Home    |     Bio    |     Books    |     DBAW Tour    |     News    |     Press    |     Events    |     Contact

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Author Q&A: what to write & secret discoveries

Thanks for sticking with me through the writing days, everyone! I've started a third novel...it's so new that I don't even really know the main character yet, but I do know something about the story. Here's what I wrote about it to a friend:

Four voices. Four terrible secrets. One explosive murder that will change their lives forever...

Eek, it feels like such a committment, even writing that. I appreciate the encouragement!

In the meantime, I'll continue with another installment of reader questions...

Angelina C. Hansen would like to know, "How do you decide which story idea to pursue?"

I happen to know this question is coming from a very talented writer who overflows with good ideas!

For me, it's a question of passion. Which story has the most juice? Which character do I want to spend the next year of my life on? Which plot is coming alive in my thoughts? Sometimes this isn't an easy choice, so at that point it's not a bad idea to seek the advice of friends who know you, who know your work, and who want to see you succeed. That doesn't mean time spent on a story is wasted, though, if you ultimately choose a different path. I think we learn as we go, and sometimes the circuitous route is the most fruitful one in the long term. Just getting writing on the page is a step in the right direction.

I wrote an article all about Creative Paralysis (a.k.a. being stuck with too many ideas). I hope it's helpful!

Dani asks, "What did you learn about writing between your first book and your second book?"

I was very hard on myself while writing Tell Me a Secret—perhaps because it was a very intense novel to write. The hounds of doubt were always biting at my heels. For Don't Breathe a Word (intense in different ways), I discovered the timer, set in 15 minute increments, is a wonderful device for outrunning the internal critic. Really, though, I had to stop giving power to those doubts.

If you struggle with the same thing in your writing, don't believe the lies! My friends Randy Powell and Kirby Larson say, "Write through the bad stuff," and that's one of the best pieces of writing advice I know.


  1. yay happy the new story is coming along... or starting too! Love Tell Me a Secret by the way. It was the first book I read after coming out of sort of a reading drought. Thanks!

  2. Thank you, Liana, what a nice thing to say! I'm happy you stopped by. :)

  3. Thanks for the tips, Holly, you are SO SWEET! Hope the writing is going fabulously. Look forward to catching up sometime soon.

  4. You are welcome, Angelina! And likewise, I hope your writing is going swimmingly!