The Ending Is What It’s All About

November 13, 2013 § 2 Comments

“. . . it’s that I don’t really believe in endings. After all, life always goes on.”—Jeffe Kennedy

Speaking of endings, this hawk outside my office building made final work of the bird it caught.

Speaking of endings, this hawk outside my office building made final work of the bird it caught.

November 13, 2013

My fellow LERA member, Jeffe Kennedy, wrote this great post about story endings, and it’s been stuck in my head for the past couple of days.

Probably because I am rewriting the ending to my novel, since I have had to split it into two, and I have scheduled myself to complete it this weekend.

In story writing, the ending is the easiest part for me. I always know pretty much how my story is going to end, before I even start writing. For me, the ending is why I am writing the story.

It’s the part after the crisis and leading up to the ending that gives me trouble. That’s why I love Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. It gives me the map I need to navigate through all that.

After I realized I was going to have to split my book in two, I knew almost immediately where the break is and what the new ending is going to be.

My Hot Tub Readers had another idea. They suggested a point in the story that they thought would be more of a cliffhanger.

To me, though, it didn’t feel right. It felt like a cheat. A cheap trick. And not at all satisfying. The new ending had to be a resolution of that book’s journey. At the same time, it should be a lead-in, a beckoning of the promise of the next book’s adventure.

Something that makes me as eager to start writing the next book as much as I hope the reader will want to start reading it.

Come on, weekend!

On the Road Back Again

October 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

Yes, I’m talking about the Hero’s Journey. What else is new?
And jotting down story notes in my planner again. All is right with the world.

October 23, 2013


I am back to the rewrites and they’re going well. Thanks to

  • The middle of the night heart pounding thing happened, like I knew it would. I managed to skip the Vodka shot this time.
  • I went to my monthly LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) meeting and the guest speaker was UNM screenwriting instructor Matt McDuffie. He. Was. Fabulous.

McDuffie does not believe in plot. (My hero.) He believes in a story about a character who wants something.

What do I want? To get this book published. That means BICHOK, baby. (Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard. A little tidbit I learned at the RWA13 conference.)

Towards the end of his talk about breaking down the structure of a story, McDuffie touched on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and my heart pit-a-patted a little faster than it already had been.

12 Steps of a Hero's Journey. LERA meeting with guest speaker Matt McDuffie 10-12-13.

12 Steps of a Hero’s Journey. LERA meeting with guest speaker
Matt McDuffie 10-12-13.

12 Steps of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey (aka My Lifeline to Story Plotting)

  1. Ordinary World
  2. Call to Adventure
  3. Refusal of the Call
  4. Meeting with the Mentor
  5. Crossing of the Threshold
  6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
  7. Approach to the Innermost Cave
  8. The Ordeal
  9. The Boon or the Reward
  10. The Road Back
  11. The Resurrection
  12. Return with the Elixir

I could not wait to get back to my novel. I plowed through the ordeal and made it to the end of the shorter road back. Now I am at the new resurrection, a brand new scene that I am excited to have found a use for and am having a lot of fun writing.

“I read something because I want to know what it’s like to be alive.” —Matt McDuffie.

Burning Out on the Rewrites A Little

September 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

or, I rush into the heart of darkness and quickly retreat.

September 18, 2013

“Embrace the dark moment.”

That’s what I wrote in my planner.

I had to psyche myself up to delve back into the novel rewrites. Now that I am splitting my novel in two, I have to restructure the first break which means revisiting one of the most emotionally challenging sections of the book.

If only I felt this calm.

If only I felt this calm.

Here’s where I wail, “No! I don’t want to go back!”

But, propelled by those words of encouragement in my planner, and armed with a glass of wine, I spent thirty minutes reworking one of the difficult scenes.

The next day Neil Gaiman totally backed me up on this.

Then came the weekend. And the fist-pounding, heel-digging, wailing little girl reasserted her rights. I need a break from the novel. A week-long break, at least. And I will not feel guilty about it.

Nothing and no one backed me up on this.

But I got a lot of reading done and I went to the movies and the theater and met new people.

Saw one-woman play "Harriet's Return" at the KiMo on Sunday. Inspiring. I can do anything. I have a voice.

Saw one-woman play “Harriet’s Return” at the KiMo on Sunday. Inspiring. I can do anything! I have a voice!

Now I’m waiting for the moment when I wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and my mind racing and my inner voice shrieking, “What are you doing? You’re wasting time! Get your ass back in the chair and finish those rewrites.”

Then I’ll get up, down a shot of Vodka, and face the fact that break time is over.

I Got My First Rejection and I Feel Fine

August 21, 2013 § 7 Comments

For the most part.
And Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston talks about the value of writing.

August 21, 2013

On Saturday I heard back from the agent I pitched to at RWA13. It was a very gracious “I’ll pass” email.

The strange thing is, I’m not even upset about it. I know this is part of the process and I just have to keep on keeping on.

Plus, I have wine.


And a new exercise bike.

New Bike

And my cat still loves me.


Or, she loves my books, anyway.

Even though I really liked this agent and had hoped she’d connect with my voice, I know that I’ll be paired with the right agent at the right time.

One thing I did learn from pitching to her is that my manuscript is twice as long as the normal word count for my genre. Yeah, all this time I was writing two books and I didn’t even know it. No WONDER it was taking so long to finish it!

So now I am working on splitting the novel into two. Back to the Hero’s Journey drawing board.

And now for some pep talks.

In this interview on NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston said that as an actor he relies “heavily on the writing. It’s all about that.” (At the 19:30 mark)

Masterpiece Mystery’s Alan Cumming says that movies should be named as by the writer, not the director.

And author Mitchell Jackson, talking about his debut novel The Residue Years, says, “I’ve always felt an obligation to tell this story, which is why I stuck with it.”

Keep on keeping on.

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