Keeping to the path

Dark wood

© Photo by Nancy Butts

Midway in the journey of our life
I came to myself in a dark wood,
For the straight way was lost.

[translation by Robert and Jean Hollander]

These opening lines of Dante’s Divine Comedy have special relevance for writers—one that is even more apparent in the translation which reads, “Midway through the story of our life.” When you are caught up in the adventure of writing your story, it is all too easy to wander off the path and lose your way. Characters ambush you, thematic will-o-the-wisps lure you astray to sink you in quicksand, plots run wild and trap you in thickets of thorn and poison ivy.

What I hope to do for waylaid writers is act as a scout through the wilderness of writing a book, leading you gently back to the path on which you wanted to travel all along. I see my job as that of a combination mindreader/mapmaker/navigator. I read your manuscript and try to figure out what your  vision of the story was when it was first born in your imagination. Then I map out a strategy to help you bring your vision to life in the pages of your book, guiding you every step of the way.

November 2015: I’m quoted in YA writer Christine Kohler’s post on the value of keeping an emotions journal over at the UncommonYA blog. And I’m almost exactly midway between recovering from one total knee replacement in late September and going in for the second one in early December. Just call me Hopalong!

July 2015: Fellow writer and ICL instructor Chris Eboch kindly allowed me to be the guest “expert” on POV in a chapter of her new book, You Can Write for Children. Check it out; you’ll recognize material from the first couple of articles in my web series on viewpoint. I am so honored and excited to be included.

[Please check out my non-fiction book, Spontaneous Combustion: A Writer’s Primer for Creative Revival. See My Books pages for more information.]

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