My ‘ah-ha’ moment came this week. It’s really not that momentous but, well, yeah, it is. I had decided to stop work on a middle grade mystery that is a favorite. I love the character, I love the plot, I love the pacing. The problem is that I cannot pitch this story….I can not get it down to just a few sentences and describe the plot. So after all these online programs I decided it was time to put that character and her story to the side and concentrate on a story I was able to pitch. I could identify needs and wants. I got the physical and emotional. I had the pacing of the story. I was SOOOOO GOOD!


One online program that dealt with first lines/paragraphs/chapters. One earlier editorial critique that mentioned my character–actually the one I have dispatched to the lower drawers for a time out–needed a twist, a something that made her unique, different and, well, there is no denying it, a hook that gave this character a personality. Another one talked about using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to push the character’s action as well as emotions.

I have an upcoming online program on revision with the invaluable Emma Dryden and one with Donald Maass on secrets and mysteries. And that is exactly where I am…revising a story I also love. But to love it more the main character’s needs and wants should be woven into a better mystery.

That’s my goal. And I’ve got this. The good news is that I KNOW this story. I have worked it and reworked it to a very competent mystery with rising action and the failure of success being compounded until the main character has no choice but to act and to act alone. The Ah-Ha is how she gets there. I am excited. This will be the toughest revision I have ever worked on. I am working deep in the mechanics of the story and revising the nuts and bolts. But I feel like we’ve got this, Pouvey and me. Together we may just get her story out there.

Got a comment? That’s fine. Be nice. No flaming.