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Showing posts from June, 2013

Discovery Writing and the Alpha Reader

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In a previous post, I discussed why the “Go! Go! Go!” approach for writers may not make the most sense for discovery writers. Discovery writers are discovering their story as they write, and I concluded that finishing a draft without revising could lead to a lot of wasted time and energy. Revising my opening chapters has definitely helped me make sure I'm heading forward on solid ground, hopefully saving me from writing a draft that I will end up throwing away.

Another important part of my process is the alpha reader, someone who reads my chapters before I complete the entire draft. Alpha readers either reassure me that my beginning is solid, or they advise me that I'm taking a wrong turn. I had two alpha readers for SKY MAHAL and they both provided me with valuable guidance that made a huge difference in how the book turned out.

If you're worried about showing people your first draft, you're not alone. I actually never show my alpha readers my first draft of anything…

Success Story: Rachel Solomon and Her Path to Landing An Agent

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I'm so excited to announce that my friend and writing buddy Rachel Lynn Solomon has recently signed with literary agent Molly Jaffa at Folio Lit!

Rachel and I met at a writing critique group a little over a year ago. Since then, we've met regularly to support and encourage each other as we stare at the dreaded blank page. Rachel is just so smart and dedicated to the craft that I knew it was only a matter of time before she found success as a writer. Here's the scoop on her novel TWITCH and how she landed her agent.

What's your genre and one-sentence pitch?

TWITCH is YA contemporary. It’s about a sixteen-year-old girl with Tourette’s syndrome who gets wrapped up in a small-town political scandal, while trying to balance her politically obsessed family and a romance with a boy with OCD.

What inspired you to write about a character with Tourette's?

One day last year, I got sucked into a YouTube black hole watching videos of teens with Tourette’s talking about their …

The 20K Roadblock and Discovery Writing

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There appears to be a consensus among writers that 20K is the magic word count where they hit a roadblock. This just happened to me. I was sailing along, content with hitting my word count goals, not worrying too much if everything I was writing was terrible. Hey, it's a first draft, right?

And then I couldn't go on anymore. I mean, I could, but I wasn't sure that I should.

I had gone far enough to realize that too many things weren't working. I didn't like the tone of the novel—it was getting too dark. I hadn't introduced enough complexity and subplots so it seemed like it was going to end too quickly. And quite frankly, it was boring. I write YA science fiction, and it definitely needed more cool world building.

I could have continued with the daily word count and pushed forward with my rocky first draft anyway, but I decided to hedge my bets and revise. With my previous novel, the second half of the my first draft ended up in the garbage. I had fo…