new post with(out) a creative title

I feel like it's been FOREVER since I posted. 

Hence the reason I can't come up with a title.  Apparently blog posting is NOT like riding a bike.

I'm suffocating a bit here in Wisconsin.  Don't get me wrong, I'm super thrilled it's summer, but the heavy heat is a bit stifling!  I'm all for zero humidity and low seventies.  Ah well.

It's my first day off and I spent it getting my son's first cavity filled.  He'd be happy it was over if he didn't have to go back on the 20th for another. 

Okay, I didn't spend the WHOLE day doing that.  Only the first 45 minutes of it.  THEN we had our first park playdate of the summer.  My son's lower lip was still numb, so he accidentally chewed on it while trying to eat his ham sandwich (three hours after the filling), despite how carefully I watched him.  We iced it after that.  I'll spare you the details of the rest of our fab and busy day.

My fingers are itching to get back into my writing.  I did very little during my partial blogging hiatus.  I'd planned to finish MS #2, and didnt, but even so am now planning to finish #1 instead.  (The type is always more intriguing in the other novel...(my lame attempt at using "The grass is always greener...."  as my excuse.))

  I've been reading an adult fantasy book entitled A Discovery of Witches that several colleagues suggested I read since they enjoyed it immensely.  It took me a bit to get into it.  It's only my third vampire book, including Twilight, so I'm finding it difficult not to compare the main characters (a witch and a vampire) to Edward and Bella.  There are parts that are so similar it's distracting.  NOT that I think the author copied or intended the similarities.  I'm assuming these would pop up in any vamp books.  The author has to describe their physiology and lifestyle, after all.

Anyways, while reading, I was also thinking about subplots and how they're woven into the main plot. 

In ADOW (erica's acronymphobia wore off on me) there are tiny pieces of information (that drive a subplot) that increase suspense and yet are just barely sprinkled through the novel.  I'm amazed at how a significant detail is dropped in the middle of a page and then not mentioned again for...ever.  Well, chapters and chapters later anyways.  I would have thought that would have driven me insane, but the actual outcome is that that's what is keeping me turning the pages! 

As a teacher who has been trying to perfect her 5-10 minute mini-lesson before giving the students guided practice, it seems I must also cut back in my writing.  (I have to watch myself because I can easily become a babbling lecturer who says the same thing over and over thinking the number of times I repeat something will definitely help more students to acquire the information.  Old habits....)  Oh, wait.  Is this OVERWRITING?  hehe.

I DON'T need to bat my students over the head to help them understand something (usually the OPPOSITE will occur...zzzzzz) and I don't need to do this with information in my novels either.  Poor readers.  Same effect, right?  zzzzzz. Or worse, they'll never open the book again!

You all have your main plot and your subplots (whether they've been carefully thought out or showed up randomly while writing freely).  The trick?  HOW you effectively weave, or better yet, SPRINKLE that subplot in. THAT is the challenge.  When/how often you let your reader in on something is the BEST part of writing.  I love knowing and deciding when my reader gets to know too! 

The underlying obstacles in your characters' lives will be what keeps your reader wide awake even at 3 AM.

Happy writing!  Remember, a little of this, a little of that.  Just like any good recipe.


  1. I think it's always hard to find that balance between dropping too many hints and not enough hints! Thank God for crit partners. :)

  2. I hate a book with too many hints. Though I have to know I've understood if properly by the end or I just get frustrated. It's a different story when it's you doing the writing :)

  3. Your lip chewing story brought back a memory of my mom taking me to eat directly from having a tooth pulled. Not only did I chew on my lip, but every time I took a drink, half of it dribbled down my face. I have A Discovery Of Witches reserved at the library.

  4. Maybe babbling lectures is one of the problems for every teacher turned writer...b/c I totally have this problem. Before I started the MFA program I was horrible with repetition and going on and on. Now I think I've gotten a little better at cutting some of that down. Great post!

  5. Hope your son is feeling better! And I agree~ dropping hints is an art (one that I haven't managed to master at all) :)

  6. I loathe the dentist, and hope your son feels better! "A little of this a little of that" - so true! (Unlike my coffee this morning where I accidentally dumped a whole entire buttload of creamer in.) Awesome post. :)

  7. Sprinkle it in, I love that! I can't stand books that hit you over the head with it and shove it down your throat, like you aren't intelligent enough to make the connections and figure it out. You're so right!

    Your poor son. I feel for him. I HATE going to do the dentist. Sending him good thoughts...

  8. Hi Christy...

    It's been like ages.... Sorry about your son. I hope he's okay.

    I'm with Heather... we have intelligence, it doesn't need to be so blunt.

    Hi, Erica.

  9. I've got A Discovery of Witches right now. Honestly I have no idea how it got put on my hold list at the library- I'm assuming the leader of our book club put it on there. She'll put stuff on hold for us all at once. At least, that is what I'm hoping happened ;p It looks HUGE and daunting so we'll see if I can get through it. I've had a small problem with repeating myself several times, and my crit partners have been generous enough to point that out ;p I'm getting better as I edit.

  10. Thanks for the well wishes for my son. He's doing well. I'm just hoping I can get him back in the car on the 20th.... Glad I'm no the only babbling overwriter out there! We'll all get better at dropping those hints in the right places with the help of great books and CPs! christy

  11. Hey stranger!

    My sympathies on the filling. Never had one myself, but my brother had to get a few of them.

    Think over- vs. underwriting is about balance. We don't want to go: "LOOK! A CLUE TO THE SUBPLOT!!!." At the same time, it can't be so sparse that it feels as if you're hopping around between plots that have no point.

    I've seen and hate both. Just keeping fingers crossed that I don't end up leaning one way or another in my own writing.

  12. I love that image of you standing before your young students and providing the perfect short mini-lesson. It's a great analogy for what we need to do to avoid overwriting. thanks!

  13. I love that sprinkling thing--SO MUCH more effective than something written totally in a linear fashion. This is one of the things I learned so solidly with rereading the Harry Potter books so many times, and what I learned is the importance of a PLAN (BWUAHAHAHAHAHA).

    I can only imagine ADOW must compare very favorably to Twilight, but it's possible I imagine that from my annoyance at the existence of Twilight...

  14. You're having quite the summer so far, huh? Hope your son can feel his lip now. Dental visits are just plain no fun.

    Sprinkling is great advice - thanks for sharing!

  15. My son had to get a filling once. Not fun!

    Enjoy your summer. Let's cheer one another one to be productive with our writing!

    And I'm so with you on the 70 degrees and no humidity.

  16. I'm giggling a little bit at you suffocating in Wisconsin. I get what you're saying, though; I always thought Indiana was roasting. It's amazing how well the human body can adapt to the climate that it is in... I'm happy to say that I'm acclimating much better this year than I did last year.

    The writing thing, on the other hand... not going so well. Apparently my brain needs a routine, and right now I don't really have one, so I'm not doing anything productive. :(

  17. Sounds like this book found the sweet spot. I'm trying to figure out how to write this way and will rely heavily on crit partners to tell me where I've gone wrong (or right).


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