Sunday, November 30, 2008

Timing Is Everything

Performing artists like actors and comedians know that timing is everything. Without the right pause, the right word, the right gesture, the piece falls apart.

Life too is all about timing. Turn a corner and bump into a stranger who will become your mate. Run back into the house to answer the phone before you leave for work and later discover you missed being in an accident by those few minutes. Invest in a friend’s start-up business as a favor and end up being a millionaire.

Getting published is all about timing, too. You’ve written and rewritten your masterpiece, but you can find no takers. At best, you’re inundated with form rejection letters; at worst, you’re ignored. It’s entirely possible you are correct and your masterpiece is the bestseller-waiting-to-happen that you know it is. So how come you can’t get published?

Timing. As in the performing arts and the art of life, timing is everything, but unlike the performing arts, you cannot stand before a mirror and practice until you master your timing. All you can do is keep sending out your manuscript in the hopes that one day it will be on the right desk at the right time. Because one thing is certain, your desk is not the right one.

So how do you cope with all that rejection? Don’t think of it as rejection. Think of it as practicing your timing. Practice may not make perfect, but it does give you a chance.

After all, Gone with the Wind was published after being rejected thirty-two times.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Slamming of the Doors

Hear the slamming of the doors
Wooden doors!
Metallic doors!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows
From the slamming of the doors,
The doors, doors, doors, doors.

(My apologies to Edgar Allen Poe)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ranting and Writing

We are always told to show not tell, yet new writers often have a hard time understanding the difference. And apparently, so do professional writers.

I found this example of tell in a book by a bestselling author. She was enraged, and this was very visible. You and I certainly could never get away with such a ridiculous sentence. How was her rage visible? Did she turn red? Did flames shoot out of the top of her head? Describing how she looked when angry, though not ideal, is better than simply saying her anger was visible, but an accomplished writer shows the anger, shows what the character did.

Perhaps she was angry at her fiancĂ© and so she slapped him. (As an aside, why is this still acceptable behavior for women? If men aren’t allowed to hit women, then women shouldn’t be allowed to hit men.) Or perhaps she tore off her engagement ring and tossed it in the river. Even better if she surreptitiously picked up a pebble, then palmed her engagement ring, and threw the pebble in the river. That way she could show many things besides her anger: she can show that she is smart, controlled, even manipulative. Maybe she isn’t even angry; could be she just wants the guy to think she was angry.

Any way you look at it, the sentence as it stands is weak. So is this one by the same author: He remained perfectly still, not moving a muscle. At least she showed him doing something, but remaining perfectly still and not moving a muscle mean the same thing. Redunancy, anyone?

While I’m on my rant here, I have something else I’ve been meaning to say. The preferred usage now is to use a instead of his or her when referring to a limb. For example: He put a hand in his pocket. The reasoning is that if you say he put his hand in his pocket, it presupposes that he has a single hand. But I always wonder: if he puts a hand in his pocket, whose hand is it? His? A disembodied hand he just happened to have lying around? Okay, I’m getting ridiculous here, but it shows the ambiguity of words.

Sometimes ambiguity is acceptable, but more often it’s the lazy way of writing. Makes me wonder why readers shell out hard-earned money when authors are so willing to repay them with sentences such as She was enraged, and this was very visible.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

One Ton Rat -- A Gift From My Muse

Once I start to focus on a writing project, bits and pieces of needed research sometimes fall into my lap. My current work, a whimsically ironic apocalytic novel (at least that's what I hope it is, for all I know, it could be just plain silly) proved to be no different. I tried to find odd prehistoric creatures to inhabit my world, but the books I read were either too technical (and lacked pictures) or the animals were too well-known. I figured I'd just have to create some interesting specimens, and then, in the course of a month, several interesting articles appeared on MSN Today in my inbox.

One article mentioned that Uruguayan scientists found the fossil of a two thousand pound rodent that had been as big as a bull. If the secret to writing is to be sadistic and to make awful things happen to your characters, then having my hero contend with such a creature should be wonderfully entertaining. Or at least show what my hero is made of. So what if the rodent has been extinct for two million years? It's my world. I can do what I want. And let my hero suffer the consequences.
(Photo from Msn)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Writing a Novel: Theme

Theme reminds me of literature classes and discussions about what certain authors meant. I wonder if those authors would agree with the meanings ascribed to their works, or if they are laughing in their graves at our foolishness.

