Want to Write a Book that Sells? Start With an Outline

writing From the mailbag: Hannah writes: I’ve been writing a novel and have been stuck for weeks. That’s my pattern: I write a little, get stuck, have a breakthrough, write again, etc. It often feels like torture. I’m wondering if you also have this problem and if you’ve found a way to overcome it. I’ve read that it’s a good idea to start with an outline, but doesn’t that work better for non-fiction? For fiction, it seems like it would clash with letting my story tell itself.

Dear Hannah, there are writers out there who feel they work best without an outline so […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:46-04:00June 29th, 2008|On Writing, The Mail Bag|9 Comments

A Writing Life

I haven’t needed an alarm clock for years now, because I have two furry ones. Today, it’s 4:10 AM, a little early even for me. Graidy usually has the decency to wait until about 5:00 AM before rousing me out of bed. (Another quality people should be aware of when getting high energy/herding dogs is that they’re ready to go at the crack of dawn–literally. ) Fortunately, I like to get up early to write, in the quiet, when everyone else remains peacefully sleeping. Imagination expands easily in the darkness of these predawn hours.

The dogs and I head downstairs and outside. I look up at the stars as they go about their business. Some mornings we’ll […]

By |2008-06-08T08:00:16-04:00May 23rd, 2008|.My Dogs and Me, On Writing|7 Comments

Mad Hatter: No wonder you’re late. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow.

That’s me these days. The faster I try to catch up, the hurried-er I fall behind. Too many projects and not enough clocks running two days slow. So, it’s getting to be that time again… Time for another intermission.

In the meantime, what was it that sign said on the doorknob? Ah, yes…

Doorknob: Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.“

Okay, off I go.

See ya back here when I’m all caught up. :)

By |2014-01-29T21:13:04-05:00March 7th, 2008|On Writing|12 Comments

Do You Have to Have an Agent to Sell a Book?

From the mailbag: Sue writes: Is it necessary to have an agent to sell a book? I’m having trouble finding one to take me on, so I was wondering if I could just try to sell my novel by myself? What do you think of self-publishing?

Dear Sue, there aren’t many publishing houses that accept unagented submissions anymore. Certainly, none of the major houses do. That said, there are still some small houses that will let a writer submit without an agent.

In order to find which ones do, get the current Writer’s Market. Here, you’ll find all the listings and contact information not only for […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:48-04:00December 13th, 2007|On Writing, The Mail Bag|8 Comments

Because Sometimes Ya Just Need…

…some fresh air.


I can only take so much of being cooped up inside. Didn’t matter that it was only 41 degrees out. I needed some sunlight and fresh air. Not only was I toasty warm with my dogs playing around me, but I finished my proposal too. YAHOO!!!

There’s gonna be some celebrating tonight!

By |2016-10-24T09:56:49-04:00November 12th, 2007|Life, On Writing|13 Comments

I love WordPress but…

I hate how hard it is to upgrade! Grrr…. After two miserably failed attempts which have messed up my RSS feeds among causing other problems (if you read through an RSS feed, you may need to resubscribe to automatically get the current posts), I’m giving up! For now anyway.

Yes, for a few hours, I’d lost the whole kit and kaboodle into cyberspace! I’m happy to have recovered my old version for your viewing pleasure.

By |2007-10-15T16:15:36-04:00October 15th, 2007|On Writing|10 Comments