Thursday, May 20, 2010


Welcome back.

It's been quite a week. Not much writing, editing, or critiquing my fellow writer's works. I spent the week visiting and caring for my 88-year-old mother, as my sister, her regular caregiver, went on a cruise to Alaska. It was wonderful to have the time to spend with her. Although there were moments of anxiety over health issues, there were many more filled with laughter over her comments and antics. Enough to fill up my notebook for future stories.

I did take some time to think about what to write on my blog this week and decided to talk about a book I read a few years ago. In my opinion, this book is a must read for aspiring writers. The knowledge I gained from this book is invaluable.

The book is called, "The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile" by Noah Lukeman, a literary agent with his own agency. An accomplished author, agent, and speaker, he comes well-qualified to write this type of book and it has become part of the curriculum for many writing programs in universities.

The basic message of this writer's guide is some agents and publishers will skip over a synopsis or plot summary and go straight to the manuscript or sample chapter attachment. The first five pages must introduce a protagonist with well-developed characterization, a great hook, even pacing, and progression. To the qualified reader, any common mistakes found in the first few pages are bound to be repeated over and over throughout the manuscript. The agent/publisher may quit reading if this is the case. This guide stays away from plot development because even the greatest story cannot be sold if it is full of common mistakes and displays poor writing skills. The idea is for the writer to edit their first five pages, apply their new found knowledge, and use it to edit the entire story before sending it out into the publishing world.

I highly recommend this book and added a link to Noah Lukeman's website. He has written other books you might find interesting as well.

As an added note, some of you who subscribe to Miss Snark's First Victim blog site, recently entered her query letter contest. If you go to Noah Lukeman's website and click on About, you will see a reference to an e-book called, How to Write a Great Query Letter. This short is free for download, his way of giving back to the publishing community.

Have a great writing week and keep on keeping on writing.



Monday, May 10, 2010


Welcome to my first blog. I have no idea where it will take us, but welcome along for the ride. I will add links to writing sites, favorite blogs, and contests. Like my writing, this blog is a work in progesss.

While setting up this site and choosing to show you my favourite spot to meditate, write, and daydream, I decided to put this question to you. Where and how do you get inspired to write?

For me, it is nature. Of course, everyday life, people, news, and my own experiences supply the fodder for my stories. But to work out the details and pull it all together, I need nature.

The tranquility of our trout stream does that for me. I won't say quiet because it is never so. The wind whistles through the leaves of the aspen, willow and alder trees lining the water's edge, which are full with a variety of birds, singing their songs. The water flowing over our rock waterfall, gurgles and churns it's way into the still pond, where trout-rainbow, brook, and dolly varden-hit the surface for bugs, creating a slapping sound. This is where I am quiet and become the dreamer.

When I'm in my office at the computer, one look out the window reveals the peaks of the local mountains surrounding our valley village of 650 people. A train traverses across Lime Mountain, sounding his whistle as it descends into the valley below and crosses Kelly Lake Road.

Nature is a part of me. It defines who I am. It stands to reason that mother nature must be a part of my writing. If I get writer's block, a hit of nature sets me straight. We all need something to get us back to our passion. I think it is important to figure out what it is for you.

So, back to you and my question. What does it for you?