Warning!

I do not read work written by new writers because again, I'm not an editor and I would never get my own work done. I would be inundated. Been here before... I comment. Writer makes changes. Sends it back: Now what do you think Ms. McMillan? It can go on and on and on. This is why I can't and don't. I did the legwork back in 1986: before the Internet!

I am not an agent either. For all of you who keep asking when, where and how to submit your work: if you've spent time writing a novel you should be able to figure out the answer to this question. Everything is on the Internet. You should know how to get an agent, and how to submit your work. Look it up! However, under no circumstances should you submit your book directly to a publisher.

Have a deluxe day. Hopefully, some of these ideas will keep you busy! Whatever you do, DO NOT go back and start editing something you've already written. IF ANYTHING: RETYPE FROM THE BEGINNING!!! YOU WILL BE SURPRISED AT WHAT HAPPENS!

As seen on Facebook!

On writing:
Try writing a scene where your character is having a hard time explaining something. (This is a great exercise!) You'll be surprised what you will learn about your character. And who she's explaining it to is equally as important.

On writing:
A novel IS fiction. No such thing as a fictional novel. Yes a novel can be too long but it has a lot to do with what doesn't happen versus what does.

On writing:
Write about something your character did that went wrong. And they regret it. It could be something that happened this morning or last year. Whenever. Who else knows about it? Was someone a victim? Why does it still haunt your character?

On writing:
One way to tell a deeper truth is to alter how something happened. Change the facts. The characters. The setting. Change everything except the truth of the experience. Capture the conflict.

On writing:
Beginning writers often think because something really happened that it makes it more plausible. It doesn't. It's usually not as compelling as lying about how it happened. In other words: embellish, slant, make it crooked on the page. Tell it backwards. Fiction is not a reenactment of reality. It's an exaggeration of it.

On writing:
I almost always write about people I don't understand. Writing gives me a forum in which to try. It usually works, too. Rarely do I write about people I adore.

On writing:
Think of someone you dislike. A lot. Someone you would like to slap or tell them about themselves. Then write something from their point of view. Something that might help you understand them better.

Put your brain in prison when you're writing a draft. When the critic looks over your shoulder and tells you that what you're writing is terrible, slap him/her unconscious. You've got plenty of time to agree later but when you will discover is the pulse and pulp of your story somewhere in the muck. It's a good feeling.

Catch: You have to start from scratch. There are no excuses for not writing. Get up earlier. Go to bed later. Whatever works. Sometimes quantity is what you're after NOT quality. Write from your heart and gut. Your ...brain comes into play on the next go' round.

On writing:
Showing your character at work is BORING. I don't care what they do. Unless their place of employ is a source of conflict. Watching someone at work is like watching paint dry.

On writing:
Readers LOVE reading stories where they get a peek into a world they know little about. If you have knowledge of some type of interesting subject, use it, exploit it, but don't ram it down your readers' throat. Or, pick something you've always wanted to know about and infuse it into your story: give it to your character.

On Reading:
Try to pay close attention to what points of view other writers employ when telling their story. It's a decision they made. And it's an important one. It shouldn't be arbitrary. Read the openings of some of your favorite novels. Whatever the POV, imagine it differently.

On writing:
3rd Person Omniscient. The narrator is everywhere. Can see everything (not from any particular character's eyes or p.o.v.). It's more like reporting what's happening and what they see. A lot of classic writers used this technique. I find it distancing and sterile, though it doesn't have to be if you're skillful.

On writing:
3rd Person Personal. Sounds a lot like first person except uses he/she (or their name) but it reads like the reader is seeing it from the characters POV although you're not using "I". Writer or narrator can move from one character to another easily, get inside everyone's head. Can (like 1st person) only assume what others are thinking.

On writing:
First person is using "I" (of course). Limitations: Character can't know what others are thinking. They can't die. They can only be where they are, nowhere else! I LOVE 1st person. Characters flaws are easier to see, they appear more human but it feels more like you're inside their head. Intimate. See through their eyes.

You can't change/switch your point of view once it's been established. It's confusing and doesn't make sense. Flare is the last thing you should be trying to accomplish. Throw that word in the trash. I don't care what you're writing. And what up and coming events? How do you know them already? There's a danger in having too much planned and sorted out. Really.

