Feedback and help please?

Hi Everyone!

I am new to writing and have been doing it in my spare time as a distraction. I don’t know any other writers and apart from family I don’t have anyone to ask for genuine feedback. I would really appreciate if you could help out. I have already written about 45000 words (about half the book) and have the plot fairly well laid out and characters set. What I guess I need to know is though is apart from the terrible grammar (not my best point) is the writing of interest and does it make sense?? I know that it has a “unique” style but I am hoping that falls in my favor and not against it. Anyway I have grabbed just a snapshot below of part of the first chapter and FYI if anyone likes it and knows of an agent who maybe would…?!? Lol.
It’s still the first draft so feel free to comment away :slight_smile:
Thanks again.
Vanessa :smiley:

He realized they had arrived at a rather shabby looking early nineteenth century style white inn. A greying sign swung lifeless in the laneway with a sign saying Pegasus Arms and wisteria grew up from the roadside past the ground floor window to the second story to hang from it. Apart from this dilapidated building they had not seen nor heard from another thing since they started riding but John could hear music coming from inside. It was old honky tonk style, the kind he had heard them play in the spaghetti westerns his Granny enjoyed watching from time to time. He half expected the front doors to turn into a saloon bar and Clint Eastwood himself to come sauntering out.
“Just hop off and come inside” said Michael “Sam is expecting you. Must say it was mighty good of you to arrive so close, I was half expecting a long journey. I didn’t want to conjure a plane or dragon ride in these parts as it draws too much attention so this has been most convenient.”
Slipping inside the big white doors John paused before following him in.
The house looked deceptively small from the outside. Inside it opened into a large drawing room with a bar at the end. On the right hand wall sat a rather stout looking fellow with a large moustache plonking loudly at the piano. His raucous music seemed to draw no end of delight from his buxom female companion who, if John was correct, appeared to have consumed rather a large amount of wine given the redness of her complexion and the glass in her hand. At the bar were three shadowy looking figures all in grey suits. They sat rather grim faced grasping beer glasses in their hands and not talking. Apart from the occasional frown in the direction of the piano, they appeared to be rather unsocial. The bartender was a slim older man with silvering hair. He was slight of frame and wore glasses, and had a white bar tenders apron tied to his waist. He was watching with a distracted eye to the patrons whilst cleaning the counter. Upon the boys entry his eyes picked up and without saying a word motioned them toward the back stairs. The grey suits all lifted their gaze too, but barely took notice instead returning to their grim expressions and their drinks.
Michael and John shot up the back stairway and into a smaller room at the back. It was a tidy little office space, with a lovely mahogany desk and Victorian chair. A small window let in what little light it could. The old bartender appeared shortly after.
“Sam” smiled Michael “He made it. And none the worse for wear you will be pleased to know. Didn’t even see a single Ghoul on the road. Lucky for us he appeared just down by Greystones”
“Well we will take all the luck we get boy” said Sam with a voice a little gruffer than John had anticipated. “Do we know how long we have him for this time?”
“No idea. Guess we had better make sure he gets up to speed as quick as possible in case he flicks back. Do you really think Jo is right and that he is going to be the Oracle?”
“Only time will tell boy. But we all know that the circle has almost swung fully round, and we all know what that means. We better hope we made the right choice for everyones sake.”
John was feeling very confused. Oracle? He felt a bit like a piece of meat being inspected at the butchery. What exactly was he being chosen for here and what were they expecting of him?
“Umm what exactly are you talking about?” John intervened
“You’ll find out soon enough boy” gruffed Sam. “Right now your on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know everything. What you do need to know is how to stay alive. So - what did your Mom tell you about the Ghouls?”
John tried to recall his dream about his mother.
“Something about energies and good and bad. I think they were the bad ones?”
“Well I guess thats a start. Although she sure bloody sugar coated it. Righty ho then, lets get cracking Michael. Its time for you to teach the boy some Ghoul basics. And don’t be afraid to be a little graphic boy. The sooner we scare the shite out of the kid, the better.”
And with that Sam turned and headed back off down the stairs.

Michael turned and looked at John with a sad smile.
“I’m sorry John but Sam’s right. Jo’s not doing you any favours by sugar coating this story. Let me start at the beginning and then maybe you will find it a little easier to understand. I will start with how Ghouls and Imprints came into being.”

