon? Or do you have an old project that needs new life? Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook has two thumbs up from me! Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
And thanks to everyone for your good wishes on my new adventure in studying nursing! I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving have a wonderful holiday week, and for those who don't - I hope you have a just plain wonderful week. :)
I'm going to be celebrating with family and eating lots of turkey and pumpkin pie - see you next week!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Change is in the Air

First of all, I apologize for my unexplained absence. I was trying to get my latest manuscript out to beta readers, and I finally did late last week - hooray! While I'm waiting to hear back, I decided to give my blog a new look that better represents the kind of writing I do - mysteries with a touch of creepy.

You may have noticed another change if you read my "About Me" section - I'm starting nursing school! I've been accepted to an Accelerated BSN program which means I can get my BSN in one year since I already have a BS in engineering. I'll need a year of prerequisites (mostly biology) before I can start the program, though, so it will actually be two years. I start my prerequisites in January 2013 and, if all goes according to plan, I'll start the BSN in January 2014. I'm still debating whether I'll do that BSN option or get an Associates nursing degree at a school much closer to home, but either way I'll need the year of prerequisites.

So, that may mean more unexplained absences in the future. Since I started my blog I've been a stay-at-home mom and writer, which allowed me a lot of free time. I'm sure going to school will put a serious cramp in that, but I'll do my best to keep a regular blogging schedule, though there will undoubtedly be times when I fall behind. I hope you'll all understand!

So, big changes happening here. Any changes in your life lately?