You can have multiple characters all speaking or telling their story in first person. You just need to identify them for the reader, otherwise they might all sound alike, or it could make for confusion: who's voice is this? Unless you know what you're doing, I would hold off using this device. But who am I?
IMPORTANT: A reader ALWAYS needs to know whose story this is. Who's point of view are we seeing this story from. It's crucial to how your story is being told.

On writing:
Try writing a scene from three different points of view: first person, third person (personal) and third person (omniscient). Know the difference between them, right? Not enough space for me to show here. I have to figure out how to best do this. They give you 250 characters.

On writing:
Oakley Hall says of fiction that it is "a process of change, and the heart of interior change is discovery or recognition, the revelation of something not comprended before." It could be considered an ephiphany, but in good fiction, it's grounded in action. Remember this. In film, it would be considered th...e "arc" of the story. It's a turning point.

On writing:
A character makes a choice we did not expect and a reader should be able to see that there was no other choice they could have made.

On writing:
You should know the rules in order to break them.

If today was not a productive day don't beat yourself to death over it. Wake up tomorrow and start from there. Try it. It works. We can't go back. We can only go forward. Let's go!

On writing:
Cruising the Internet doesn't count as writing. Neither does answering e-mail. Before you check Twitter & FB and do other similar tasks that get in the way of writing, write first. (I really need to take my own advice here!)

On writing:
Remember to put your heart into this. Pretend like you're sharing a secret you just had to tell. Everyone will be the better for it. No harm done. Or will it? Hope not.

On writing:
Some folks who write who-dunits, fantasy, science-fiction -- and dare I say "urban" (my least favorite genre of them all) some "rules" we've been talking about don't necessarily apply. You might have to rely on another source.

On writing:
If you write fast, as if no one will ever read it, it will be honest and raw. This comes from your gut/heart/soul. The brain edits.

On writing:
The best part of writing for me is telling the story. Finding the center. Living inside of it.

On writing:
The beauty of waiting to revise or rewrite something you've written is that you come back to it with fresh eyes, almost like a reader. You can see what's there that works, what doesn't, and often what's missing. Hard to see this when it's hot off the press. Too close to it.

On writing:
I've still got my same raggedy pages sitting on an acrylic shelf. Gathering dust. But I stopped at a crucial place, in the middle of a sentence, no less. Sometimes, I delete the entire manuscript and start "re-typing" from scratch. Amazing how many changes you make when you do this. The writing is often richer. Pass over triteness. Try it!

On writing:
These days, seems like everybody wants to be a writer.Some because they think they have things figured out instead of trying to figure it out.

On writing:
If mathematicians already knew the answer to the problem, why bother? Same with writing. It's an inquiry, about probing, doubts.

On writing:
Writing is also a way of videotaping our behavior, not commenting on it.

On writing:
Whatever you write should lead to a higher level of understanding. If you've already got it figured out, it's a waste of time.

On writing:
In writing fiction, nobody really cares what you think. That's non-fiction.

On writing:
A lot of young writers think they have "something to say," which is the same as commentary. Fiction isn't rhetoric. Characters aren't puppets.

On writing:
I write to make sense of things that bother me. Sometimes, acknowledging them helps. A lot of folks run. Sometimes you can write through the pain and the angst. Come out on the other side of it.

On writing:
For me writing is a form of praying on paper. Of acknowledging unfulfilled wishes. Of taking photographs of our behavior. Even when it's ugly. Especially when it's ugly.

On writing:
"A scene captured by a photographer is not so much about the scene as it is about the vision and perspective of the photographer." (Gail Sher) Same holds true for writers. It's not WHAT your character sees or feels, but how. Capture that.

On writing:
One of the best ways to see yourself is through someone else's eyes. Many of us are good at seeing fault in others, but rarely ourselves. Writing is a way to begin to come clean and acknowledge our flaws, shortcomings and strengths, etc. It's a great pathway towards growth.

On writing:
There are two sides to every story. Sometimes three. Or four. Or ?? Someone is crossing the street and gets hit by a car. The person is wearing a red jacket and blue jeans. Has on a black baseball hat. Your character was sitting in a restaurant with his/her boyfriend/girlfriend, mother, teenage son, and an...other friend. They each saw it happen. Describe what each saw to the policeman.