What Determines Success or Failure?

By now in life you've likely experienced the elation of personal success and the crush of failure. In the best fiction and most successful films, you feel those same sensations for the characters. You cheer when they succeed. You mourn when they fail. So, what determines success or failure?  If you judge solely on your feelings, you may go wrong. But emotions don't lie, you say. Yes, often they do. Emotions can flair up based on other people's judgements -- reviews, comments, praise, criticism, … [Read more...]

Memoir or Fiction?

I recently received an email from a writer who is writing a Christian book that is personal. She is unsure how to write it -- as Memoir or Fiction? Several years ago, Adair Lara wrote a great article for Writers Digest that continues to be relevant today addressing this very issue: 10 Ways to Tell if Your Story Should be a Memoir or a Novel.  Memoir or Fiction? Beyond her advice and the insights from highly successful novelists and memoirists Adair shares in her piece, I'd like to stress -- … [Read more...]

Second Chance Lunar New Year

If you're like me, 2016 ended in a blur. Rather than jump on day one into 2017  with clearly defined plans and goals and dreams for the new year, suddenly, here at nearly the end of January, I've got nothing. Behind in making New Year's resolutions, woefully so, and looking for a second chance, I remembered the Lunar New Year.  Happy Lunar Year Year! January 28th is the start of a two week celebration heralding the Lunar New Year and year of the Rooster. Rather than drift through 2017 and let … [Read more...]

What Motivates You to Keep Writing?

Do you sometimes become so completely overwhelmed by all the work left to be done to your story that you walk away without writing? I've been doing that dance myself lately. Preparing for this month's free Plot Tips eZine (yes, I know September is more than halfway over!), rather than begin on all the steps involved -- catch up on emails, update all social media, and write a few of blog posts -- I give in to the overwhelm and walk away. Perhaps we've each forgotten. What motivates you to keep … [Read more...]

Writers! Looking for a Way Back into Your Story?

As summer slowly slips away, are you attempting to ease back into your novel, screenplay, or memoir? One tip I can offer writers looking for a way back into your story -- start at the end of your story. I'm always reminding writers that beginnings hook readers and endings create fans. My intent is to stress the importance of giving your ending at least as much time and attention as you give to your beginning. In wanting to perfect story beginnings to hook readers, writers often spend all their … [Read more...]

Calling all Writing Critique Groups and Book Clubs

Calling all Writing Critique Groups and Book Clubs! I'd love to celebrate the release of Parallel Lives ((A Novel)) with you. As I was digging for an inspired way to promote my new novel, a friend on Twitter came to my rescue. She'd just received a copy of my historical novel set in San Francisco in the 1960s, and she tweeted a few of her friends: "Book club anyone?" I immediately wanted to be a fly on the wall at that meeting. Then, I thought, why not actually be there? That gave me my new … [Read more...]