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What Is This Book Anyway?


Toni and I had quite a time last week. read more >>

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This First Scene Is Kicking My Ass


How many times have I said, “Write the first scene last”? “You can’t know how a book begins until you know how it ends.” “Don’t waste your time rewriting the first scene over and over again, you’re going to change when the book is finished anyway.”

So I’ve spent the last week rewriting the first scene. Hell, I’ve spent the last three months rewriting this first scene. read more >>

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The Process. Argh.


I must have said, “It’s a process” a thousand times while I was teaching the McDaniel classes. And yet, it’s a lesson I have to learn over and over. Case in point: Toni’s and my collaboration on Monday Street. This book has changed so much since the beginning and it’s so much better, clearer, sharper now, but we couldn’t have gotten here without everything we did to get here. And now we’re in another rip-it-all-apart-and-look-at-the-pieces phase, so once again . . .



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I was just e-mailing with someone about writer mantras, the things we say to ourselves to keep us on track or just to keep us from going crazy. One of my faves is Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s “Protect the work,” which she beat me over the head with until I finally listened (SEP is always right, except about offices). I also like Elmore Leonard’s advice which was not a mantra but should be; the shortened version is “Don’t write the parts people skip.” Mine is “Stay fluid and unpredictable” which is good in all things, not just writing, as is Wil Wheaton’s Wheaton Law: “Don’t be a dick.”

So now I’m looking for a few good mantras. Whaddaya got, Argh People?

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Yes, That’s A Crusie


Poor Micki walked into the buzzsaw when she said the draft I posted didn’t sound like a Crusie yet. So I thought I’d expand on the issue here because what she meant was a perfectly good criticism, she just phrased it in an unfortunate manner. (IT’S OKAY, MICKI.) What that kind of comment almost always means is, “This book isn’t like the book that you wrote before that I like,” and that’s a perfectly good criticism. I’m good with that criticism. “I liked Faking It better than this,” is absolutely valid. “I know you wrote this, but this isn’t your writing” isn’t valid.

Isn’t that kind of picky? What’s the big deal? read more >>

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