Sorry I won’t give anymore away at this point (unless your interested in the story!!) …

Anyone??? :confused:

Vanessa, hi and welcome to the forums.

I’m really not in a good position to give criticism here and don’t usually post in this forum. What you’re writing is not my genre at all and I don’t know any conventions or what to expect. But, seeing your posts, thought I’d make a couple of brief comments:

1: First post on Monday, second next day. You’ve got to give it time … even those who in the past have been highly active on the forum have periods of slowing down as the demands of life — and one would hope a productive period of writing — loom large. This is especially true of course, for those with children, or those who are teachers, as it’s the beginning of the academic year for most, at least in the northern hemisphere.

2: As I read the first paragraph, I found myself asking, “Help! Where has all the punctuation gone, or rather the commas?” This may be the style you’re aiming at, but to me it made it more effortful to read. Punctuation is like musical notation of how to read a sentence or a paragraph; commas — in British English, at least — indicate a breathing pause together with a rising intonation to show that the sentence is not finished. So without them, the reader is faced with an intonational “garden path” structure, in which they expect to pause but don’t because it’s not shown in the structure. So each sentence is presented like one single tone-group which goes on and on without any chance to pause or without any indication of the internal structure of the sentence and whether any clause or phrase of it is central to the main idea or is merely an explanatory or illustrative element that has been put in to make it richer-seeming. You see what I mean? I suppose it is one of the tricks of the trade that writers have to learn, to read their outpourings as if they, the writers, were someone else who didn’t know where each sentence, each paragraph, was going.

3: So, as a corollary to that, as I read on, though the punctuation tone-marks did become somewhat more plentiful, I still found that there was a sameness of rhythm to each sentence.

As I say, I have never felt qualified to judge writing, particularly in specific genres such as this seems to be, but am only commenting from my perspective — fundamentally a theoretical linguist, but, in practice, working for the last 12 years as editor of translations from Chinese to English and lecturer. Your style maybe unique — in which case you need to evaluate the effectiveness of it vis-à-vis potential readers — or may be of the style expected in that genre — in which case, my comments are not so relevant. Whichever is the case, I wish you good luck, though I’m unlikely to read your book when it comes out.

dearest vanessa, welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your work.

before i comment, it,s only fair to introduce myself. i am floss, a cat that wondered into the forum one day and for one reason or another found it warm and cosy enough that i,ve not yet wandered on. i am not to be confused with my lighter coloured cousin who lives with a different human and is a much nicer and friendlier cat than me - in many ways the opposite of me.

this ,scrivenings, section of the forum is my scratching post where i sharpen my claws. as such i focus - at the expense of balance - almost exclusively on areas i find scratchworthy, which strangely enough some humans seem to appreciate and even seek out on occasion. as an aside, this goes some way to explaining not only the success of the ,fifty shades, books, but also why my human saw a ,fifty shades, magazine for ladies who want to bring a little of the ,character, from the books into their lives on a supermarket shelf last week.

in a supermarket. i kid you not.

anyway, back to the topic at hand. below are some thoughts i had when reading your work;


the ,he realized, is a bit off here. is there a reason why it doesn’t just say ,they arrived at…,
are you suggesting there was a reason why it wouldn’t be obvious that it was an inn
or that there is a reason why this person wouldn’t be immediately clear

that’s a lot of words. i,m personally in favour of restricting myself to a single adjective per noun. extra info can be added in the next sentence if necessary. i appreciate that the world would be a dull place if everyone wrote in my style - especially as i don,t use any puntuation that requires a shift key - it hurts my paws to press two buttons at once - but consider the impact instead of…
they arrived at the inn just as the sun was starting to dip below the horizon. the building showed all the hallmarks of abandonment; the wooden beams showed signs of rot and the once white walls were scarred with dirt and decay…

also worthy of note in your first sentence is your choice to use the indefinite article instead of the definite article.
ie, you said they reached an inn
not that they reached the inn
given that this inn seems to be their destination, the definite article might be more appropriate for a story told by a third person narrator.
if you were writing in the first person perspective and the person narrating didn’t know that this was a deliberate pit stop, the indefinite article might indeed be better suited.

slow it down a bit.