It’s bad enough saddling classics with themes, but I have never seen the purpose of theme as it pertains fiction today. I mean, who cares? When you read Grisham or King or Cornwell, do you stop and ask yourself what the theme is? Of course not. No agent or editor who considered handling one of my books ever asked me my theme, so I have to assume they don’t care either.

Yet all the writing experts tell us we must establish a theme before we begin writing our novels.
Themes usually sound clichĂ©d or silly, like “Murder doesn’t pay,” the basic theme of most murder mysteries, or “Love conquers all,” the basic theme of most romances. To a certain extent, all novels have the same underlying theme: “Who are we individually and collectively?”

Good fiction brings us closer to knowing the truth about ourselves, our place in the universe, and how we relate to others, but as a theme, it is so broad as to be almost worthless.

Although I’ve never had any use for themes, I decided to do something different and establish one for my current work in progress, a take-off on apocalyptic novels. Turns out it was simple.

All I had to do was look at the character sketch I created for the story, and I found this: “He will be forced to decide how much of his freedom he is willing to give up for safety, and how much of his safety he is willing to give up for his freedom.” Sounds like a theme to me. (And an unexpected use of my character sketch.)

Now that I have a theme, what do I do with it? When I need to figure out what my hero will do, I can refer to the theme to help me understand what he wants, what his motivations are. If I need a subplot, I can choose one that will enhance the theme. I can give relationships, especially minor ones, a greater significance by keying them into the theme. I can use it to give scenes and dialogue relevance beyond the immediate. Best of all, if the theme does what it is supposed to, it will give the story an underlying structure and resonance it would not otherwise have.

Maybe those dead writers are not laughing in their graves after all. Maybe they are high-fiving each other because we got what they were trying to say.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Writing Hurts

I started writing again a couple of weeks ago. After a year of tweaking my finished novels, entering contests, critiquing and being critiqued, I wasn't certain I'd ever be able to get back into writing again. But, according to Suzanne Francis, author of Heart of Hythea: "Writing is like riding a bike. When you fall off it hurts . . . No. Wait! I meant - you never forget how to do it!"

She is correct on both accounts. I didn't forget how to do it, and it hurts.

Writing is painful for me. I have a hard time getting the words to say what I mean; they always seem to come up short. That first night I spent four hours writing; the next morning I chucked it all in the trash. I know I'm not supposed to do it that way. All the books on writing say that it is important to get the book out of one's head and onto paper or into the computer before doing any editing, but I need to know where I am coming from and where I am going. For me, a good or at least an adequate beginning is necessary. So last night I rewrote the beginning. Not great, but it will do for now.

And I remembered why I write, despite how painful it is. I love the planning, the figuring out, the tweaking. I love having a character take up residence in my head, having it become real to me. I love creating a new world, even if - especially if - it is simply a reflection of the world that exists outside my window. I love finding the perfect word. I love having it all come together into a cohesive whole.

So now I have a reason to write. I have the beginning of my new novel. And, although I have not yet written it, I have the ending. Now I just need to figure out how to get from here to there.

I can hardly wait to see how I manage that!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Interesting Characters Make Interesting Stories

Interesting characters make interesting stories, not the other way around. Cardboard cutouts and comic book heroes serve the needs of many popular books today, but I want more than that for my current work. A tongue-in-cheek apocalyptic novel, it could easily dissolve into foolishness without a well-developed character to give it credibility. During my last few posts, I have been profiling this character, but he is still not fleshed out. He needs physical characteristics, though not all characters are defined by the way they look. If I remember correctly, Mark Twain never described Huckleberry Finn.

Does it matter what my character looks like? I won’t know for sure until I start writing the book, but I doubt it. He is an ordinary guy who becomes extraordinary because of all he endures. Now that I think about it, that is the basic plot of all of my books, and one I never get tired of reading or writing. I realize that to sell in this tight market, a book has to immediately capture the attention of an agent, an editor, a reader, and to do that you need more than an average guy. But I am so tired of reading about gutsy females, stone-cold business executives, leftover war heroes, beaten-down cops, bitchy/successful/beautiful/rich women, muscle-bound gunslingers, that an average guy suits me and my story just fine.

