A twist of fate.

Throughout the process of plotting Extracurricular, I wanted each scene to be a bittersweet twist of fate. If it were put on a timeline, the first twist occurs in Chapter Two, during an SAT test. Appropriate, wouldn’t you say, since the plot involves a college admissions cheating scandal? If you’re wondering if there is also aContinue reading “A twist of fate.”

When plotting, I walk—and talk.

I write daily. I must. Creators—painters, photographers, musicians, and writers too—are like athletes: to keep in the game, you must stay fit. In order to strengthen our plots and dig deep into our characters, authors have to stretch their minds. We can’t do this by sitting in front of a computer for five to eightContinue reading “When plotting, I walk—and talk.”

Why Authors Choose to Self-Publish

Most authors walk a financial tightrope.  Hey, don't take my word for it. In a September 2015 an article on a recent Authors Guild survey of its members' incomes,  Publishers Weekly put it this way:   Yikes. Thank goodness for self-publishing. It saved my career, and those of many other authors I know. Even with four novels (one optioned forContinue reading “Why Authors Choose to Self-Publish”

My NaNoWriMo Tips!

A tip a day keeps you scribblin' away. Okay, not exactly a great line, but it gets the point across. And as my tips say here, "I'll edit on the back end." And so will you–but first things first Every day through November, I've been supporting those participating in National Novel Writing Month by launching posts on creativeContinue reading “My NaNoWriMo Tips!”

Join me at Screenwriters World Conference 2013!

BOOT CAMP: ANATOMY OF A NOVEL BECOMING A TV PILOT Instructors: Josie Brown and Laurie Scheer WHEN: Friday September 27, 2013 / 1-4pm  WHERE: 2013 Screenwriters World Conference West Hyatt Regency Century Plaza2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067 FEE:   $149 (Boot Camp Only; See Below for FULL Attendance Packages)   Game of Thrones. True Blood. Silver. BoredContinue reading “Join me at Screenwriters World Conference 2013!”

Join me at Pitchfest!

Hey, if it happened to F. Scott Fitzgerald, it can happen to you. One of America's most celebrated authors died penniless, his greatest opus, The Great Gatsby, nearly forgotten… Except by Hollywood. Since his death, his book,  has been adapted for the screen an extraordinary five times. It's also been an opera, a ballet, aContinue reading “Join me at Pitchfest!”

My NaNoWriMo Tip #15 is on authors sabotage their writing, and their careers.

It's NaNoWriMo Month! (National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…) For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you.  Here's Tip #15, for Thursday, the 15th… The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too. Here's to yourContinue reading “My NaNoWriMo Tip #15 is on authors sabotage their writing, and their careers.”

An excerpt, not my own: the poetic prose of Proust.

These passage, about the power of fiction, comes from Swann's Way, the first volume of French novelist Marcel Proust's epic masterwork, In Search of Lost Time. It is voiced by his narrator, a young Marcel, while sitting in a garden at his parents country estate, outside the small French town of Combray. This long passageContinue reading “An excerpt, not my own: the poetic prose of Proust.”

NaNoWriMo Tip #11: Reach out to other authors. Here’s how.

I got a very sweet email from a reader once, who asked if I could go to an online post where her sister had written a book, read it, and give her encouragement. I have a sister. If I weren’t already published, I could see her wanting to help me in this way. I hadContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #11: Reach out to other authors. Here’s how.”

This Saturday, take my writers’ workshop in Sacramento…

Here are the deets. Hope to see you there! — Josie Sat May 19, 2012 / 9am check-in / Ends at 12 noonSACRAMENTO, CA  Sacramento Valley Rose Romance Writers ChapterHoliday Inn Rancho Cordova11269 Point East Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742 Josie's Workshop: "“Your First Scene, Line, Paragraph: Making a Great First Impression” If you’re goingContinue reading “This Saturday, take my writers’ workshop in Sacramento…”

Hooray for Hollywood….

