Archives (page 2 of 37)

Learning from Other Writers

Learning from other authors matters. Here are three specific examples of how other writers have had a direct impact on my fourth novel.

1) I’ve given my chapters names (in addition to numbers) because of advice from Lisa M. Lilly Author about drawing readers in from the Table of Contents.

2) I’ve crossed over a character from another series because of my conversation with Kevin Tumlinson on The Write Approach podcast (Ep. 6).

3) And I’ve focused on keeping my chapters shorter — most are between 1200-1500 words — as a result of my conversation with David Ellis about pacing and keeping reader interest. (The Write Approach, Ep. 5).

Big Day Today!

Lots of things going on today, so let’s just start at the top.

New Book!

My new book, Write Your Novel One Day at a Time, released today. I hope it lands in the hands of a lot of would-be writers because I think it’s a great tool. Here’s a synopsis:

You’ve always had the ideas for your novel. Now, you can do the work of writing it.

Write Your Novel One Day at a Time will help develop the processes to do the creative work of writing your novel. I will show you the power of consistency by giving you a look at my daily word counts and journal entries through the six-month endeavor of writing my third novel while working my day-job as a commercial litigator and raising a young family.

You can pick it up wherever you like to buy your books online.

New Podcast Episode!

Episode 9 of The Write Approach is out today. Barbara Hinske and I pick up from a prior episode in talking about providing description through dialogue and character actions, rather than having big blocks of text that people want to skim.

Writing Update!

With October behind us, here’s what it looked like for me. I wrote 12,432 words, which brought me to 127,711 for the year.

I’ve written about 43,000 words of Casual Business with Fairies. For most of the book, it’s been trending shorter than the first three novels, but there’s SO MUCH that still needs to happen. Act 3 may end up accounting for more than a quarter of the book that it usually occupies. It’s a peculiar position to be in to have written 2/3 of a novel and still have so much up in the air.

Something You Need to Know (Flash Fiction)

As has so frequently been the case with my creative writing, a dream has inspired a new story. The opening of this flash fiction story occurred in a dream, but I woke up in the middle of it, so I had to guess at how this would have played out. Hope you enjoy.

There's Something You Need to Know (Flash Fiction)

As we walked out of the restaurant, Amber said, “I guess since we’re dating now, there’s something you need to know.”

Goose pimples prickled my skin. That sounds ominous. “Okay.”

She stopped on the sidewalk, and I stopped alongside her. “I like to go to the club and drink every night.”

Not exactly healthy, but not as bad as she’d made it sound. “Mm-hmm.”

“Except I can’t afford to buy my own drinks, so … you know.”

I either couldn’t follow that train or didn’t want to. “I don’t know.”

“Guys buy me drinks.”

“Why would they do that? I mean I know why, but what prompts them?” The charm and the coy smile and the mini-dress were all the ‘why’ anybody needed. I knew that. But still you didn’t buy drinks for every hot girl at the club. That’s a good way to go broke. Or maybe you did? I don’t know. I’d never been. And it’s not how we’d met.

“I … uh … chat with them.”

Everything was coming apart. Dinner had been so nice. But if this were the dessert course, it was a plate of bile. “To be clear, the nights that we’re not together, you’ll be at the club flirting with guys so they’ll buy you drinks?”

“It’s not a big deal. I get to drink some expensive cocktails. And they get to go home a little later and wonder why they didn’t close the deal.” She left a little space for the rebuttal to breathe before dropping the other shoe. “Some of them get a little handsy sometimes, but that’s about it.”

“Nice. So you’re flirting and getting felt up.”

“Hey, how ‘bout you get off my—” she laughed sharply and covered her mouth as a family with several small children walked by.

Red splotches peeked out from under the collar of my shirt. It was the telltale sign that I was getting angry. A giveaway since youth. “Don’t you think you should have told me this before now?”

“No, I don’t. It wasn’t your business until now. And frankly, I’m not real sure it’s your business now.”

This wasn’t going to work. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who’d read it that way. Amber pulled her phone out of her clutch.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting an Uber.”

“Come on. I’ll take you back to your place.”

She rolled her eyes. “I’m not going back to my place.”

It took a minute for the inference to sink in. I was being dense.


She flicked her eyes up from her phone to me just to see how salty that little word was.

“I can wait with you until your ride gets here,” I offered.