think about how the idea of a chosen one unfolds in the film ,the matrix,
that is to say, slowly. it,s the whole point of the film. we get to know keanu before we learn that there is anything wrong with the world, then we learn that there is a thing such as the prophecy, then we learn keanu might just fit the bill, then we learn he doesn,t, then we learn…
now i,m making a big assumption here about where your story is going…
if the idea is that this john fellow is going to be the chosen one and have a a ripping adventure, then you need to take it back a step. we don’t know john well enough at this point to say that he shouldn,t be the oracle. i,m reading it and i,m all ,hey, cool, john,s the oracle,.
if the idea is that john isn,t actually the oracle and will die a tragic painful death in chapter two, but nicely setting up the idea of the prophecy for john mk2 to emerge in chapter 7, then carry on as you were…

i,m getting mixed messages about your world here. there are a couple of things you have included that jar with each other.
for example… you mention clint eastwood and dragons within a few short sentences of each other. mr eastwood is clearly establishing the narrative as in our world. the dragons and magic clearly say we aren’t.
also, using imagery from our world - such as refering to a building as ,ninteenth century, - really jars in a fantasy environment.
this kind of goes back to my second point. one of the great treasures in fantasy stories is watching new worlds unfold. but you need to take the time to build that world first. for yourself and for us. this is especially true if you want to build the suspension of disbelief required to introduce fantastic elements into the ,real, world we live in.

consider the following opening lines from great works of fantasy and scifi;

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

I looked at my notes and I didn’t like them. I’d spent three days at U.S. Robots and might as well have spent them at home with the Encyclopedia Tellurica.

  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

  • Neuromancer by William Gibson

Did you hear that? They’ve shut down the main reactor. We’ll be destroyed for sure. This is madness!

  • Star Wars by George Lucas

they all start by trying to build a picture of this new world.

Thank you!!!
Feedback is such a wonderful thing to have (especially because you don’t normally give it!) so I appreciate you spending the time :smiley:
And your right - patience is not another of my strong points (along with grammar, spelling and punctuation…) all of which I am trying to rectify…
My problem is I have the story “written” in my head as I type and I find that I tend to just write down quickly what I am thinking of. But because your thoughts are often faster than your fingers its not always conducive with things being written down particularly well. I really will need to go through it all after I have finished it and re-edit everything and make sure that it has better flow.
But thank you again for your time

Greetings Floss!

I am thrilled to meet you and have such wonderful feedback!
I agree with you on the perhaps narrowing down descriptions part. As I said to Mark what tends to happen is my head overrides my pen hand and well… lets just say the brain thinks faster than the finger… But I think with some revision that can be overcome!! (I hope!). Your kind of right (ish) about the Matrix concept but not really which is why I am lucky enough to mix both real world and otherworld together in my book. I think the easiest might be if I just give you a little more to explain… But no cheating and telling everyone my ideas!! :wink:

