Revising a manuscript: How do you know when a draft is finished?

How do you know when a draft of a story is done? For me, a first draft is finished when I’ve written it from beginning to end—it might be rough, but the story is on the page. But subsequent drafts are harder to judge. In my view, the second draft is finished when all the […]

Read More

Murky Middles and Sunday ROW80 check-in

I’m currently up to my eyeballs in revisions of a novella, and one thing I’m struggling with—one that many of us struggle with, I suspect—is keeping tension throughout the middle of the story. I worry that the middle sags a little, not because I’ve made things too easy for my characters, but because they’re sort […]

Read More

Scene Revision: 4 common reasons why a scene doesn’t work

I spent the second half of last week revising chapter three in my WIP, a novella entitled “Good, Old-Fashioned Magic.” I needed to send that chapter off to my critique partners for our monthly meeting of the minds. The problem was that I wasn’t happy with that scene. The scene just didn’t work. I hate […]

Read More

Using Rejection to Reignite Our Creative Fire

While it doesn’t look like I will finish all the projects I set out to finish this year, I did reach a big milestone. In 2012, I received two rejections from editors to whom I’d submitted my manuscript. Instead of lamenting those rejections, I was humbled by them. These women took the time to contact […]

Read More

Working with characters during revision

An alternate title for this post was: Dealing with Zoe. See, I love Zoe, the female lead in Made of Shadows. She’s intense, passionate, fiery, compassionate, and maybe a little nuts. Okay, a little might be understating. Zoe is a woman on the edge. The martial arts skills and motorcycle don’t help. So when editing […]

Read More

3 weak sentence constructs to avoid in our writing

As writers, everything we read and write develops our ear and eye. We learn how good writing sounds, how it leaps off the page, how it sends a thrill or a chill through us. A good line has bite. And we develop an eye—an eye for glaring spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors, so that those, […]

Read More