Life, the Universe, and Try/Fail Cycles

Plot Line Graph by Wendell Wellman

Plot Line Graph by Wendell Wellman

Inciting Incident

Our career minded heroine, a single mother, decides to prepare for the next step up the corporate ladder by making herself more marketable. She realizes that she has the skills and experience, but lacks the education. While researching business degrees and IT certifications she suddenly realizes that she has no desire to complete said education, or even to continue in her career track. Upon introspection, she realizes that her dream of being a writer, thought dead at age 13, has never really left her. She decides to dedicate herself to writing.

First Turning Point

Our heroine discovers Nanowrimo. Her thoughts are filled with the tantalizing idea of writing her first novel in only 30 days. She knows that it can’t be that easy, but she is determined to try. She has had a story idea bouncing in her head for 10 years, and decides to make it a book. In a frenzy of information overload she reads 12 books on writing in a month, and listens to nine seasons of the Writing Excuses podcast. She joins a writing group, and invests $300 to create her own website. She outlines her novel. She decides to start getting up at 4am each morning and write from 4-6 am.

Pinch Point One

After two weeks of getting up at 4am our heroine realizes that this strategy is not going to work. On the days she actually wakes up that early she is so tired that she only writes a few paragraphs. She becomes irritable, and frequently looses patience with her children who, at ages 3 and 5, do not understand what she is trying to do, or why it requires peace and quiet. She realizes that her writing time is not going to be able to come out of her sleep time if she wants to be able to function mentally and write. She begins taking time after work to write. They stakes rise when her children start to misbehave and throw tantrums because she has been paying them less attention. She books her son an appointment with a counselor.


Our heroine realizes that she is not going to obtain instant success in 30 days. She decides to keep trying to do Nanowrimo even though she is way behind on her word count. She decides to keep moving towards her goal of becoming a published author even though there aren’t shortcuts and this could take years. She also decides that obtaining this goal cannot come at the cost of her children’s well being. She will continue to write when she can. She decides to buy David Farland‘s online course, The Story Puzzle, and continue to hone her craft through the slow wonderful slog of practice. The midpoint of this story could last years, and, unlike the 3 act structure, will likely contain more than 3 try/fail cycles.

The rest of the 3 act structure will be determined as our heroine continues her journey.

Read More

2014 Nanowrimo Kickoff Party


I will be at AFK Tavern on Tuesday, October 28th at 4 PM for the 2014 Nanowrimo Kickoff Party for Snohomish county writers. Yes, that’s tomorrow. Come have a drink with me, and tell me all about your novel. I will be impressed, rapt, fascinated even. No, really. I recently joined a writing group called Writers Kickstart only a few weeks ago, and prior to that I have never met another aspiring author. I am excited to meet the writing community in my area.

Ideally, I’d love to find a writing buddy. Someone who can encourage me and keep me accountable, in person or online. I will happily return the favor. I will be found typing away at any number of coffee shops, cafes, and libraries spread throughout King and Snohomish counties. If you don’t have a writing group of your own, consider trying out the Writers Kickstart group. We meet at Haggens Foods in Snohomish every Tuesday at 6:30 PM. If you want to meet up with me online, this blog is the ideal location, but I can also be found at:

I can’t wait to meet you!


Read More

Nanowrimo Novel – Vessel of Souls

Its only 8 days until Nanowrimo officially kicks off, so I wanted to share with you the idea my novel Vessel of Souls will be based around. This has been kicking around in my head since 2004. Has it really been a decade? Talk about your idea gestational period! I wouldn’t have realized how old this was if I hadn’t drawn this picture and written the poem below around the idea:


Deep within the chamber lies
An empty girl with empty eyes
She sits upon an empty throne
In the dark, all alone

She’ll guard a land of war and strife
For all of her empty life
She watches as men’s lives are lost
And tallies up their empty cost

And deep within her empty shell
Lies the thrice damned gate to hell
This she guards with empty might
Hides from all mortal sight

Her magic runs wide and deep
And deep within her spirit sleeps
So that every empty day
She might keep evil at bay

Fate awaits us all in turn
The wicked are sure to burn
So men from every land bow down
And kiss the empty princess’ gown

Intriguing? Terrible? Maybe. All I know is it won’t get out of my head, so I’m going to tackle this in the month of November. Wish me luck on 50,000!


Read More