My main characters all tend to be stoic, which make them seem unbelievable or standoffish. Most people like to experience emotions vicariously, and if characters react stoically, it makes it hard for readers to identify with them. So I need a character tag: a habit or trait that helps Chip stand out from the page. It’s a simple thing, but I decided he likes candy — not just any candy, but something specific like licorice or butterscotch. He always carries a few pieces with him, and then one day not long after the world ends, he reaches into his pocket for a candy that isn’t there. This, more than anything else he has experienced, tells him that the world he knew is gone, and his stoicism slips. Does he cry? Scream? Have a temper tantrum? Throw things?

I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out after I write the book.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Great Way to Profile a Character

The Luscher color test is a great way to profie a character. To see wat color would say about Chip, the hero of my work in progress, I took the test at

I know enough about Chip and about colors to figure out what his choices might be. Green signifies a stable and balanced character, so that was Chip’s first choice. Blue, signifying tranquility, was his second. Brown, signifying a down-to-earth character was his third. Gray, signifying a preference for a safe, secure and balanced existence was next. Magenta, orange, and yellow were a toss-up since he didn’t particularly care for any of them, and black, signifying negativity, was his last choice.

This was the result of the test:

His Existing Situation: Uneasy and insecure in the existing situation. Needs greater security and a more affectionate environment, or a situation imposing less physical strain.

His Stress Sources: Wishes to be independent, unhampered, and free from any limitation or restriction, other than those which he imposes of himself or by his own choice and decision.

His Restrained Characteristics: Egocentric (self-conscious) and therefore quick to take offense. Wants to broaden his fields of activity and insists that his hopes and ideas are realistic. Distressed by the fear that he may be prevented from doing what he wants; needs both peaceful conditions and quiet reassurance to restore his confidence.

His Desired Objective: Needs a peaceful environment. Wants release from stress, and freedom from conflicts or disagreement. Takes pains to control the situation and its problems by proceeding cautiously. Has sensitivity of feeling and a fine eye for detail.

His Actual Problem: Does not wish to be involved in differences of opinion, contention or argument, preferring to be left in peace.

If you have been following Chip’s development, you can see that this is an interesting and accurate profile. I might have all of my characters take it, especially the minor characters who don’t need a full character sketch. Feel free to do the same.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Profiling a Character

To be real, a character must have strengths and weaknesses. I have been creating a profile for Chip, the hero of my work in progress, and I know some of his strengths: he is independent, can cope with adversity, has high ethical standards. The only weakness I know about so far is that he is distrustful of women, which women see as a failure to commit.

Strengths and weaknesses are arbitrary. Independence can become an inability to depend on others, an ability to cope can be seen as indifference, high ethical standards can become intransigency. Which is great for the book: the resulting misunderstandings can cause conflicts among characters and the plot or subplots to thicken.

I can already see that Chip’s high ethical standards and principles will be a driving force in the story. He is a vegetarian and an animal lover who will be forced to kill to feed those dependent on him. His independence, exemplified by a need for freedom, is also at stake. He will be forced to decide how much of his freedom he is willing to give up for safety, and how much of his safety he is willing to give up for freedom.

So far, I haven’t been able to come up with a special strength or weakness that would set Chip apart from any other character, but since plot and character are so closely related, this may not be a bad thing. It does no good to assign a special strength or weakness to a character if it is not going to be tested during the story, and I don’t want to Chip to be constrained by a particular trait before he even begins his adventures. If he needs a special strength, I will write it in when necessary. The great thing about writing is that we are not stuck with what is past. We can always go back and recreate it to answer present needs.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if life outside the pages of our novels worked that way?

Character questionaire to help you profile your character

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Declaring October as My Novel Writing Month

Chip, the hero in my WIP (work-in-pause) has been running from a volcano for several months now while I spend my words writing articles and commenting on other people’s articles. Poor Chip is getting pooped. (Does anyone use pooped any more to mean tired? Or am I dating myself?)

