Enlightened Revising Creates Exhilarated Rewriting

Facing a blank page often thrusts a writer into prolonged bouts of procrastination, fear, terror even. Free writing is a joy when you at least have a vague idea where you're going. Unexpectedly, when I took the challenge to write the entire first draft of The Avenue from beginning to end without once going back to rewrite, I found the discipline of forging ahead liberating. I followed prompt-by-prompt in The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts (an experience I wrote about in the book and had … [Read more...]

Writers Beware! Do Not Rewrite Until You First Revise

Full Confession: I cheated! A major revision tip I stress to writers: Do NOT begin to rewrite until you first revise. I broke my own rule (though as we all know, there are no rules to writing). I began rewriting before even progressing beyond Day Two of Revise Your Novel in a Month. What's wrong with that, you ask? Just as going back and rewriting during any draft slows the process, revision comes to a grinding halt if you begin rewriting too soon. So, writers beware! Do not rewrite until you … [Read more...]

Thematic Significance in Stories

Rolled up with all the Plot Planners I've used for teaching and created for my own novels, this Thematic Significance Bubble example from The Secret Garden fell out. Interesting that it appears just as I'm writing The Avenue, a novel I describe as a grown-up, darker version of The Secret Garden -- but I digress. A story exists through characters and the actions they take, but at the same time it also represents something else. The thematic significance of a story is a statement the story … [Read more...]

A Transition and A Threshold

You're fully in the high of writing. Everything you think about, read about, dream about has some magnificent significance to your story. Words come quickly. You easily and eagerly show up everyday to write. No resistance, you're in the flow. All your plans and desires for the future and any shame and resentment for the past vanish. Everyday new ideas pop up to solve old problems. Whether a plotter or a pantser or a plotser, a beginner or a seasoned writer,  it's just you and your story. Then … [Read more...]

How to Reorganize and Re”vision” a Story with a Plot

Last year, I blogged the steps I took to refine my last novel -- Parallel Lives -- before publishing. For the past few months, I've blogged the steps I took to finish The Avenue. ***A darker grown-up version of the children’s story The Secret Garden collides with a dangerous drug house on an avenue with more boarded-up houses than lived-in as a mysterious stranger steers Jonna into a yearlong journey of self-discovery and forgiveness in The Avenue.*** Now, I share my process how to reorganize … [Read more...]

The Existential Crisis in Stories

The 3rd Energetic Marker -- The Crisis / Dark Night -- is more or less a fixed moment in the Universal Story. Whether this major turning point is an existential crisis depends on the emotional intensity you intend for the story you're writing. Using the existential crisis in stories provides depth and meaning. Existential  Existentialism posits that each individual is empowered to choose the parameters of his or her existence. Existential is an adjective and, for our purposes, describes … [Read more...]