Advice: “I’m writing, how do I keep up momentum?”

Advice offered to a beginning writer, who’d asked for “words of wisdom” as they work through the writing phase on their book and are trying to keep up momentum…


The best advice I can offer is to JUST WRITE. 🙂 Don’t edit as you go, that will only slow you down. If you find yourself stalled on one section, feel free to jump ahead (or back) to a scene that engages you more. But keep pumping out those words: even if they’re crap, you can always edit them into something better later, and you can’t edit what you don’t got.

If you come across a place where you have to put content but you don’t know exactly what that content is yet (town name, chemical compound, how to train a hawk, etc), put something like “TWK” in its place. Something that you won’t write in the regular course of the novel, so that when the time comes to fill in those blanks, you can just do a global search for “TWK” and find all the places where you need to fill in missing details.

I found that doing a rough outline in advance was immensely helpful, as well as using the writing program Scrivener, which allows you to keep all your chapters/notes in one master screen and drag them/rearrange them as you need to (Scrivener has a 30 day trial, so you can try it free before you buy it, and it’s actually quite affordable).

If you have further questions, feel free to ask. 🙂

The PR photo par excellence!

Eight thousand thanks to Kevin Grummett, who has kindly agreed to sell me the rights to the photograph below. It captures an amazing moment in time (when I was signing my first book at the book launch, for Kevin himself) and JUST the right attitude, in my opinion. I’ll be using it for PR applications for a long time to come!

Me signing Kevin Codex copy

Check out Kevin’s pro FB page, at

Another successful trip around the Sun!

Birthday lunch today with my husband at my favourite local restaurant, a free drink from Starbucks, and possibly a trip out to Giant Tiger downtown to buy (gasp!) A NEW SET OF SHEETS as a present-to-myself.

I might also clean up my work desk as another present, since it’s starting to resemble an ancient Roman midden. (Hint: if your external drives are halfway hidden in drifts of paper, it’s probably time to bring out the snow shovel and start digging.)

Man, am I officially over 50 now, or what? 😀

Tonight: A Facebook livestream of the “Codex” book launch!

I plan to do a live FB stream to my author page starting at around 7:30 PM CST tonight, for about 40-45 minutes — so you’ll be able to see the book launch (or at least the podium portion) as it happens. I hope you’ll join me (virtually) for one of the happiest evenings of my life! 🙂

I’m back! Minus two teeth… :)

Folks, this is what an extremely skilled and patient-oriented dentist looks like.

The second I walked into the clinic yesterday morning, Dr. S, my surgeon for the double extraction, was at the front desk, and he smiled at me: “You’re here. Good!” Positive reinforcement FTW! It’s nice to be praised for overcoming a major fear and showing up in spite of one’s terror.

He asked me if I was ready to go through to the chair, and once I was in the chair he listened to all my concerns with great respect, froze me up VERY solid, and did his work in an unhurried and thorough manner. And as I’ve already noted, the man knows his Jedi mind tricks: the second I looked into his eyes, my anxiety levels plummeted by about 90%!

The nitrous oxide certainly helped too. Wow… the overall effect is hard to describe, but I felt enclosed in a warm soft tingly cocoon, floating just above the chair and completely insulated from all the stuff (pulling, drilling, cracking, etc) that was going on in my mouth. Everything was mellow, everything was “dude”, and nothing could touch me. 10/10, best thing EVER for dental procedures.

Big bonus points for Dr S: When I was dizzy getting out of the chair after the procedure, he even took my hand and led me into the waiting room, then carefully sat me down in a chair before waking me through what I have to do in terms of after-care. And at every step he checked that i was present and understood what was being said. AMAZING! He was quite expensive, but worth every single penny, and I would trust him with just about any dental procedure moving forward — even a root canal, which previously I would NEVER have contemplated.

And this morning, after a good night’s sleep, I woke up in almost no pain at all. Although I feel like I’ve been run over by a small truck I’m still going to be able to get out to see Darcy, my stylist, and get a nice haircut for the book launch on November 10th. After so much worry and fretting, my dentist experience really couldn’t have gone any better.

Article Commentary: “Why You Should Edit As You Write”

Having read the article linked below (about the advantages of editing while writing your first draft), I can see the points the writer is trying to make. But — and it’s a big “but” — the writer seems to be speaking entirely to pantsers, not to plotters. A plotter, by laying in the foundation and basic structure of their house in the pre-writing phase, can then power ahead on the first draft without editing as they go, because (in a sense) they’ve already done the developmental editing in the plotting phase.

I stand by the statement I’ve made many times before: personally, as a plotter when it comes to my novels, I find that trying to edit as I write my first draft only slows me down to a crawl, and I’ve seen a LOT of beginning writers choke and stall when they try to edit while first drafting. But every writer is different and there are certainly writers out there for whom the article below constitutes excellent advice. 🙂

My response to a “describe your main character” challenge on a FB writers group…

The first thing fellow Greatest noticed about Tir’at~Esk was the hue of his feathers: the rich blue of a winter sky just starting to darken toward evening, with dashing accents of black down the length of the long feathers and flashes of white at the tips. In combination with his black hide (visible on his muzzle, his hands, and his lower legs), which was daintily streaked with scarlet stripes, it created a most dramatic effect. The second thing one noticed was the way he carried himself: head erect on his long graceful neck, his scythe-claws confidently cocked back, his stride steady and full of confidence. And finally, one saw the flash of silver on his left forearm: the Source-forged vambrace given to him on the orders of the Sky Emperor Himself, inscribed with the sacred characters of the Word and capable of recording both his thoughts and everything which happened in his immediate environment — for Tir’at was an ~Esk, a courier/scribe, and in his own opinion the finest example of an ~Esk to grace the Settlement of the Culture of the Word in many a long generation. That this sentiment might not be shared by his fellow Warriors did not trouble him in the least.


Question on a FB writers group: “Why is your villain a villain?”

My answer, for “The Codex of Desire”:
Ev’ora is the villain because her “greatest good” is her goal to remain the Most Potent Chieftess of the Tribes of the Inspiration — and her fertility is failing. Unless she produces eggs regularly, she will be overthrown and cast down, possibly even killed… and all the work she’s done to improve the lot of the Tribes will be lost.

Everything she does is in service to maintaining her role as queen of her people. And the MMC, who is a captive warrior from an enemy civilization, may provide fresh semen to stimulate Ev’ora’s fertility, if she can convince him to mate with her (since no male can be mated by sheer force). So she schemes, she kills, she manipulates — but as far as she is concerned, she’s doing it for the best of all possible reasons.