The forest was thick and dark. John couldn’t see through to the other side, just a mass of trees. Fear sat at the base of his spine but he had nowhere else to go. Behind him lay nothing but desert wasteland. He had no idea how had got there. No idea how to get back. The only perceivable way was forward. Still in his pajamas he wrapped his arms around himself as he entered the forest, its coolness enveloping him.
It was deathly still. Not a bird or animal to be heard. Not even a single cricket. Only the sound of his footsteps as he broke twigs and trod leaves under foot. Deeper and deeper he strode into the darkness. The eerie silence surrounding him. This was no place for a boy. Suddenly he finally heard something.
Thuck. Thuck. Thuck.
A rhythmic thumping noise seemed to be coming from in the distance to his right. He turned toward the noise and could just make out a sliver of light coming through the trees. He started toward it picking up speed as he went. Anywhere there was people had to be better than this. As he got closer he could make out the edge of the forest coming closer and a small cottage with a man chopping wood. He carefully lay each piece of wood down on the block. Raised his axe and swung.
Thuck. Thuck. Thuck.
Strange recognition swept over him. Not of the action but of the form of the man. He knew this man. So familiar.
Suddenly, rooted to the spot John felt his body start to shake.
Thuck. Thuck. Thuck.
Not sure if he wanted to run and hug him or turn and run the other way John just stood and stared at the form he hadn’t seen in seven years. Flashes of the horror of the night he had last heard of him came flooding back.
He had been only twelve. His little brother Max was just two at the time. They were staying at Granny May’s at the time for the night because their Mom and Dad had gone for a work dinner. It was a rare treat for them to stay with Granny May so she had made a big fuss of them. John had been allowed to stay up late and watch movies with Granny May and eat popcorn but Max had been put to bed. They were sitting on the coach with a patchwork quilt watching a horror movie because John wasn’t allowed to watch them at home. Granny May was laughing at John for hiding under it in the scary bits. John had nearly jumped through the roof when they had got the knock at the door. He still remembered Granny May’s voice
“I wonder who that can be this late at night…”
At the door stood a Policeman. John still remembered every line on his face. He looked so sad. He didn’t hear everything that was said to Granny May, but she had to be helped to a chair in the kitchen to sit down and she was as white as a ghost when he left. She held him all that night and cried. All she said to him that night was
“I’m sorry John, there has been an accident. Your parents are not coming home love. You will be safe with Granny May love. I will take care of you sweetheart. We will get through this”
Beyond that the next few days for John were a blur of teary relations, black clothes and two coffins laid side by side. He remembers holding Max’s hand tightly as he kept saying “Mommy? Mommy?” repeatedly over the next few weeks. Eventually he stopped asking, but the hole in Johns heart never did.
And now here was his father. He hadn’t dreamed of his Dad in years and years. Why now he wondered?
He watched him for a little longer. He conjectured if he would look like him when he grew up. His dark brown hair had started to turn grey at the edges, and his face had taken a leathery affect from many hours in the sun. But as a sales rep for a mens clothing line his father had always tried to keep up his physique by running daily, so John thought he was still a handsome man for his age.
Just a John stepped forward from the tree line to go meet his father he stopped. From out of the cottage stepped none other than his mother. Her long blond hair flowing freely down her back like she used to do when they were away on holiday she looked so lovely it made his heart constrict. She looked just as remembered but more peaceful. Like the weight of life had been lifted from her shoulders. Somehow, as if she sensed his presence she turned and looked straight into his eyes.
Blue eyes meeting blue eyes with instant recognition she turned swiftly back to her husband. There was a quick exchange as if his presence was a danger. Confused John went to rush forward to her but her eyes turned back to him and warned him to stay put. He hid behind a tree and watched her and she darted out toward him deftly managing to make her way without making it obvious that he was there. His father none the wiser went back to his wood chopping seemingly oblivious to his wifes intentions.
Sweeping past his tree and motioning him to follow they did not embrace until they were beyond the notice of his father.
“My beautiful boy!” she cried “Oh how I have missed you my love!”
She reined kisses on his forehead and cheeks.
John hugged her back feeling her warmth and not wanting to ever let go. This dream mother was so life like and real it was too good to be true.
Eventually pulling back his curiosity got the better of him,
“Why did you not want Dad to see?” he said “Can I please go see him too?”
A sadness touched the edges of her eyes.
“No sorry son” she said “ He doesn’t believe in Seers. And for that he cannot see you. It would mean to him that you are dead. For you see he thinks this is heaven and it would surely break his heart.”
Seers? He thought. What an unusual word.

