Writer Beware: Speed Bumps Ahead

There are moments when a writer feels blocked. No words come. The story stalls. You’re staring at a brick wall. Every writer needs their own bag of tricks for overcoming Writer’s Block. (One of the best: a deadline.)

Speed Bumps

You might not have heard of another writer condition, one similar to Writer’s Block, but it differs in a significant way. I call it Writer’s Speed Bump, and knowing how to treat it is critical. Continue reading

The Art of Dropping Breadcrumbs

By Annette Lyon

Imagine that you’re reading an Agatha Christie novel. In the last chapter, Poirot calls the cops, tells them who committed the murder, and goes on his way, saying that of course everyone knows why Jeremy Jones is the one being carted off to jail.

TTOF - Breadcrumbs

After your confusion clears, you’d probably hurl the book against the wall in frustration. (Unless you were reading on a Kindle, in which case, you’d delete the dang thing with a strong click.)

Every story has mysteries and story questions. One of the biggest jobs a writer has is making sure that as the mysteries are revealed and the questions are answered, the reader isn’t confused to the point of book throwing. Continue reading

Giving up Control

It was time to move on. I’d been with a small publisher for over a decade and loved my time there, but something had shifted, both in me and in the industry. The stories I felt compelled to tell no longer fit the audience of my small publisher.

TTOF - Giving up Control

On top of that, I’d been researching a subject near and dear to my heart for a novel that scared me in that awesome and almost paralyzing way that tells you it’s something you have to write.

Tackling that book meant getting a New York agent. I’ve been writing seriously for over two decades and publishing almost as long, but to New York publishers, I’m brand new.

Continue reading

What No One Tells You About Pitch Sessions

If you’ve pitched at a conference, chances are you’ve read articles and blog posts about how to pitch. You’ve written out an elevator pitch. You’ve revised it until it shined. You practiced it in front of a mirror.

And you were scared out of your mind when your time came to face the agent across the table.

I’ve pitched at many conferences, but after the first couple of times, I started bending some of the supposed rules. While I’d had requests for pages before, I started getting enthusiastic requests for pages.

After I threw out the rule book on pitches, I got requests for full manuscripts. Continue reading

The Truth About Writer’s Block

I’ve heard people say that claiming you have writer’s block is akin to a plumber saying he’s got plumber’s block. To me, that comparison is ridiculous.

Plumber's Block - 2
A plumber has the exact same wrenches and other tools he uses every day on the job. He has a clear-cut list of skills he needs and issues he’ll face, and he’ll use the same tools to fix them. Chances are he’d better make use the same fitting he did on a similar job yesterday, or the connection will leak.  Continue reading