Some Good Advice from a Colleague


I had the opportunity to talk this week with Heidi Willis, author of Some Kind of Normal, a marvelous book with one of the most memorable characters in recent literature. I recommend it highly: it’s available in all the usual places. Heidi just completed an advanced degree in writing and has many wise and thoughtful insights into writing.

I was about 90% of the way into my sequel, On Eagle Wings Upborne and got stuck. I knew how I wanted it to end, but I couldn’t see a way from where I was to the ending scene. I have written this book starting at the beginning and going to the end. With On Wings of the Morning, I wrote a battle scene from the middle of the book, and then went back and worked alternatively on the first half and the second half, as sort of both ends against the middle approach, if you will. This worked well as far as keeping me interested and going, although I did have some problems making details in the story consistent. I worked them out, and the manuscript is at a couple of publishers awaiting their decisions on it (maybe by the end of August).

My question for Heidi was this: if I’m stuck at a point in a novel, is it a good idea to skip to  a part that is easier to write? Her answer was emphatic and just what I needed to hear: work on any part that you find interesting, that is calling you, in a sense.

As it turned out, I got going on the part where I stopped and am working on that now. The ending I know, in general outline. I’ll get that done a couple of weeks from now, and then it’s on to revision.
I’ve found other local writers to be knowledgeable and helpful and willing to provide support and encouragement as needed. So, thank you, Heidi, for the good advice, for the encouragement, and for being a writerly friend. May your tribe (and readers) increase!


About huckfinn47

I taught high school English for 32 years, all at Robinson High School in Fairfax, VA. My students called me "Mr. V," and I was fortunate to have some terrific young people in my classes. I have made contact with some of them, particularly on Facebook, and enjoy seeing what they're up to. My other nickname, given to me by our then assistant pastor Jim Vaught, is Lieutenant Dan, after the Gary Sinise character in Forrest Gump, one of my favorite movies. I never got anywhere near military service, so the name is somewhat ironic. I greatly admire our troops and respect their sacrifices. On the Wings of Morning is my first novel worth talking about.
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2 Responses to Some Good Advice from a Colleague

  1. It’s good advice, and bears repeating and hearing again quite often! Thanks for the reminder.

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