What defines an excellent chapter? What makes this particular chapter one of the best in my novel?

Chapter 23 just flowed out of me. I experienced some of the I can’t remember writing this phenomenon Holly describes in an email to HTRYN students. I didn’t struggle with my thoughts, with description, or with the death of a main character. I just saw it and wrote it.

The MC suffered her terrible loss with sorrow and dignity as a strong, sweet secondary character helped her to safety. I could see him so clearly; his outlines were bold, his bravery was understated, his strength and compassion tangible.  The chapter ended with a wonderful hook.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m writing science-fiction romance, a genre that can’t be taken too seriously. However, those characters at that particular time interacted seamlessly, with depth and clarity.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I only made a few changes. (Most of my chapters look like a bloody crime scene, splattered with red ink.)  And, it doesn’t break my heart that I have only four chapters to go in lesson seventeen.  As a spare writer, I struggle to add dimension to my world and my people and, in this chapter, I nailed it. I just hope after revision most of the novel will be this deep and rich.

So, I ask you brother and sister writers. What makes your chapters memorable?


Novel Writing Right on Time

Solstice Lavender

Yesterday, Earth tilted into another summer solstice, and I began year two with HTRYN. Wow!

Chapter 22 is poised for the grinder (Lesson Seventeen) and, while I know there is lots of work left, I’m moving through the tunnel of hard-core revision toward the bright light of almost finished land.

However, I’m not sneaking up on this goal alone. My husband, friends, and  writer’s group continue to shower me with enthusiasm for my novel even when I drag my feet, whine, and procrastinate.

A novel is a tremendous project, and  I was beginning to think I was taking too long until  I went to a talk given by author C.J. Box. When someone asked him the how long it took to write his first novel he gave us an ah, shucks ma’am grin and said, “Four years.” I heard my reader’s group gasp in dismay, but I was happy.

 I knew I was right on schedule.:)



I have to admit, I’m a geek.

My husband chipped in for my bigger screen monitor, and I’m waiting for its delivery like a kid waits for Christmas morning.

This thing is huge. Not as decadent as the 24″ and 27″ iMac screens at work, but it’s big. At 21 1/2 inches, I’ll will be able to see the Whole Word Page. I’ll be able to open two files at once, see them both, full size, real deal, OMG.

What a relief. For the last year, I’ve struggled with a 17″ Samsung screen. It works fine,  but my eyes are killing me. Also, believe it or not, I’m sneaking up on the last phase of final revision. Only nine chapters to go. The event horizon is in view, and now it will be real size, sexy and gorgeous.

And, this new monitor has speakers that, according to the reviews, aren’t great. Who cares? I’m sure they are better than the speakers that came with the tower.

But, one draw back. Beautiful screens like this lead to evil time-wasting. The lure of TV episodes has already wormed its way on to my iPod. Imagine how amazing True Blood and Game of Thrones will look on my new screen. (Now you know my guilty pleasure viewing habits.) And, heaven forbid, I could even become a gamer.


I have too much writing to do.