Back to Basics, part VII: Anatomy of a Butt-Kicking

Today’s post, while continuing my “Back to Basics” series, takes a slightly different tack. I have a good friend to thank for this idea (Thanks, April). She asked me the other day how my current book was coming, and when I told her that the book was basically kicking my butt, she said something along the lines of “Oh, you should write about that. Lots of us would like to hear about what a professional does when a book is beating him up.” So, here you go.

I’ve written posts in the past about troubleshooting a manuscript, or dealing with problems as they come up. This post is sort of like those. Only more so.

There are so many ways for things to go wrong with a manuscript, so many reasons why a writer might find himself getting a figurative butt-kicking from his work-in-progress, that it’s really hard to pinpoint […]

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By Request: A Post About Plotting

The results of our first Magical Words poll indicated that many of you are interested in posts about (among other things) character development and plotting. So I thought that today I would take on plotting, at least in a general way. I have no doubt that my MW colleagues will have much to add, either with comments to this post or with posts of their own, but I’ll take the first whack at it.

Developing the plot for a novel, or even a shorter work, isn’t easy. Nothing else in writing is, so why should this be different, right? In a way, though, developing narrative is harder than most other things. There is a certain uniformity to the essentials of character development (for instance) that makes writing or speaking about it fairly simple. We all know what makes people tick, and so as we develop our characters we have some […]

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