Be Advised

At the trailhead yesterday — this sign definitely got my attention. I went for a run anyway, but with a different mindset than usual. It’s good to be reminded that you’re not always at the top of the food chain.

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Hit “Send”

Last Friday I finished yet another revision of my middle grade novel, Walking the Plank. At exactly 6:00 p.m. I hit “send” and whooshed it off to my agent in NYC. A couple of breaths later I began to question whether I’d jumped the gun. Was it really done? Well, no, stories are rarely done, just “finished” to a point where another opinion is needed. And whether my agent sends it back with suggestions for further revision, or an editor does the same, I’ll just keep on keeping on until it’s “finished” again. And again. And again. Good thing for me that I enjoy the process, get a thrill out of persistence. I’m like Climber Guy, seen here scaling my office bookshelf — always ready for another go.

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Writing on the Fly

As much as I travel for author visits in schools, I’ve had to get good at writing in places other than my cozy office in Corvallis, Oregon — airport shuttles, busy concourses, restaurants, planes. Earbuds piping my favorite writing music into my brain help me soften the ambient noise. I’ve thought about blocking out all the peripheral movement around me by using blinders, like you might see on a horse. But that would look . . . let’s call it weird, and probably lead to interruptions — people wanting to know if I’m all right, or putting a bridle over my head and leading me back to the barn. So I put on mental blinders and try to withdraw from everything around me — live inside my story, my characters’ heads. It works most of the time. Which is somehow even more satisfying than getting after it at home. Have keyboard, will travel.

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Food for Thought

Award winning author Richard Peck said that when he finishes a novel, he goes back to the first chapter, and “. . . without rereading it, I’ll throw it away and write the chapter that goes at the beginning. Because the first chapter is the last chapter in disguise.” Food for thought when revising.