Writing With Intention is a lot Like Chicken Piccata

February 12, 2016

chicken piccata

Writing with in intention is what keeps a storyline moving in a forward direction. What do I mean by that? It means that you’ve defined exactly what you want/need to say in any particular chapter. It means that you know the elements/scenes that will keep your story moving in a forward direction. This is what separates a great story from one filled with aimless fluff.

Think of it as following a recipe. (Not my recipies – god help us all – but real people who actually know how to cook without calling the fire department) Let’s say you’re cooking chicken piccata – a dish that I actually cook really well (after many do-overs).

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

1 chopped onion
Garlic
Chicken breasts
Olive oil
Flour
Butter
¼ cup sherry
3 tbs. lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock
Parsley
Capers

Directions

  • Saute onion until just tender – set aside
  • Dredge thoroughly beaten-the-sh*t-out-of-the chickie through flour, and lightly brown on both sides in butter, set aside
  • Add onion and garlic
  • Over high heat, add broth, sherry, and lemon
  • Let thicken
  • Take a little of the juice out and mix with a little flour
  • Pour into sauce and allow to thicken
  • Add chicken
  • Serve over noodles or spaetzle

Easy and straightforward. What you don’t see in the recipe are the copious amounts of wine I drank when I burned the first batch of chicken. You don’t see me pondering whether this would be a good time to order Chinese take-out. You also don’t see me cutting up the burned chicken and feeding it to the dogs.

Why? Because it doesn’t have anything to do with the recipe. It’s filler at this point. A recipe is writing with intent. It’s an outline to keep you on track. The ingredients are the essential elements that make up your story. The directions are the outline. The ingredients and directions support each other. They have to. If they don’t, then you’re writing without intent, and going free-range.

Now let’s re-title the recipe to Pricey’s Hapless Adventure With Chicken Piccata. Because  the title, ingredients, and directions are clearly set, it’s easy to write about the burning of the chicken, considering Chinese take-out, and feeding the dogs, because it’s forward movement and supports the ingredients and directions…and the overall theme of Pricey’s Hapless Adventure With Chicken Piccata.

You have to ask yourself with each new chapter, “What do I want to say and do these scenes support the overall theme of Pricey’s Hapless Adventure With Chicken Piccata?” If not, readers will throw your recipe across the room and say naughty things about you.

In short, the boundaries need to be clearly marked so you don’t go outside of them. How can you do this? Well, let’s say in the example above I include some scenes about taking a phone call from an author excoriating me because I didn’t give them a reason for rejecting their manuscript (really happened). This has nothing to do with Pricey’s Hapless Adventure With Chicken Piccata, so the story loses its forward movement.

If I include copious scenes about how it snowed and I nearly took a header off the porch stairs; how a huge tree branch fell in during high winds; how The Rescues insisted en masse that 13 degrees was far too cold to go outside – now I’ve lost all cohesiveness to Pricey’s Hapless Adventure With Chicken Piccata because these scenes have zero to do with the subject matter.

So you can see that writing with intent is vital to keeping your story cohesive, moving forward, and sticking with the theme. If Pricey’s Hapless Adventure With Chicken Piccata has almost zero to do with the elements of an adventure while cooking, then you know you’re out of your zipcode.

Write with intent. Be brilliant!


Love Me New Authors-Hello, Kristin Adams!

February 8, 2016
2016-02-08 08.58.38

Sorels = Snowing

I love wearing my Sorels because it means it’s snowing outside. Being a native Californian, I haven’t lost my press-my-nose-against-the-window excitement when the white stuff comes tumbling down. When it’s snowing outside, it means that I’m editing with a song in my heart – because there’s nothing better to me than hunkering down in my Batcave, candles lit, space heater a-blowin’, and me with my bloody red editing pen all fired up. It’s my personal Nirvana.

Frightful-book-kindle

So what am I working on (me and my Sorels)? A beautiful new manuscript written by Seattle author, Kristin Adams, called FRIGHTFUL: The Incredible Bond Between an Autistic Boy and His Chicken.

But wait, this book has more amazing twists than Lombard Street. Alex is deathly ill and he can’t properly communicate to doctors to tell anyone what’s going inside his tortured body. Only Frightful can fill the void, and it’s this inconceivable friendship that helps doctors understand what’s going on and how to successfully treat Alex.

This dramatic survival narrative blew my doors off because it’s such a race against time to keep this precious boy from dying…and it all rests on Frightful’s feathery shoulders.

You’re gonna hafta wait until November to read this fascinating story, but you can check it out (and put it on your MUST READ list) here on our website.

So that’s what my cold and snowy day is all about. How’s your day going?

 


When Life Goes to the Dogs, Read

February 5, 2016

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It’s been a wild and wooly month of January…and I’m not sorry to see it go. The saving grace was getting to see my little granddaughter being born. I remember having my babies and falling in love the minute the doc put each of them on my chest. Same thing happened here. Instant love. Such a cutie pie.

But things went to the dogs when my son called New Year’s Eve telling me he’d shattered a vertebrae and required emergency surgery. Blessedly, he wasn’t paralyzed, and, in fact, the docs told him it was divine intervention. It’s every parent’s nightmare. He ended up needing two emergency surgeries, and is now working very hard to re-learn how to walk and work through the pain.

Through all these vast swings in emotions, the only thing that kept me sane was diving into a good book. In fact, I tore through three good books.

Now that I’m finally home and back in the office and my editing duties have resumed, my ability to lose myself in other good books has been reined in. So if you find yourself experiencing life going to the dogs, grab a book…preferably any one of our amazing books (because they make you feel amazing). I guarantee you’ll feel like your soul will feel like it’s been through the spin and rinse cycle, and you’ll feel invigorated for having hurled yourself out of your own drama and into someone else’s.

Go. Read.


Call Me Old-Fashioned…

December 27, 2015

…but the Oxford comma exists to clarify.

oxfordcomma12-27

and here’s why:

oxford comma


Gonna Need to do Some Redecorating…

December 22, 2015

…but I really want these…except with all our wonderful Behler books. Go take a look and see what I mean!

book stairs


Judge Ye Not…Oh Hell, Go For It

December 19, 2015

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Open Book, An Imagination Unleashed

December 19, 2015

Every time I read a book or review a manuscript, I am constantly humbled at the writer’s ability to take my mind elsewhere – into their world. That’s why I adore our authors. Whether they take me to the cockpit of a big-ass plane or a brave young teen meeting her father for the first time, my surroundings always disappear. If you love true stories of bravery, where the easy path isn’t taken, then our books will flip up your Victoria Secrets (or BVDs)

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