Photo: Cover of Kathryn Mackel’s THE SURROGATE.

Last week I had a rather disconcerting experience with the WIP (work in progress): I reached the beginning of the ending and suddenly realized I was almost done with the first draft and with a grand total of only 15,000 words. That has happened once before, but the other time I had written 50,000 words.


I wasn’t too alarmed, because I knew what the problem was–what I’d done was sketch out the plot events of the story. This is a a character novel, so all that comes next is character material, which requires a totally different approach.

Most of my novels are plot-driven, so the toss-words-on-the-screen-and-add-details-later method works well. But this novel’s plot is simple: Three women get stuck in an elevator and have a hard time getting out. 🙂 That’s it.

So . . . last week I dug out all the notes I took at the Maass intensive seminar and started working through the book again. I dug into my characters. And dug some more. And discovered some delightful and unexpected things–for instance, there’s a dog in the story! I didn’t know that until last week.

Now that I have pages and pages of notes to explore, on Monday I’m starting the book again, still pressing for a decent word count by the end of next week. My first drafts are always on the slight side–usually about 70 percent of what becomes the finished book.

So I printed out a new blank calendar and penciled in new daily goals. I love a fresh start! (And I especially love knowing a little about the folks of the story.)

Yesterday I flew up to Pensacola to be with my high school friend, Keri Christie Igney, and to speak at a ladies’ tea. On the way up and back I read Kathryn Mackel’s manuscript for THE HIDDEN. Oh my goodness! This book is so good that I remained SEATED when everyone else got up and started moving off the plane (and it takes a VERY good book to keep me in my seat when it’s time to deplane.) A wonderful book that releases in May. Kathy is a master with language and a superb storyteller–and excellent with character, I might add. She inspires me.

If you haven’t read Kathryn Mackel, you need to pick up one of her books today.



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