Pick a starting point…

It’s a question that plagues most writers at some point – where do I start this story? Don’t start with waking up. Start in the middle of the action. Don’t start with an info dump or backstory. Open with a hook. Do this. Don’t do that. The advice on how to craft the opening scenes of […]

I couldn’t write this stuff…

Scene 1: At an inner-city self-storage facility, I’m the only person in the lot when a nondescript panel van pulls in. I’m busy unloading the now empty bins of holiday decor, set to go back into storage, when a guy climbs out of the panel van. Nothing strange here, right? We’re at a storage facility […]

Protesting the President-Elect

Protests will make people sit up and listen. I think it may be effective in uniting those with common concerns. I think it sends an important message – to those marginalized folks? You are not alone. You have allies. I am determined to be a part of the solution for a better tomorrow. I cannot change the past. I cannot change today. But I can sure as hell make sure I do my damnedest to bring about a country where ALL of my friends and family are treated equally.

From Pantser to Plotter… I think…

There are generally two types of writers… those who plot and those who do not. Okay, obviously, there are hybrids… folks who do a bit of both, and the world is never quite as extreme black and white as all that, but… for the sake of this post, let’s go with it, m’kay? (cue the […]

Friends and frustrations…

It’s been a challenging month. In the midst of the usual familial stuff, we’ve also been dealing with a major fracture among some of our closest friends. I’ve been fortunate to have plenty to distract me from over-thinking the whole mess – kids, home, family, etc. plus putting a lot of effort into PitchWars (a writing contest), […]

Mentor Madness…

So the idea of Pitch Wars is basically pairing unagented authors with a more experienced author to tackle improving their manuscript before submitting to agents. (extremely short version there) In years past, hopefuls selected the mentors they thought would be a good fit and submitted their query and first chapter to them. You had a limited […]

Revisions…

I’ve spent most of my career as an editor. I know damn good and well the work a writer turns in usually goes through multiple rounds of edits before it approaches publishable status. Still, as a writer, there is that little ego trip that says, “No, this is my creative baby, and it is perfect, […]

Pitchy Pursuit… Pitch Wars 2016

It’s that time of year again… Pitch Wars!  (certified GIF-free post – but I do have a slideshow!) I participated last year with a manuscript that I thought was ready to go… yeah, I was mistaken. I shelved that story for a bit and worked on some other projects, but the story kept nagging me. […]

Snowzilla 2016

Baltimore doesn’t get tons of snow very often. In fact, this year, we had a very mild winter. That is, until this past weekend, when winter decided to arrive and make up for lost time by dumping 29 inches of powdery white stuff all over us. Still… it wasn’t that bad. We had a kitchen […]

On Writing: Crit Partners

What is a “crit partner”? Google the term, or the unabbreviated “critique partner” and you’ll see a confusing list of definitions, and places to find fellow writers eager to pair up with a crit partner. In my eyes, and those of the folks I most frequently work with, a crit partner is usually a two-way […]