Posted in 1. Writing

Making Outlining Work for Pantsers


If you are a Pantser, meaning you write new things by the seat of your pants, having an outline won’t always work. You may feel after writing one that once you know where the story is going it has lost its spark. Writing becomes dull and scripted. Writing for each step ends up arduous.

Yet Pantsers can use outlines to aid them. The best thing for a Pantser to outline, or at least write down, is the ending to avoid a flat one. You can’t write action, action, and … he died, the end. You need a direction even when writing by the seat of your pants. Your whims may take you off track, but remember where you are going so you can get back to that ending.

  • the princess won’t live happily ever after
  • the car will explode
  • the battle to end all battles will be survived by the druids

Another way you can use an outline is to keep track of your plot lines as you go, or at least in your first draft edit make a bulleted list of things you wrote that you forgot about. You might be able to add them back in to fix some plot holes.

  • Kevin had a brother who died mysteriously
  • The fairy may or may not have been her mother
  • Explosions happened in the 4th kingdom

Then when you edit the ending, make sure you closed those story arcs – unless you are writing a sequel. If you do write a sequel, make sure those story arcs (unsolved questions) are strong enough to carry it.

Posted in Snippets/Writing Samples

Death of a Muse

Detective Hawk reached a gloved hand to the light switch. In the moment before the room was bathed in light, she braced herself for a scene of unknowable atrocity. It was not difficult to kill a muse, they are quite delicate, but at times the results can be quite macabre.


She squinted. Stark reality was hard on the pupils. A lithe figure, white feathered wings drooping from two graceful shoulders used to bearing the weight of the world curled around a body stooped limply yet stiffly across the top of a writing desk. Ink cascaded down a single white page and puddled on the floor thickly. A pale head, thankfully turned away from the Detective, rested on the ink stained page. Her feather quill had fallen to the floor. Elegant legs were still tucked under the desk.

She could have been asleep.

Unfortunately, the Detective had no choice but to walk over and stare into the vacant, open eyes of crystal blue.

“What happened to you, goddess?” she breathed in awe.

She began to search for clues.

Posted in Other

Critique Circle

I wanted to take a moment to talk up a great website called Critique Circle.

It’s where authors submit their works in progress for review and critique. In order to submit you have to critique other works. This site is monitored for trolls, those that don’t play by the rules. I have not had any instances where I’ve gotten a critique that wasn’t honest.

Critiques are best when they are detailed. If you leave a critique explain why you liked or didn’t like a part. Be nice and use academic speech. Don’t just leave positive, happy face, remarks all over because no one learns anything that way.

Join. There are thousands of members and they are all aspiring and even published authors, so they take things seriously. You get great feedback on your work. You are not alone in writing!

Posted in 3. Publishing

Q is for Query Letter

When your book is ready (after edits and beta readers and rewrites), it’s time to seek out an agent if you are going the traditional publishing route.

Agents don’t want your full manuscript, they prefer a nice, well-written letter explaining what you have for them and what you bring to the table.

A query letter is a single page cover letter, introducing you and your book.

Here is a perfect example. (with explanations)

A query letter has three concise paragraphs: the hook, the mini-synopsis, and your writer’s biography. Don’t stray from this format.

Here are 23 more examples.

The quotes above are from a detailed “Query Letter Basics” that break it down for you, here.

If you self-publish, you could use the suggestions in the ‘basics’ to write a killer blurb for either your book jacket, book’s About page, or some ad copy. Maybe it becomes the script for your book trailer. 🙂

Happy Writing!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Posted in 1. Writing

Writing Resolutions

1. Finish what You start

I have way too many little starts. Little starts are good. But finishing a story feels soooo good. I also have starts on editing multiple projects. Those need finished.

If you have little starts, prompts, a character talking to you in your head, a vivid dream, write it down. Flesh it out with setting, more characters, motives, and a problem or two.

Then write it. 500 words a day, if you can. Less, more, some words a day.

Write to the end. Even a short story can have a market. There are TONS of short story competitions, magazines, and places to submit them.

2. Trade critiques with another writer

I know how valuable this is. I won a writing competition because I had others critique my work and I listened to them to make it awesome. I will most likely go back to Critique Circle and begin working there.

Trading Beta Readers is also a great way to build a launch team for your book. Anyone who Beta Read it might be willing to review it for you on Amazon and Goodreads and help you host a launch party.

3. Increase Your Marketing Platform

Brainstorm what you can do to add value to your book, book launch, readers, and email list. Mostly, write and get things out there. Create things to promote.

Ask what people like to read, to have, what questions they have that you might be able to answer. Give things away. Give answers away.

Have a website. Integrate it with social media as you see fit. Make it work for you by automatically posting across platforms.

What else? Comment below.

Posted in Snippets/Writing Samples

Time Machine

After months of walking, surviving, fighting off beasts, eating only things I saw other creatures eating, and building a hut and a fire, I have given up hope that humankind survived.

Putting together a rough signal transmitter from the parts in my time machine, I wait here, the latitude and longitude beeping out endlessly into the sky above. I wrote a message with rocks ten feet wide on the top of a plateau. I am building myself a wall.

I could travel farther, keep looking for clues, but it seems this land of forest and wild things has recovered from some terrible shock. The trees here are too young, the vegetation fast growing, I assume it has only been the last 50 years that this area has bloomed.

What did we do to the Earth?

I began to dig just last week. I was looking for trash they said would never decay. I found a layer of dark rock, the kind made by intense heat and quick cooling. I can’t get past that without advanced tools.

I am sure my ancient race lies below it.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Posted in Sneak Peeks

Leeto Sneak Peek!

“Riddle?” I blinked my eyes several times quickly. This was like what teachers called a pop quiz and I felt just as panicked as when I hear those words.
“Only the Pure and Gentle Heart would answer correctly. If you do, we will let you stay in Quandryville tonight and be treated like a King.”
“But what if I get it wrong?” I felt my heart beat furiously in my chest and took a few big breaths. The Mayor waved his hand and guards bolted like bullets from a gun, holding their spears only inches from all of our throats. Leo hissed. Dar shook and Merlin frowned.
“If you are wrong, you are Dead Wrong.”