He followed her through the forest into a clearing. A tree had fallen over making an impromptu seat and the two of them sat down together. The nearness of her made him feel warm inside. He inhaled her scent deeply and with it brought a wealth of childhood memories.
The time he tripped and fell after running to meet her from his first day at school. He remembered how carefully she scooped him up and carried him the remaining way home and tended to his scrape before putting on a bright yellow plaster. And how she wiped away his tears telling him how brave he was to manage not only his first day at school but such a big wound. He smiled to think on it now and imagine how little the scrape really was.
“What am I?” said John turning to the form of his mother
“You are what we call a Seer, John” she replied. A lock of hair fell over her eye as her head fell forward and her eyes darkened. She turned away and her voice dropped.
“I should have told you when you were a child, but you were so little. I was afraid. I was afraid of what I could do. Of what you could maybe one day do. I didn’t want you to know…to be afraid too.” Her shoulders hunched over a little and she seemed lost in thought.
John considered this a moment. He tried to remember the last time he ever saw his mother look this sad. He didn’t think he ever had.
“It’s ok” he replied and placed a hand upon her back.
“I haven’t finished” she replied her resolve strengthening. She turned and took his hands.
“Let me explain. Do you know how everyone has a energy about them? Often when you meet a person you will either like or dislike a person instantly, even though they haven’t even said anything? People often say this is because of someones personality. Its not. Its their energy. Some people call this their aura. Seers like you are very special people. They can actually “see” the energy of people. For mediums or physics its a beautiful colour around only alive people, but for you - you get to actually see an actual “living” energy. The energy is strongest only in places is was active during its physical life - its harder to manifest your energy into places that you haven’t been to physically. Seers are very rare because its a hereditary condition, one that often skips generations. And it can be a dangerous one. There are good energies and bad energies just like in life. The bad energies are the Ghouls. They are the energies that wish harm to others and particularly Seers. You must always be on your guard for Ghouls John. Finally John, we call the living humans the Waken - for they must never be told of our true existence. They have always known us subconsciously of course for they are us in another form. But if they were to realise their energy they might try and escape their body and the result would be instant death for the person. They have spoken of us in stories for eons in one form or another of course just unconsciously - angels, ghosts, heaven and hell. These are all explanations for what we are in a way. Energies are not easily killed or die, we are like all potential energy simply re dispersed into different potentials if we wish. Some of us come back to bodies, some remain as energy and others still eventually burn out. But like all energy in the universe we like to do things cyclically so things often come around on a regular basis for us - birth, death and rebirth again. This is why we can change our forms and we will often take a form that we feel most comfortable with. I know this is hard to grasp my angel, I only wish I had started to tell you this all so much sooner.”
John stared at her trying to absorb the information. Seers, Ghouls, Energies.
Then as he watched his mothers face changed. The lines on her face smoothed out and her hair grew more lustrous. She became slightly shorter and more youthful and suddenly there before him stood a teenage version of his mother. Behind her a wide open field of green meadows appeared with two grey horses, heads bowed. With a twinkle in her eye she turned to him
“Enough of the serious talk. Race you to the horses. Haven’t been for a good horse ride since you were tiny!”
And with that she was off, legs and hair flying.
John watched her go and wondered if this really was heaven and maybe he had died somehow. He looked up at the blue sky above and felt the sun warm his face. Now was not the time to question this, but to enjoy this precious time with the mother he had missed so much he decided. Joining in behind her he jumped on the back of the grey mare just as he suddenly woke.

He found himself lying back in his bed at the dorm. Looking up he could see that it was still dark outside. A car drive past making headlight shadows across his bedroom wall. In the bed across from him Taylor lay peacefully asleep, his rhythmic breathing reminding John of his Dad chopping the wood. What an amazing dream he thought. Wait, he could still remember everything. That was unusual. Looking back at the ceiling he watched the lights pass and fade a few more times before dozing back to a black sleep. This time no dreams came and he was peaceful.

When he woke the next morning he wasn’t sure if he should tell Taylor about his unusual visions. Normally they shared everything together as Taylor was an only child, and John had become like his only brother. But something made him hold this back. This seemed more personal to him and he didn’t feel like sharing it. The routine at the school was always the same. You had to be up by seven, dressed and ready for breakfast by half past and then it was down to the kitchens before off to school.
John had been at Rathmore Private Boys School since shortly after he was twelve. Granny May had wanted to keep him with her and send him to her local high school, but the Trustees of his parents will wouldn’t allow it. They said that his parents had been very specific about his education and had named Rathmore in the case of their demise. Good old Granny May had put up quite the fight due to them having only recently passed, but it was over ruled in the end. It was a very tearful goodbye on his first day. But since then she had been one of the few for Rathmore who dutifully came every month for visiting day and allowed him to come home whenever he was able. For that, John was eternally grateful. She even let him bring Taylor home with him, so he also had become like an extended part of their family.
After breakfast they started into their classroom routines. His schedule was fairly full with a range of subjects from science and math to art, music and Spanish. He was a fairly average student preferring to not stand out. He found out early on that in boarding school you are better to be a nobody than a somebody if you wanted to avoid the pranks and teasing. He had made some friends at school, but was not what would be called popular and found that this made it easier to blend into crowds when things got heated and he wanted to avoid confrontation. Basically, John had learnt quickly how to survive in a boarding school.
His school day over John spent his afternoons playing sport or if he could he escaped down to the lake. Rathmore was set in its own private estate of several thousand acres, and near the middle was a large lake with a forest on one side. The boys had all been warned by the Rector to stay away from the forest and the lake as they were dangerous and anyone caught there would be severely punished. But for all the boys the temptation for a moments peace and quiet was often too much. They had even installed security cameras to try and catch wayward boys. But John had worked out a scheme of slipping past the cameras by skimming down the side of the boat sheds and climbing up an old pine tree to jump past the last camera at the end before the forest. He came and went as he pleased and had yet to be caught. He didn’t take Taylor with him as he knew that one of his greatest flaws was his inability to keep his mouth shut under duress. He doubted that Taylor would be able to control himself if pressed for the method of access by the Rector.
That afternoon John decided he needed to get away for a bit. The day had been long and hot. His classes were not particularly interesting and he was still feeling melancholic from his dream the night before. A little homesick and a little bored he decided the forest would be the best place for him so he grabbed his backpack and a few supplies of food and drink in case he needed them and headed out. Agile as always he crept around the boat sheds like a seasoned professional, up the tree and dropped down into the forest. Unlike the forest of his dreams this one was lighter and softer underfoot. He knew his way around this one in his sleep he had been here so often, so he strode with purpose down toward his favourite bend in the forest where it met the waters edge. Here where the forest met the lakes shore there was a little beach of sorts, with a rocky shoreline and the wooded backdrop. He skimmed some stone for a while watching them skeet across the water and trying to better each throw before resting his head down on his backpack and looking up at the sky. He liked to lie there and watch the clouds and imagine what creatures they could be. That one was a lion. And that one a dog chasing a cat. As the sun beamed down he grew tired and his eyelids drooped.