“Umm, hard pass. That’d be super awkward.”

The anger must have been wearing off. I tried but failed to swallow a laugh at how obviously true that was. Inappropriate laughter was a default mechanism in stressful situations. It hand landed me in hot water countless times.

My face must have been a jumble of messy expressions. The laugh broke the tension like a spell. One side of her mouth curled up in a smile.

I turned to walk to my truck. There wasn’t anything left to say. Crap. Yes, there was. I pivoted to face her again. She was scrolling on her phone. “Umm. What about chem lab?”

She looked up, her eyes a little wider than before. Neither of us considered how that would go if this didn’t work out. She shook her head. “We’ll figure it out. But not right now.”

“Fair enough.”

Smashing through Word Count Milestones

10/10: The first 1/3 of October has been very productive. And I’m feeling good about the direction that Novel No. 4 is taking. I’m in the middle of the second half of Act 2, and the story is continuing to build. There hasn’t been any of that mushy middle that so many stories fall prey to.

As for the title, yesterday, I cruised right on past 120,000 words for the year. Depending how the next 2 1/2 months goes, 140,000 may still be in play. But more important than the number of words is that by year end, I hope to be closing in on the end of Novel No. 4.

When September Ends

9/30: September was a good writing month, particularly when compared against the month that preceded it. I wrote 9,431 words, which more than doubled what I accomplished in August. More importantly, I moved my fourth novel, Casual Business with Fairies, exactly to the mid-point.

Other things that happened in September. Forging Bonds (The Zauberi Chronicles, Book 3) released on September 20, completing the first trilogy in the series.

I launched a new podcast that I’m co-hosting with bestselling romance and mystery writer Barbara Hinske. As of this week, The Write Approach is four episodes in. You can find it on your favorite podcast app or check out our YouTube channel.

Starting the Second Half of September

9/16: I’ve already written nearly as many words this month as I did in all of August. I’ve only missed two days of writing so far in September, thanks in significant part to a case that didn’t end up going to trial this week (We won without having to try it!).

I am now about 40% with the first draft of my fourth novel. And today’s writing session put me over 110,000 words for the year. Despite the setback that was August, I may still be able to finish the novel in 2022. That may be a bit of a stretch considering that I started it three months ago and still have 60% to go.

My new podcast, The Write Approach (which I co-host with Barbara Hinske), is off to a good start. We’ve released the first two episodes about where story ideas come from and choosing to write under a pen name. We are recording the eighth episode today, talking about how to write compelling antagonists.

A Productive Start to September

9/5: Most of September has been made up of a long weekend, so it may not be a good measuring stick of what the rest of the month will look like. But so far, it’s been productive. No huge word counts to speak of, but consistency, which I prefer.

  • 9/1: 425 words
  • 9/2: 351 words
  • 9/3: 426 words
  • 9/4: 181 words
  • 9/5: 567 words

Today’s writing session put me over 25,000 words for my fourth novel. If I can average 400 words a day, I may still be able to finish it by the end of the year.

August Was Wild

Since I am a civil defense litigator in my day job, we live and die by the billable hour. Billing 160 hours in a month is roughly equivalent to 4 40-hour work weeks. August was so incredibly busy that I ended up with 220 billable hours.

With such a hefty work schedule, there wasn’t much time or mental energy for creative work. Still, I was able to write 3.5 chapters of my fourth novel. And I recorded six episodes of the new podcast I’m co-hosting with Barbara Hinske — The Write Approach — which launches on September 6.

I also managed an appearance on The Indy Author Podcast, where I talked bout my upcoming non-fiction book, Write Your Novel One Day at a Time.

I’m hoping for a tamer September.

Back in the Saddle

7/30: 690 words. After a couple of days of not writing (6/28 and 6/29) because work came calling early, I got in some writing this morning and finished a chapter. It mostly had to do with fly fishing, which I haven’t been able to do in a while, which made me a little sad.

Word Count Fluctuating Like the Stock Market

7/27: 539 words. My word counts over the last two weeks look a lot like a yo-yo. But I feel good about the work I put in today. It’s a scene I hadn’t planned on. But it reveals a side of the protagonist we hadn’t seen before, and gives some much-needed breathing space between the two chapters that sandwich it.

Goal update: I went over 100,000 words for the year today!