November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month); aspiring writers from all over the world pledge to write a 50,000-word novel or add 50,000 words to an existing work during those thirty days. (Had to say that silly little grade school rhyme -- thirty days has September, etc., to get the number of days correct.) I planned on doing NaNoWriMo this year to get me focused on my novel again, but then I realized if I wait another month to start, I would find other ways to procrastinate, such as promoting my books. (More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire are going to be published in November.)

So, I am declaring October MyNoWriMo (My Novel Writing Month). I’ve never been able to write 1,000 words in a day let alone the 1,670 words I’d need to write to achieve my goal, but apparently the point is to let the words flow without censoring oneself, and that is what I want to learn how to do. I’m one who edits as I go, and that does tend to cut the output.

I tried to get a head start last night (I already know that I won’t be writing on Thursday because that’s when I have my live writing discussion at No Whine, Just Champagne on and I wanted to make up for it), but I fell asleep. Makes me wonder how I ever managed to write and rewrite and edit and re-edit four novels!

Let’s hope my falling asleep isn’t a sign of things to come.

I’ll let you know what happens.

(Could I have used more parentheses?)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Characters Who Want: Passionate or Spoiled?

Nope. Sorry. Can’t do it.

Although I’ve been telling you that to get published in today’s market you need a character who wants something desperately, I’ve never been able to do it. I spend so much time with my characters during the creation and writing of my novels that I have to like them or at least tolerate them. Passionate characters, like Scarlett O’Hara, who go after their goals with no thought for anyone else, might be interesting to you, but to me they are spoiled brats and intolerable.

Perhaps if I could have overcome this prejudice and followed my own advice, I’d have found a publisher by now. Unfortunately for me, all of my heroes have been reactive rather than proactive, at least in the beginning. Seems like I’m going to be making the same mistake again, but I have to go with what feels right.

I just don’t see Chip, the hero of my work in progress, as a driven fellow. Except for his problem with his mother, he seems to be satisfied with his life. He does have a long-term goal: he would like to buy a ranch or farm and take care of old and unwanted animals from zoos and circuses, but since this goal is negated when the world ends, it can’t be a desire that drives him throughout the book.

Still, there has to be a unifying characteristic that is with him throughout all of his adventures. He is distrustful of women because of his mother (and perhaps because of past relationships). That distrust could be his motivating factor, until at the end he finds a woman he can trust. It would also suit his temperament.

In The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, Linda N. Edelstein, PhD, lists styles of behavior and explains the psychology of each. Reviewing the list, I can see that Chip does not have an adventurer’s personality, nor is he bossy, conventional, creative, a conformist, dependant, eccentric, a fall guy, fearful, flamboyant, hyper, a loner, a man’s man, passive-aggressive, a show-off, a victim.

But he is resilient. According to Edelstein, this means he has the ability to recover from losses and disappointments. He is generally happy and productive. He can face his problems and cope with adversity. He is an effective problem solver. He has high ethical standards and takes responsibility for his own life. He has a sense of humor. He is interested in others as well as himself and maintains a strong support network. In the extreme, his independence can become an inability to depend on others, which goes along with his distrust of women.

Maybe he is not an exciting and passionate character, but he sounds like someone I could live with for the next year while I am writing the novel.

Of course, this isn’t all there is to him. He does have special strengths and weaknesses that cause the plot to thicken at times, but I don’t know yet what they are.

I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Throwing a Character in a Plot and Turning Up the Heat

Plot without characters to give it life is merely a recitation of activity, and characters without plot to give them meaning go nowhere. The best way to learn about your characters is to throw them into the plot and see what they do, what they say, and what they think. In this bizarre merry-go-round called fiction writing, however, characters drive plot, which means that you need to know who your characters are before you can begin figuring out where they are going.

I have always had a general idea of who my main character was before I started writing a novel, but I have never created a history or a full-bodied character sketch for him or her beforehand. Although the writing experts say such a sketch is necessary, I never saw the point in generating material I would not use. But since I am getting nowhere with my latest writing venture, I thought I would try it. See where it leads.

I decided the hero is going to be a man. Originally I had planned on a woman, but as I said in an earlier post, the man has the stronger story and the more poignant choices to make, so he will make a better point-of-view character. For purposes of this sketch, I will call him Chip.

