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Monday, April 21, 2014

How to Write the great American novel, well, maybe!

Photo: Look what I have. It is the cover design for The new Diggitty book. Out soon. Just don't know when , for sure.Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsEveryday someone asks me, how do you write a book. I answer honestly, I haven't a clue. There is a book called The Artist's Way. It tells all aspiring writers they should write three pages a day no matter what. If nothing comes to you then right babble, just write. Well, I have never had a problem with coming up with ideas.

First, if you want to be a writer, the one rule I know is  to put your rear end in a chair and write.
If you don't have an idea then look up and write about the first thing you see or some people practice by using a prompt. The short story Thirteen is written from a prompt. I went to a writer's group and the lady said "For next month write a story about Friday the thirteenth, so I did.

Once I sit down, I can write for hours. My problem is sitting down. I swear, I think I have AADHD.
There are a million things I can think of to do instead of writing.To keep myself on the straight and narrow, I get up most mornings at six and write until ten. I only allow myself to get up to use the bathroom or get another cup of coffee. It has been working well. I average about fifteen hundred words a day. Theoretically, I could write an 80,000 word  book every two months or so. Wow, that sounds great.  It doesn't work that way. During those four hours, I have to make sure my details are correct, my characters are believable and my story flows.

I have always been told "get it down on paper and then go back and fix it". I can't work like that. If I realize my hero was thirty-five with green eyes in chapter two and in chapter four his eyes turned brown, I must fix it.

Next question I get asked is where do you get your ideas?  Everywhere. The other day I was buying groceries and the guy in front of me looked like the kind of guy who could clear out a bar with one swipe of his hand and yet he was gently holding a baby. Believe me, he will show up somewhere.
In truth, I don't know. I dream them, see a snippet on TV or in a book that sends my mind off on a tangent and I'm gone again.

Children's books are different. They come to me fully written. For days the idea will swirl around in my head and when it is fully formulated I sit down and write it. Usually in an hour or so. Then I take it to the very talented Mike Sears and he brings them to life. Diggitty the Dog Vol 2 will be out in a week or so and Diggitty the Dog Saves Christmas is at Mike's now.

For fear that I will bore you , I am going to stop now as soon as I tell you about my new series about the Watcher in the Woods.

All of the mysteries or crimes take place in the towns around the Mark Twain National Forest. (Truman  in the series). It is one and a half million acres. The Watcher sees things. At first he didn't do anything. He went on about his business , but one day a man drug the body of a boy in the woods and buried it. The Watcher couldn't get it out of his mind. When a sheriff of another small town is investigating a murder in another part of the forest, the Watcher moves the boys body where it will be found. It is only the beginning of the things the Watcher sees and the lengths he goes to to bring the criminals to justice. The first book in the Watcher series is The Body in the Woods. Should be out  by fall.
See you soon.
Stop by  who will be a guest blogger here on May 15  and at . Lisa will be my guest on May 5.
Happy reading and writing


  1. The process is different for every writer, but you're right--no approach will work without the butt-to-chair part.

  2. Exactly. I love your work, by the way.

  3. I think all those experts who say 'do this' or 'do that' if you want to write don't take into account we're all individuals. They're telling us what works for them. Those things don't necessarily work for others.

    1. That is right, Chuck. We all do our own thing and it usually works out.

  4. I really wish I had as much time as you to write everyday. I'm a weekend novelist for the most part. Can't get up before work and too tired after. Like when I was doing first round edits, my butt was in the chair most of the day Saturday and Sunday. My dream is to be able to write everyday. Maybe when my book is made into a movie I can. :-)

    1. Well, Wanda, you are on your way. Hope your dream comes true. The nice thing about being retired is I can write when I want.