I love the Southland. Warm, dry heat. Palm fronds waving lazily in the breeze. The inevitable celebrity sighting. "Is that….Nah! Can't be! Too  (fill in the blank: tiny/old/young/fat/doesn't look anything like the fantasy I had in mind)…" I'll be making my way to Los Angeles this weekend, where I'll be hosted by the Los AngelesContinue reading “Hooray for Hollywood….”

What writers should do when they are in the 99% (of publishing’s many norms): stay in the game.

Because of a very fortunate turn of events this year in my writing career, I was asked to speak to other authors who had been my support system in the ups and downs of my 7-year career: the San Francisco chapter of the Romance Writers of America. This group is filled with an even mixContinue reading “What writers should do when they are in the 99% (of publishing’s many norms): stay in the game.”

NaNoWriMo Tip #22: If your dialogue doesn’t match the character, fix it. Now!

  Most novelists have several characters walking around in their heads at any given time. Sadly, not all authors take the time to bring these wonderful imaginary people to life. Where they fail most often is in the words they put in their characters’ mouths. If all of your characters sound alike to you and toContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #22: If your dialogue doesn’t match the character, fix it. Now!”

NaNoWriMo Tip #25: Do you really need a literary agent? Maybe. Here’s when.

 via GIFER   Now that National Novel Writing Monthis almost over and your novel seems so real to you (50,000 words will do that, right?) you must also be thinking about how your book will find readers. Traditionally, you’d be tossed onto a publishing editor’s slush pile and pray to be discovered. With theContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #25: Do you really need a literary agent? Maybe. Here’s when.”

NaNoWriMo Tip #28: Here’s what to do to keep your story from being a turkey.

Over Thanksgiving weekend–yep, NOW!–the pull of family, friends and great food will lull you away from your daily NaNoWriMo goal of 1,350 words or thereabouts. The more diligent writers will do what they can to double up on their daily word count prior to this holiday. But if you’re actually in charge of the feedingContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #28: Here’s what to do to keep your story from being a turkey.”

NaNoWriMo Tip #24: It’s not what you mean, but how you phrase it.

I am from the South, where politeness is an art form. There, merely saying “Good morning” is a curt form of communication. Instead, conversations are dressed up with additional gracious phrases, such as “Looks like it’ll be another hot one…” or “That dress certainly becomes you.” These comments may be spoken prose, but the picturesContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #24: It’s not what you mean, but how you phrase it.”

NaNoWriMo Tip #21: Every word counts. Here’s why.

via GIFER   The most chilling scene in the movie based on Stephen King’s novel, The Shining, is when the heroine, Shelley Duvall, discovers that all the days her husband, Jack Nicholson, has spent supposedly working on his novel were in fact spent writing the phrase  “all work and no play makes Jack a dullContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #21: Every word counts. Here’s why.”

NaNoWriMo Tip #20: Write the way George Clooney acts: with confidence.

via GIFER I consider self-sabotage one of the biggest issues facing any aspiring novelist, especially during National Novel Writing Month, when so many others are posting online their daily word count triumphs– While others are falling short, or perhaps haven’t had the time to write at all that day. Talk about discouraging. Writing a novelContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #20: Write the way George Clooney acts: with confidence.”

NaNoWriMo Tip #19: Scene needs a rewrite? Change the point-of-view.

via GIFER   Sometimes while working on your novel — perhaps several hours into your work day — it becomes obvious that a particular scene just isn’t working out. You’ve changed the starting point and the dialogue, and that didn’t help. You’ve even added a character or two, and noticed that the only effect itContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #19: Scene needs a rewrite? Change the point-of-view.”

NaNoWriMo Tip #14: Is writing a craft, or an art?

It’s a trick question: creative writing is both a craft and an art. Those who master the “craft” part have taken the time and effort to hone the skills needed in order to push out the words in a timely fashion (just as you are doing throughout National Novel Writing Month). They use proper grammarContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Tip #14: Is writing a craft, or an art?”

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