So short.

Today’s post is going to be so short. I am just about done with my readthru of the first draft of the sequel, and today is my last “work” day until my kids start school next month.  So I want to get stuff done! That is why I have a Venti Iced Coffee sitting next to me and Foster the People playing on Rdio. 

I want to hear from you. What are your favorite mysteries? Movies or books or real life. Comment and let me know.

Off to read.

Writing Resources: Vol 1

I’m starting a new series on some of my favorite writing tools.

The first is: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

When I first started writing seriously a few years ago, I HATED the idea of outlining. HATED IT. I mean, I really, really didn’t like it. I wanted to let the writing flow out of me naturally.

And it did. Lots of it. Mostly it was short stories, scenes from my life that I wanted to fictionalize. Occasionally, it was good. So then I thought I could write a novel. I took those ideas and rewrote them as fiction and added some connections and: voila! a book.

I asked a few people to read it. They were sweet. Looking back at it now, I feel a bit bad for them. But they gave me the encouragement I needed to start another project. By my next project was…ambitious. I started writing it knowing the beginning and the end. But I had no idea how to get from point A to point B.

I’ve been listening to KM Weiland’s podcasts for a long time, and had read her blog posts about outlining. So I downloaded her book, went to a cafe, ordered a cookie and a coffee, and read. The entire first half.

Then, I was so pumped about the story, I called my husband and told him I needed more time. And I started the outline for Home.

I finished the book and the first draft of Home. While I worked on that (I’m actually still working on it!) I started working on the concept for Stealing the Ruby Slippers. You may have read that I completed the first draft in three weeks. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I’m working on the sequel right now. I am within two or three days of finishing the first draft.

First of all, let me say: these are first drafts. There is a TON of rewriting and editing. But getting the story out is the first step of getting the book done. And there is no way I could write that fast without an outline.

The other thing about outlining is: it’s easier than actually writing. So, if you’re thinking about writing but are afraid to start, do an outline!

I use the “mind-map” outline method to get all of the ideas out, then eventually move it into a linear outline to create chapters. I use SimpleMind so I can move things around, but it would be just as easy to use post-it notes.


You think you don’t like research?

I think there are two types of people in the world: those that love research (me) and those that hate research (me.) Okay. So there is some crossover.

But I’ve been having a lot of fun with the first draft of Finding the Ruby Slippers, and a big part of it has been research. I’ve spoken with the President of the Minnesota Iron Mining Association, a really cool Geologist (btw, if I’m not supposed to capitalize everyone’s titles, sorry. And be happy I pay an editor for my books 🙂 and, yesterday, the DNR.

I also use a lot of websites in my research. Google and I are bestest friends. Today, like the amazing BF it is, Google gave me a picture of Brad pit with his shirt off. Because it knew that was the very best image for me to look at to describe a man’s six pack.

I can’t post the picture here because I don’t own it or have any right to it, but I did pin it on my Finding the Ruby Slippers research board on Pinterest. Check it out. And see if there is anything you can guess about the plot by what’s pinned. I’d love to hear your thoughts!