My Writer's Journal

Questions I Hate to Be Asked

July 13, 2011

A question of the sort that drives me crazy arrived in my In Box this week:

"I love to write and I have all these great ideas stuck in my head, but every time I start to write something I can never finish it. I don't know why but I lose interest practically the day after I start it. Any suggestions on how I can start something and actually finish it?"

My reply:
You haven't told me how old you are, but my reaction is that you don't really "love to write" as much as you love the IDEA of writing. Writing is very hard work--drudgery, in fact. It's also likely that the "great ideas" are really much too big and complicated. My suggestion: pick the simplest of those ideas, one that you can finish in a single sitting, and don't get up until you've completed a first draft. Put it away, and the next time, try another idea. Go back to the first one and rewrite it. Then rewrite it a third time. Build discipline, and stop looking for quick fixes. There aren't any.

That's probably not what the frustrated would-be writer wants to hear, but it's the truth. I could add a lot to that: keep a journal; write a paragraph every day of something you've observed; listen in on a conversation and develop it into dialogue.

The secret, of course, is just to keep writing. No matter what.

Fiction for Young Adults

Fiction for Young Adults
Dowdy Peggy White reinvents herself as a glamorous photographer, capturing memorable images during the 1930s Depression and 1940s World War II
Three gutsy girls go looking for adventure in the West in the 1920's
Anastasia and her three sisters are the privileged daughters of the richest man in the world, until their world begins to crumble.
YA Historical Fiction
What's it like to be the daughter of the most beautiful woman in the world? When Helen of Troy elopes with Paris, her daughter, Hermione, stows away on a Greek ship in search of her mother, hoping to bring her home--and perhaps to find a love of her own.
The future queen of England lives a life of privilege, but privilege comes with a steep price of isolation and loneliness--until she meets Albert.
She leaves Scotland as a child, is sent to France to marry the future king, returns to Scotland as a young woman to rule; a wild queen in a wild country.
First published in 1992, my first historical novel, has been reissued with a new cover.
Cleopatra has been chosen to be the next queen of Egypt, but she faces ruthless competition from her sisters. (Watch a video of Carolyn on this page)
The dizzying rise and horrific downfall of the last queen of France. Young Royals series
Who would not fall in love with--or at least have a mad crush on--young Will!
Marie van Goethen was a dancer in 19th century Paris and modeled for Degas's famous sculpture.
A fictionalized account of the early life of Charles Darwin, narrated by Charley himself.
Mozart's talented sister, Nannerl, struggles to achieve life she deserves--in music as well as in love.
Contemporary YA
Four characters, four big issues, four compelling stories: BECAUSE OF LISSA; THE PROBLEM WITH SIDNEY; GILLIAN'S CHOICE; THE TWO FACES OF ADAM

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