So as you see, in my book there are two realities in which my lead character John (and there are others) pass between the two worlds on a regular basis. The one world is our current world with all its normal restrictions. The other is not. I guess the problem for me is making it apparent which one he is in at the time. And also slowing down so that the story is clearer!!
Anyway thanks again :smiley: :smiley:

Hi everyone, I have been feeling very disheartened with my writing of late which had resulted in a lack of it. So in a late night lack of inspiration I decided that I would share the experience online (for want of a better way) since frankly like most of you out there I am not JK Rowling and hardly going to make mega bucks after being discovered after writing my very first book on a train ride home. This way (hopefully) I can get the motivation to keep writing because I will have people to spy on me (feel free to stalk my progression at your whim) and fingers crossed they will eventually feel confident enough to comment as I go. I know, I know… many have done this before me and its perhaps just another random in this world of random pages among the web space that has become so commonly used by us all. But maybe, just maybe, it will keep me on track for a while and keep the coffee pot going so I can get this finished. I am just up to the good part now (the fight scenes - yeah!!) so its getting a little easier to write. Who would have thought writing a whole book would be SOO tough huh?? Big thumbs up to all you authors out there for keeping up the focus! And I haven’t even completed all the rewriting yet…sigh. Well back to the typing!
Heres the blog link for those who want to keep an eye out:

I think feelings of discouragement are why many writers believe in a muse outside of themselves, even if only as a metaphor for their own creativity; they trick themselves psychologically into blaming some other entity when the writing isn’t going well. So don’t despair, blame the muse, “I sat down, and I did the writing part… now do your job, Frank!”*

If you’re in a hurry to get to the juicy bits, start a new scene that falls somewhere in the future, then later fill in the less exciting character building and introductory bits. The power of Scrivener is that you can put in obvious place-holders that need to be written when things are done out of order.

Also… and I’m trying hard to follow this advice myself… do your best to finish each story and then move on to another one. The first book you write is unlikely to be the best, because you’re always learning as you go. I’ve participated in 4 NaNoWriMo events, finished two rough drafts, and am learning how to do an efficient job of dissecting one of those before I do any real editing. Eveything I do in relation to writing novels makes me a better writer (not necessarily a good writer, but then I’m not feeding my family off my writing either).

My first book, once I’m done editing it, will almost certainly be a throw-away; something I self-publish with little fan-fare, just so that interested friends can check it out and pat me on the head; but it’s a necessary step in becoming the writer I know I can be, and I’ll never get much better if I don’t eventually stick a fork in it and move on to new material. So don’t feel bad if your book isn’t what you had dreamt it could be; I don’t think anyone’s ever is.

  • It’s just easier for me to be hard on a male version of the muse; the female versions seem too much like skittish wild animals to yell at, even if they are imaginary.