Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Through-line Train

Have you read or heard about the through-line? defines it as “a theme or idea that runs from the beginning to the end of a book, film, etc.”

Up until recently, I hadn't heard of this through-line, so I did some research. It seems that the through-line is used a lot by those involved with screenwriting and movie making. The through-line of a script is the journey from the beginning of the story to the end. It is the main premise that pulls the story through all of the obstacles that the protagonist faces along the way. The driving force of the plot. Think of a train leaving point A and traveling to point Z. It may stop along the trip, but it doesn’t derail if all goes well. The main character or protagonist on this train journeys through the story. The driving force of the story is always clear. Kind of a cool image, don’t you think? This is helpful for someone like me who has a tendency to get off track and wander (dare I say ramble?) at times when I'm writing.

I’m betting that considering the through-line will keep me more focused as I write and as I read. How about you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reading Versus Listening

A few days ago, I was with a three other authors answering questions about books and writing at a local bookstore. Big fun, of course. I love hearing the variety of different answers and opinions. Anyway, a teacher in the audience asked each of us to share what we were reading. Many of the authors admitted to listening to books rather than reading them. Wow, I thought, what am I missing? The truth is, I can’t get into audio books. Believe me, I’ve tried. For me, there is something engaging about holding a book or an e-reader and letting my eyes scan the text. I zone out when listening to a book. I guess I can’t get into a story unless my eyes are playing along with my brain, but it would be great if I could lose myself in a novel while driving or exercising or doing some chore that insists on getting done, or after a long day of staring at a computer screen.

How about you? Do you ever listen to books? What are your thoughts and opinions on audio books. Do you ever prefer listening to a story rather than reading it? Do tell. : )

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Snip-Snip Here, Snip-Snip There

Worn out, but satisfied with the latest manuscript, I sent it to my agent, happily a guy who critiques the work of his clients. As I handed this package to the USPS clerk, I took comfort in the fact that I couldn't think of anything more that I could do with this story. The time had come for Mr Agent’s review.

That day I made an appointment to get my hair trimmed. As with the novel, there was not much else I could do with my mane. In my obsession to get the work in progress done, I’d put off a hair appointment for too long.

Two weeks later, I return home with my hair cut to an email from my agent. Hurray and phew, he gave the novel his seal of approval, but he suggested that I do a bit of trimming.

At first I wondered What to cut? and What if I lobe off too much? Funny, these were the same thoughts I had about my hair. As with my locks, though, I realized that cutting was a necessity, not an option. So, I sharpened my tools and opened up the novel file. I started to read, I started to snip. And snip. A light trim here, surgery there. By the time I finished, my novel had lost weight. It gained flow and body. Sort of like my hair after it had been hacked. That's when I realized that although cutting can sometimes be scary, it is often necessary.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Random Bits of Information

I have a bunch of random stuff to share with you today.

First of all, a big CONGRATULATIONS to Sabrina! She has won a copy of Moon Over Manifest by commenting on last week’s blog post. Hurray! I love giving away books. Thank you, everyone, for all the great comments, as always.

Next, I want to share a great place to have bookmarks made. I’ve had a horrible time finding a vendor to create and print the kind of bookmarks I envisioned for Dog Gone and Buck Fever. I’ll just say that I kept getting sort of lackluster designs and less than impressive quality for ridiculous amounts of funds. I ran into huge headaches trying to order online, as well. Recently, another author in Kidlit Authors Club recommended ( ). Kelley at Iconix was amazing, the process was easy, and I have new, beautiful bookmarks on the way for an impressive price. I am beyond thrilled and ever so grateful. If you ever need bookmarks designed and printed, consider contacting Kelley at

In other news, if you happen to be in the Philadelphia area this coming weekend (April 9th and 10th), some of the authors from the KidLit Authors Club ( ) will be at Big Blue Marble Books for the Mt. Airy Kids' Literary Festival. I’ll be there on Saturday

morning (11 A.M.), reading from Buck Fever and signing books.

Next week some of the gang from the KidLit Authors Club (including me) will be at the Springfield, N.J. Barnes and Noble Educator Event on Tuesday afternoon and then at the Paramus, N.J. Barnes and Noble Educator Event on Wednesday afternoon. Lots of fun, I promise.

Last but not least, some of us will be at the Clark Public Library in Clark, N.J. at 2 P.M. on Sunday, April 17th. Again, if you’re in the area, stop by! We’ll be reading from our books, giving away goodies, and generally sharing the love of reading and writing. It is beyond wonderful to be able to promote with such talented and genuinely nice authors.

Okay, that’s all for now. Tell me, what’s going on with you?