April 25, 2008 at 1:21 pm 10 comments

Because I realized I didn’t know diddly. BBP(before being published) I had no problems offering what worked for me. I’d expound about how I got to THE END. Then I got published and those post became scarce.


Because the thought of a newbie taking my advice is scary as hell. I know nada. I’ve just been writing long enough that I can string words together. I’ve been writing long enough to still feel the sting of that veteran who slapped my hand when I headhopped. Since I’ve been agent searching, scouting out publishers, getting rejections left and right my hide has grown another layer of skin.

And the main reason why I stopped giving advice is because the only thing about craft that works is to keep writing. Read. Read. Read. Write. If you don’t believe here is proof that writing can improve your writing.

I’m doing this for you. This may be the last time you ever see these words.

Without further ado, Love Unexpected, circa 2005. My very first novel.
The whole time Norah sat nibbling her Caesar salad she was thinking of going to the kitchen, finding Malcolm’s order of food, and sprinkling arsenic on the top. Not enough to kill him, she wasn’t for jail. Her stubbornness would win her an extended vacation in pumpkin orange clothing. No, it would be enough poison just to liven his night. She smiled at the thought of him twitching and gasping on the floor.

“What’s so funny?” Malcolm asked, interrupting the vision of him begging.”Help me.” in short choppy breathes. Her smile vanished. He didn’t notice the hardening of her eyes. She tried to focus on his face it was a mild shade of brown, it didn’t glow but it was smooth in tone, his eyebrows, thick, had a tendency to lift when hearing unfavorable commands. The brows accentuated chocolate irises that melted with every sighting of a beautiful woman.

“Nothing.” She cast a glance over her shoulder for the waiter. Norah didn’t know how long she could sit across from Malcolm before she erupted. She had spent three years of her life dedicated to this man. What pissed her off was that she could have been free after the first year.

He reached for her hands as the waiter placed their dishes on the table allowing her not to play tug-o war to get them back. She didn’t want him to touch her. With a smile she thanked the young man.

“Where do you want to go for our anniversary?”He didn’t wait for an answer but pushed on .”I was thinking.”He paused for effect. She fix her face to look interested. He always paused for effect.”We could go to New York see my mom. “

He smiled his charming smile that use to make her want to jump his bones, believe every lie with conviction, now it seemed flat and practiced.


Aah, good times when I knew nothing about POV violations, saying no to writer’s crack i.e. backstory. And starting 10 chapters too early. Oh, and genre. This particular story is a romantic suspense/women’s fiction/contemporary romance with elements of psychic.

Good times I tell ya. But what I learned from writing this novel not just for a year and half it took me to write it, AND not not only have written it twice (once in third and once in first person) is invaluable. (the first person version I still have, but that version was typed on a Smith and Corona. Yup, a typewriter. And those are definitely cringe worthy) So newbies, keep writing. You’ll someday get to be like me, writing better crap.

Good times…


Entry filed under: craft, Love Unexpected.


10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pam  |  April 25, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Craft? We don’t need no stinking craft! (I say while editing book no. 2, in which hero and heroine say I Love You before the BBM while headhopping.)

  • 2. Mel  |  April 25, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Ha, Ha, Ha, you need craft just like I do.

  • 3. Robin  |  April 26, 2008 at 2:12 am

    Hey Mel! I’m a little late showing up. So this means you’re not quitting right?

  • 4. Mel  |  April 26, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Oh, I still feel the same way about publishing. I’m just not going to let it drive me crazy. That has to stop or I can’t write. I’m going to accept that fact and move on.

    So long story to a short answer. Yes, you’ll still be able to buy my books. They are just going to be the best damn books you’ve read. 🙂

  • 5. Caryn  |  April 26, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    I still, of course, have the first book I wrote. It was utterly, completely horrible. But I still open up the document every once in a while to remind myself how far I’ve come, both from practice and from learning about craft from other writers. Oh, and from studying endless movies & books for structure, characterization, etc.

    Sometimes, though, it feels like there’s so much to learn about writing and I’ll never know enough.

  • 6. Ashley Ladd  |  April 27, 2008 at 1:45 am

    I don’t think we ever stop learning or improving – in life in general or in writing. Some days I think I’ve learned a lot and others I feel as if I know nothing.

  • 7. Edie  |  April 28, 2008 at 12:23 am

    I agree with Ashley. My goal is to make every book better than the last. So far I’ve done that with my last few books.

    I empathize with you, Mel. I have a ton of fear and doubt. But like the song says, I “do it anyway.”

  • 8. Mel  |  April 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Sometimes, though, it feels like there’s so much to learn about writing and I’ll never know enough.

    Stay tuned for next blog post, because yes, you never stop learning.

  • 9. Mel  |  April 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Some days I think I’ve learned a lot and others I feel as if I know nothing.

    At least one day out of the week I feel like that. It’s natural. I think the key is accepting it and using it to your advantage.

  • 10. Mel  |  April 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    But like the song says, I “do it anyway.”

    I’m going to make the my mantra when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

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