Answers to Your Buring Questions Pt 1

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I had a writerly acquaintance, Mike Shaffer, ask me a boat load of questions. Hoping the rest of you might benefit, I've posted them here.

1. I need help pre-writing and world building. I haven't figured out a strategy that works. What's yours?

I could give a whole discourse on this subject. Honestly, it's really not a question with a quick answer. The best, brief advice I can offer: Outline. As a budding writer, I hated it. I thought it was constrictive and intimidating. It's not.

There's lots of different methods. Check some books out from the library, google it, pick different ones and try them until one fits. Honestly, I work best when I can sit down with my husband and we hash out an idea together (usually when we have a long drive). Honestly, I do 3/4 of the talking. For some reason, saying it out loud makes it click in my head.

2. How do you either write an ending, or plot a good one out if you come up with scenes that feel like a middle or just beyond the beginning?

Sometime plotting intimidates writers because they feel like they have to know everything. You don't. It's like going on a vacation. You plan out your destination, some stops along the way, some of the big things you'll see, etc. The rest you fill in as you go along. Sometimes you know your ending from the start of the book. Sometimes you change it. Sometimes you don't figure out the ending until you write it.

And that's okay. Say it to yourself, "It's okay. It's okay."

3. Can you pre-plan a series?

Absolutely. Although I recommend you write stand alones or stand alones with sequel potential until you find a publisher. Why? Because no one's going to buy books 2, 3, 4, or 5 if 1 doesn't sell. Don't ever become so entrenched in a book that you're unwilling to let it go.

Continued next week . . .


  1. Shari said...:

    Great questions and excellent advice! Thanks.

    I gave you The Stylish Blog Award. Hop on over to to get it!

  1. Thanks for taking time to answer these -- I look forward to this series.

  1. That monkey with the pen = win!

    Awesome advice. Our way of going about a story is quite similar.

  1. Shari: I won? Really? So cool. :)
    Rebecca: Hope it helps.
    Dave: You can't go wrong with monkeys. Everyt8ime I see a monkey I smile. Can't help it.
    Quick! Name that song:
    "Haven't you always wanted a monkey?"

  1. Amber,

    Thank you for answering my questions! Glad you had fun at the Superstars signing. (Yeah, I'm a bit jealous).

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