What I know so far about Chip's history is that his mother is overbearing and interfering. Though she lives only an hour away, she came to visit and stayed for months. He hates himself for being a wimp and not kicking her out, but she is his mother, after all, and she has no one but him - his father ran out on them when Chip was in grade school. The story begins (and the world begins to end) the night Chip asks his mother to leave.

Chip is thirty-three, the owner of a pet store, and currently without a girlfriend. Perhaps he is leery of a relationship, not wanting to end up with someone like his mother. Other than that, I'm not sure I want to get into his background. Do we need to know where he went to school? What his childhood was like? What his failures and lost opportunities were? Do we care about his politics, his beliefs, his travels, his ex-girlfriends? Seems boring to me, and I can't see that it makes any difference when the world is ending.

Most books on writing say that an interesting and enduring character must have a strong desire, a goal he will do anything to achieve, but do Chip's present desires really matter when everything is about to change? To begin with, Chip's only desire is to get his mother out of his apartment, though later he will want desperately to escape the human zoo where he has been incarcerated. Is that enough to propel the story? Or do I need to give him another desire, one that he has at the beginning and that follows him throughout his adventures, until at the end he gets either what he wants or what he deserves?

I'll have to think about that and get back to you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Unblocking Writer's Block

Writer’s block is a term, like chronic fatigue syndrome, that covers a multitude of ills. Sometimes it means an inability to begin writing that book, sometimes it means a stoppage in the flow of words or ideas, sometimes it means a lack of desire to write. It is only a critical condition when the blocked writer is on a deadline, otherwise time or a change in writing habits can help.

For me, writer’s block generally means that I have taken a false turn in the story, that I’m heading in the wrong direction. This often happens in the middle of the book when all the ideas that I had in the beginning have been used up, and I need to fill a hole in the plot. The only thing I can do is go back through the story, make sure every action is motivated, every scene necessary, every character operating at his or her full potential. Usually I can find where I went wrong. After I change it, I continue in the proper direction with renewed vigor.

My latest attempt at writing, however, stalled at the beginning. I wrote three and a half pages almost a year ago, then nothing. It seems ludicrous that I could have taken a wrong turn so early, but I must have, otherwise I would be well on my way to finishing the novel. Ironically, it was supposed to have been fun to write, a take-off on the apocalyptic fantasies that have been so popular in recent years. Then why is it so hard to get going?

Perhaps the story isn’t worth writing. Perhaps my characters aren’t strong enough. Perhaps I begin with too many characters or too few.

I decided that the story is worth writing. I have a great hook, high stakes, and a delicious ending. So the problem has to be in the characters. I was going to tell the story from two points of view — a man and a woman who come together in the end — but the problem seems to be that one of their viewpoints is superfluous. Showing both of their reactions to the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it would be repetitive, like those lawyer books that rehash the entire story during the courtroom scene. Yawn.

The man has the stronger story and will have to make some of the more poignant decisions (for example, he is a devout vegetarian who will be forced to kill to feed those dependant on him) so today I deleted the woman. She didn’t even have a chance to come to life before I had to do her in. Poor thing. May she rest in peace.

Now maybe I can get going on the book.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beginning to Write a Novel

I finished my fourth novel a year ago, and I feel as if I should be writing another one. After all, a writer writes, right?

I have a synopsis and a great hook, but I just can’t get into the story. I don’t know who my characters are or why anyone, including me, should like them. I am bored by the minutiae of their ordinary lives and I want to jump right into the extraordinary times that are coming, but I need the preamble to set up the story. I suppose I could start with the last chapter as Margaret Mitchell did for Gone With the Wind, and work my way toward the beginning, but my linear mind would rebel. Or I could start with a violent scene to get my adrenaline going. Books that start with violence sell better than ones that begin more passively, anyway.

I tell myself that, good or bad, I should just get the story down on paper and worry about rewriting later. Then I remember that it’s hard for me to find any words, so they need to be good.

Starting to write a novel is always difficult, even for professionals like Mary Higgins Clark who have been writing for decades. She admitted in an interview that it never gets easier. But still she writes.

