Writing Tips:


Book Signing in Merrillville, Indiana 

            Time for evaluating our past year and setting goals and objectives for the future.  The difference? Goals are broad–write that novel. Objectives are more detailed–finish chapters 1-3 by midnight tonight.(Yeah, sure.)

            I’m a writer with tendencies to long-term writer’s block. I managed to break through this nasty trend, so 2017 was the year. Was it easy?  Nooooooo. What did I do this year? I wrote and compiled a collection of short stories. “Collection:Short Stories of Fantasy.” I usually write romantic suspense and mysteries, so this was a diversion. I also read and wrote many book reviews.   

            For the first seven years that I pursued my writing career, I worked hard at it. Tackled all the craft books until they were dog-eared.  Entered short story contests, wrote longer and longer stories and discovered I loved mystery genre. I wrote a few I submitted to Alfred Hitchcock’s mystery magazine until I realized my stories did not fit in his magazine. I managed to get five or six fiction and non-fiction short stories published in Skyline Magazine a beautiful literary magazine in the early and mid-2000s. Then, had a short story (The Fair Lady)  published in L’Affaire du Coeur. (You can find that in Collection: Short Stories of Fantasy.)

            Meanwhile, I started writing full-length mysteries.  Murder and mayhem. What a good idea. No problem. I’ve read everything Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers wrote. So I decided to write about something I know–horses. I created a bunch of characters, decided where I wanted them to go and dumped them onto the horse show scene. I bumped off a few characters, added drug smuggling, and red herrings and voila, I had written my first novel. That was before I knew how hard writing a book could be.

            Not so fast, you say. Yes, I said it too, when I realized my whole first chapter was a description of the setting, description of the characters,description of everything. Writing back in the Victorian era. 

            Then horrors upon horrors.

             I gave up the old 1990 computer/word processor,saved my brilliant novel to A disc floppies and. . .  Did you say you have to hit the “save” button?Really? What’s that? Cheerfully, (note the ly adverb) I deleted my computer content and gave away the old computer. I loaded the floppy into my new computer and . . . what happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.  Gone. Right into cyberspace. What were we saying about the “save” button?

            As I look back, I think it was for the best.

            I didn’t know about scenes, sequels, chapter lengths or endings,  what a point of view was or who should have it or when. In fact, I didn’t have any of the technical knowledge that can help a (sometimes) creative mind craft a readable novel. 

            I recalled my first novel “Matt’s Murder” from the bowels of my computer.  I started editing, and other projects got in the way.

            Then came Legacy of Danger. LOD has become my “kick me in the pants and finish something.” I’ve been working on this since 1998. No kidding.  The book started out as romantic suspense and evolved into paranormal romantic suspense. It starts in Evanston, Illinois and ends in Carpathian Mountains, Romania. No vampire counts. Just a few ghosts and blood-sucking terrorists out to stop a nice young lady from inheriting her castle.

            And, this is the end of the bedtime story for today.  Next time, we finish my frustrating path to published novels and enter into writer’s block.  Then we’ll smash into setting goals for 2019. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Don’t eat too much–and don’t drink and drive. (the mother in me is coming out. 

            To be continued

5 thoughts on “Writing Tips:

  1. I always looked forward to getting my Alfred Hitchcock magazine:) Back in the day I tried to submit for many magazines, too. I had one article in Nature’s friend and was almost in Highlights (long before I realized what they were telling me I needed to do that for what I submitted…) Moving from a typewriter to a word processor was so amazing to me to have it there how I left it and I could fix things without using the horrible smelling liquid. I’ve lost a book once on a computer when I first started on them. Later it ended up being “This Second Chance” and I think it was lucky the first draft ended up gone. Writer’s block can be a tough one. I had it this year and just finally got an idea for my next book. I was worried I’d ran out of ideas…lol. Going back to short stories has been so fun for me. I really enjoyed your collection and I’m looking forward to reading all of “Legacy of Danger”.


    • Thanks for your comment.
      This is the only way we can know for certain who’s reading our work.
      I’ve just started your Christmas story. It will take me a few days because I still have to finish Gwen and John ‘s The Contract.
      Thanks for being such a great RRBC friend. They are few and far between.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved The Contract! I look forward to hearing what you think about “A Long Walk Home”. I’m happy to have found RRBC and your friendship through it Patricia:)


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