Sunday, June 19, 2011


Oh, sweet practical blog. I've neglected you. It's good, though. Because when I'm not writing practically, I'm writing poetically and prosaically and prolifically.

Waxing poetic over at The Diary of a Lost Witch.  Come see!

~Novel News~

No news! Which is... most days... Good News!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A writer's Dream Lunch

Okay. Question for you.  If you were to have lunch with a famous writer (ALIVE) who would it be?  How about I add an hour or so of quiet writing side by side?

My answer: Alice Hoffman.

Oh Alice. Remember me? I'm the one who tweeted you back and told you how to "Unfollow" all the people you followed on twitter before you decided that tweeting wasn't your cup of tea.

Dear Ms. Hoffman,

My name is Suzanne and I'm a writer. My novel is going out on submission this week and I'm very, very scared. (And happy too!)

Today I saw my essay "The Mother Crush" was published in Life Learning Magazine. And I thought... dreams, they do come true, right??  So how about lunch?

I'd love to write with you.

All best,
Suzanne Hayes

How about you guys? Who do you want to eat lunch with and then write a bit with?

Monday, April 25, 2011

The importance of rituals

Rule one in the writing world is:  Write. Write everyday.

Sometimes this is hard to do. One of the things I do to help me with this is, well... blog. But sometimes? Sometimes I need to focus on my novels and essays. The paying things!

This morning I dropped my youngest daughter off at pre-school.  I took her inside because we were bringing back her pillow and blanket (freshly washed from spring vacation).

"Where do you put your things, Little Bit?" I asked her. (We call her Little Bit. As in, Little bit of luck, little bit of sugar, little bit of ---- whatever fits!)

She pointed to a set of cubbyholes. One said GRACE right above it. I laughed and we put her things away.

Then she took her lunch box out of her bookbag. I thought of asking her why... but I wanted to watch her. And I could tell she wanted me to watch her too.

She put her lunch box on the bottom of the cubby and then took out a snack. She put her snack on top of the cubby and then put her folder next to it. I looked and all the other children did the same thing.

Their morning ritual. It keeps them on track. It focuses them. It lets them know "I'm at School Now"

Genius.  So though I write everyday... I need a better schedule for the WIP. 1k at least a day. And I'm going to make sure I figure out a ritual to go along with it.

How about you? Do you have any rituals that help you to write?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Submission!

Okay. Deep breaths.

Next week... next week I begin the next level of the game. (For my sanity I liken the publishing business to a video game. I love gaming and MAN was that Query Level hard to beat!)

I wonder what the level will look like. What demons will I have to slay? What are the tricks? How long will it take me to win?  Because here's the thing.

When I beat this level, I've won this particular game.

Wow. If there ever was a time for patience and perseverance it's now. 

And in an ASTOUNDING moment of pure literary gold......

Last night my oldest daughter and her friends finally beat the DRAN. It's a demon in an old school play station 2 game. They've been stuck on that level for eight years. EIGHT YEARS.

But they did it!

So there.

I'll do it too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

There's a Monster at the End of this Book


So I've been thinking about my last post. Did any of you ever read this book as a kid?

I did. And I think it's the BEST EXAMPLE of how to get a page turned in all of writing history. Throw out all those books on plotting and JUST READ THIS ONE!!!! You are welcome in advance.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's All About the STORY!!!!

It took me some time to figure this out.  As a new writer I was listening to a story in my head but it didn't have a path. It was all character and setting more than plot. So these scenes would flash across my brain and I'd have to write them down. One scene after the next like a flip book.

But the story? Not so much.  My first novel was one scene after another with beautiful moments and quirky characters. And here are some of the rejection lines I got.

"Beautiful! But not for us."
"Strong writing! But moves too slow."
"LOVELY! But no central theme."
"Ambitious. Too ambitious."

And they were all right, only I didn't understand how to fix what was wrong.

Until I read a book I couldn't put down and asked myself that all important question. "Why? Why can't I put this book down???"

And like a good writer,( and/or mechanic) I took the book apart.

It was the yarn. The ball of words that strung themselves together and pulled me from one point to the next. The breathless "And then????"

So, I humbly add to Stephen King's famous tip of the "What if?" in story telling. I give you Suzanne Hayes' practical way to get your story (novel) eaten up by agents and publishers alike:

Drum roll:    THE "And then?"  (You must create it at the bottom of every page. At the end of each chapter. Agent Anne calls them teasers.)

Oh, Oprah... take your "ah ha" moments. Me and my writing friends? We need "And Then???" moments.

For sure.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

ooohhh! Pretty New Things! And news....

I hit send on the final (cross your fingers) set of edits to Glorious Agent Anne. And now?

NOW I can finish my WIP!!!!!!!!!!! Oh! How I've missed you. My pretty characters. My lovely old southern mansion. My murder mystery. My deep, aching sorrow.

And then the redemption. 

There is nothing like a shiny new story. Nothing in the world. It's almost more exciting than babies.

How about you? Are you giddy when you start a new project?