Just found a name for the stage I’m working on: “anti-editing.” It’s fun. Read more from this interesting article here:

Specifically, what I’m doing is reading the complete draft which I finished on December 19 and making notes on each chapter:

  • time period
  • summary of the action (plot)
  • list of minor characters used in the chapter
  • what might be improved

Next, I’ll work on those improvements.


Research vs. Procrastination

Has this morning’s work been useful, or just a means of procrastination?


I found myself buried in Wikipedia links this morning. I’m trying to develop some characters (one primary, one secondary) who are quite religious. But I’m sure they didn’t have time for a lot of sophisticated religious study. More than, perhaps, the average Methodists of their time, but not close to what one would expect of a seminarian.

So, how much is too much about John Wesley and his brother, Charles? Charles, it turns out, wrote the hymns. He was writing poetry and it happened to become music. Which is very important in the Methodist liturgy.  And, probably not coincidentally, my primary character won a ribbon at the Iowa State Fair for vocal musical performance. Neither Charles nor Wesley foresaw that, I’ll bet.

Do I need to get into Arminianism? Probably not. But perhaps a bit of the distinction between Methodism and Calvinism is in order. I’ve been reading Gilead and feel fairly strongly that there is more than enough there about Calvinism. I don’t want to go that deeply into the Methodist religion. But then, my character is not the pastor as is the narrator in Gilead, so that makes perfect sense.

I started this morning with a desire to find the name of the book Methodists used in the early 20th Century to educate children and new converts. What would be called in the Catholic religion a “catechism;” I think.  I haven’t been entirely successful in rooting that out using my computer. I may have to ask a Methodist historian unless I can find a way to write around it. (Anyone who can help me out by commenting here, please do so.)

Has this morning’s work been useful, or just a means of procrastination? Since I’m on no real deadline, these diversions from my actual re-writing (developmental self-editing) are okay to at least some extent. Aren’t they?  I did make it through one chapter of rewrites. I’d hoped it would be two.

Evidence and verdicts: a simple way to understand show not tell

I pleased to find, as I’m rewriting my first draft, that I did this right more often than not.

Nail Your Novel

Show not tell Nail Your NovelIf there’s one major issue I find writers struggle with, it’s the difference between showing and telling. In every developmental report I write for a debut author, I find numerous instances where they would improve drastically by grasping this principle. This week I found myself explaining it again, and as I’ve been watching How To Get Away With Murder, I found myself reaching for courtroom terminology to explain …

It’s all about evidence versus verdicts. Simple, huh?

First, what is ‘show not tell’?

Show not tell is a technique that makes writing more vivid.
• It makes us feel as though we’ve been present as story events happen.
• It’s persuasive when you need to teach us something about a character, an event or even an object. (Was the car dangerous? Don’t tell us. Show it.)
• Show not tell is a great way to explain information or back…

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Anatomy of a Best-Selling Story—Structure Part One


Kristen Lamb's Blog

Structure Matters Structure Matters

Writers must understand structure if they hope to be successful. Yes, it might take five years to finish the first novel, but if we land a three book deal, we don’t have 15 years to turn in our books. Also, in the new paradigm of publishing, writers who produce more content have greater odds of making money at this writing thing.

Understanding structure helps us become faster, cleaner, better writers. Structure is essential to all stories, from screenplays to novels to epic space operas.

Plotters tend to do better with structure, but even pantsers (those writers who write by the seat of their pants) NEED to understand structure or revisions will be HELL. Structure is one of those boring topics like finance or taxes. It isn’t nearly as glamorous as creating characters or reading about ways to unleash our creative energy.

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I’ve run my 20 page Death Star Critique…

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Storytelling in literary fiction: let’s discuss | Nail Your Novel

Some things I liked about this post and will try to keep in mind:

  • “…engaging the reader, provoking curiosity, empathy, anxiety and other strong feelings are not ‘cheap tricks’.”
  • “Writing is self-taught, and this critical scrutiny is one of our most powerful learning tools. Whenever we read [I think she meant “write”], we should ask ‘does this work’.

Here’s the full, original post by Roz Morris: Storytelling in literary fiction: let’s discuss | Nail Your Novel.