Last Leg of the Blog Tour and Weekend Workout

There are four more stops on my blog tour on four great blogs. Reviews, Interviews, and Guest Posts.

Guest Post Today (May 11) on 4 AM Writer
I love Kate’s enthusiasm for all things writing.

Review/Interview Saturday, May 12 on Dead Houseplants
I snorked my coffee when I *got* that blog title. Oh, how I relate.

Guest Post Monday, May 12 on Just Deb
Deb is a great supporter of children’s writers and is a writer herself.

Interview on Wednesday, May 16 on Morgen Baily’s Writing Blog
One stop shopping for reviews, interviews, guest posts, podcasts, flash fiction and more.

And now to the Weekend Workout…

I’m in this odd in between writings stage at the moment. I still have not finished my Character – Action Workout series, but I’m not in that space right now, so maybe next Friday.

I just completed the final draft on INTERGALACTIC and am querying agents with it. I now have to get back into writing Book Three of the White Forest series, which my publisher probably wants to see by the end of the summer.

How does one step back into something that she hasn’t been working on for several months? Especially when it’s part of a larger series?

It’s time for the Fall Back Exercise.

This is the one I turn to several times in the process of writing a story. It’s useful at the beginning, at the end, during rewrites, for writer’s block, and for writing synopses. It’s the aspirin of writing exercises.


When I sent my Intergalactic query letter to my critique partner she wrote back that I hadn’t really told her what the story was about. But wait, I had summarized all the main points of action. The problem is the main points of action are NOT what the story is about.

There’s the THING your protag MUST do or else THIS BAD THING will happen. But there’s also the emotional arc to the story.

For example, in Intergalactic, idoLL must figure out how to save her band mates and Princess Tarantella or there could be an interplanetary war. But her emotional arc is that she’s got to face her own possible cultural insignificance, swallow her pride, and partner up with her nemesis in order to save the day.

She risks losing her fame when it’s all she thinks she has. She risks losing her fame when it’s her entire identity. She doesn’t know who she is beyond the character she plays. Jettison is everything she isn’t and her instinct is to destroy her, not to rescue, defend, or befriend her. IdoLL does all three.

Now all I have to do is figure all this out for Ondelle of Grioth. Book Three (!) in the Faerie Tales from the White Forest series.


Set your timer for 5 minutes.
Start at the top of the page with the following startline:

1) This is a story about

Write, don’t stop, don’t edit, don’t cross out.

When the timer stops, Set your timer for 7 more minutes.
Start with the following line: 

2) In this story, a boy/girl/animal must . . .

Write, don’t stop, don’t edit, don’t cross out.

When the timer stops, Set your timer for 10 more minutes.
Start with the following line: 

3) My protagonist makes his/her greatest sacrifice when . . .

Write, don’t stop, don’t edit, don’t cross out.

Read your exercises, make notes, highlight what makes sense.

Happy Weekend!


  1. tracikenworth
    May 12, 2012

    Congrats on the blog tour!!

  2. 4amWriter
    May 12, 2012

    My novel has a sequel, and I wrote a *very* rough draft of it a while ago while the ideas were coming. But when I went back to polish the first book of the series, I fell out of touch with the sequel. I’m going to try your exercise to see if it can get me back into that groove.

    Also, I wonder how successful this exercise would be for kids who want to write a story, but don’t know what it’s about? Have you tried anything like this with children around the ages of 10?

    Thanks for the shout-out! Your post got a lot of hits on my blog, btw…

    • Kate – I swear this works every time. I’m stalling getting back to working on Book Three. It’s been months since I’ve even looked at it. I’m going to kick myself off with this exercise. Let me know how it goes for you.

      I haven’t tried this exercise with kids that young. I’ve used it with high-school writers, though. Kids 10 and younger tend to write more plot-based “good vs. evil” kind of stuff. You can certainly talk with them about emotional arc, they’re smart, they get it. it might be a challenge for them to develop it in their own writing, though.

      You could definitely try it and see what happens. They’ll do it to the best of their abilities. I often give the exact same exercises to my kids and adults.

  3. char
    May 13, 2012

    Great exercise. I have bookmarked this to use later when I go back to one of my older stories I haven’t looked at in months. I just finished Brigitta (1), and am amazed by your imaginative plot and scenes. I will review it soon on official channels. I liked it.

  4. Books 4 Learning
    May 14, 2012

    Excellent blog. I love your idea of seeing writing as a work out! I am going to use it with my students! Thanks.

    • Thanks, Books. I am a firm believer in writing workouts. It’s a no pressure way of exploring your characters and story. I try to post a workout every weekend.

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