Perhaps if I were writing for publication as she does, I would be motivated. There is nothing like the threat of having to return an advance to keep a writer churning out the words. I am not writing for publication yet, and I already have four unpublished novels packed away in the dusty reaches of my computer. Adding another seems pathetic.

So what’s the alternative? Blogging. It satisfies my writing urge, the posts are short and don’t require a big commitment of my time, and I don’t need to create interesting characters.

Characters are the key to a good beginning. Once you know who they are and what they want, they can help drive the story. But the only way to learn who they are and what they want is to write them. It’s a vicious circle.

For now, I’ll stick to blogging.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Art of Procrastination

It seems as if lately the only art I’m practicing is the art of procrastination.

There’s no art in going about your daily life and telling yourself you don't have time to write. The art is in pursuing other activities to keep from going about your daily life and telling yourself you don't have time to write.

Thus far in my procrastination, I have:

1. Read several books about writing.

2. Invited a dozen authors to guest host my other blog. Some ignored me; some accepted. I don't know why any author, particlularly those just starting out, would pass on the opportunity. Publicity is publicity, right? If you are a published author (self-published is fine) and would like to guest host Bertram's Blog, let me know.

3. Left comments on a couple of online writing forums.

4. Joined a writing discussion group (this is in addition to my own writing discussion group.)

5. Entered a writing contest even though I said I would never enter another one.

6. Researched book marketing for when/if I get published.

7. Signed up for Facebook, MySpace, and Shelfari. Wandered around the sites trying to figure out what to do with them (still have no clue). If you belong to any of these sites, please add me as a friend so I can procrastinate more!

8. Published an article about What Your Car Color Means on Squidoo.

9. Sent emails to a couple of epals.

10. Started this blog.

It would probably be easier just to sit down and write the novel, but where’s the art in that?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Finding a Perfect First Line

I’m sitting here trying to come up with a witty first line for my new novel, something that will immediately catapult me into the story, but all I can think of is Billy Crystal in Throw Mama From the Train. I remember watching him struggle for the perfect first line, the perfect word until I wanted to scream “Skip the first line! Start anywhere! Or at least dig out a thesaurus.” But that was before I started to write, and now I find myself doing the same thing.

Odd that first lines are so important, yet few set the mood or do anything else they’re supposed to. And fewer still are memorable. Probably the best known line is “It was a dark and stormy night,” but it’s also considered to be the worst first line in history. Why? It seems evocative to me, and though it’s supposed to be redundant, even city people should know that stormy nights are not always dark. Maybe that’s why I haven’t yet found a publisher. Maybe I just don’t get it.

How about this for a first line? First and last, actually. As the ax descended toward her head, the young mother struggled in vain to free her hands from the nylon rope. It might be a good hook, but if doesn’t tell us who she is, why someone killed her, or why we should care.

Axes don't have anything to do with the story I want to write. I’ve always wanted to write the story of a love that transcended time and physical bonds, told with sensitivity and great wisdom. Unfortunately, as one agent pointed out, I have a matter-of-fact writing style, little talent, and no wisdom. So all I can do is put words to the page one at a time, hope for the best, and thank heavens I can always rewrite later.

Now if I can only think of that first perfect line.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boldness Has Power and Magic in It

All too often inexperienced writers tiptoe through their novels, letting major events -- fistfights, gunplay, murders, betrayals -- take place off-page. It's much easier to let characters emote afterward than for the writer to take the time and trouble to tackle the action scene. I know I have passed on opportunities to create such scenes, thinking the characters' reactions all-important, but I forgot one thing: readers need to experience the drama.

Sometimes it's hard to find the confidence to bring such complex scenes to life, to juggle the many elements that comprise an action scene, but the only way to learn is to plunge headfirst into action. Write it fast and fearlessly; let the words fall where they may. You can always clean up the mess in rewrites, so there is no reason to hold back.

By jumping into situations that test your characters and your writing ability, you can give your stories drama that stands apart from the common. Writing is an adventure and we need to boldly go where our story takes us.

Goethe wrote, “What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

I’ve dreamed my new novel. Now it’s time for me to begin writing it. Perhaps this bold step will bring, if not genius and power, then magic.