A Glance at the Midpoint

This week I will reach the midpoint of this manuscript. I just crossed 31,000 words and can see that moment coming closer with every sentence. 

The midpoint is one of my favorite moments to plot out because — if done well — it creates the hinge that opens up the rest of the book to run wild. 

The midpoint should do a few things:

  • Raise the stakes by introducing a new conflict, taking a win and making it a loss, upping the drama of an existing conflict. Or any manner of ways that takes the main character who just got comfy in the playground of the story and kicks them off the jungle gym.
  • Be at the middle. This sounds obvious but I have edited books where this moment was not in the right spot, though the instinct for this moment was there. 
  • Give the character an opportunity to change goals/question choices/generally reassess their unction in the story. 
  • Be a MOMENT akin to a climax but obviously one that cannot be resolved. The soggy middle exists when the midpoint is not a moment the reader recalls when retelling the story to our friends over Zoom cocktails. 
  • When in doubt, make the midpoint something that thwarts the main character’s goal in some crucial, but not utterly dire way. 

Pray for me as I edge in on my midpoint. It’s a doozy. 

Writing the Wrong Book

Okay, I know this can feel like a scary, touchy subject for writers to think about for long, but hear me out. I am *thisclose* to crossing the 25k word mark in this manuscript and I think it’s a fitting time to tell you that I wrote this book wrong at first. 

I wrote the whole thing. I revised it. I got feedback and it was nice, readers were enjoying it, they had thoughts, but ultimately nothing that was changing the way I was feeling about it which was…only okay. 

Here is the truth: We are never too good, smart or talented to write the wrong book first.

We might think we have to write it that way because on the surface it makes a whole lot of sense. Maybe we think it’s our brand, or we really WANT to write a certain kind of book because it’s something we like to read. Maybe we had an idea and we ran with it, but we were sprinting in the wrong direction for 70,000 words. 

And sometimes the book you wrote that was wrong, was good. Maybe even good enough. But not really truly YOU. 

The you component is what transforms a bunch of plot points into an unforgettable story. It’s what creates passion and unlocks imagination in a reader. It’s what actually makes the book “on brand” in the first place. 

I’m glad my agent could feel the lack of ME in the book and gently nudged me with her insight & great feedback toward the truth I wasn’t telling. Because the key to good story is getting to the honest truth. It’s dipping into the dark well inside you and finding the deep water hidden there. 

It’s okay to write the wrong book. And it sure feels good to bleed out the right one. 

.

.

Weekly reminder that I work with writers at all levels & stages! You can check out my creative services right here on my website. 🦄

Encourage Growth: Working with a Book Coach

Years ago I was a new writer, a young mom, & recently relocated to Texas after two years in Brooklyn. It was a lot of fresh change and a lot of feeling like treading water waiting to be tugged under. And then I saw this tweet by Nova Ren Suma that she was offering an online Young Adult writing workshop & I leapt at the opportunity to get feedback from her – a writer with an agent & a book deal, a book on shelves. Someone doing the thing I wanted to do.

I was still a raw talent in a lot of ways. Rough edged & not always actually good, but I had written a book & I wanted it to be the best it could be. In that workshop, I learned a lot about what was working in my pages, what wasn’t. I made friends with other writers, one in particular — a fellow screenwriter and YA lover, who was about to move out to LA. (She’s since, in the many many years that have passed, become one of my best friends & the co-author of my dreams.)

But I also got a teacher in Nova, someone I would work with many more times, who would encourage the seeds of my writing to grow. When I started working with writers a few years ago, the one thing I knew I wanted was to help cultivate the dreams & raw talent in my clients. This industry often does a lot of breaking those dreams down, tearing words to shreds, belittling burgeoning artists still learning. Rejection comes with the game, fear and failure are a constant.

But encouragement & good critique & guidance makes space for growth.

Today, one of my coaching clients told me she wanted to work with me forever. And, of course, I beamed, but I also dreamed for her in that moment. I hope one day she’ll have an agent in her corner & she won’t need to work with me anymore.

Because I know the pain of wanting something that still feels out of reach, & I know the work it takes to get there, & even though I can’t make anyone’s dream come true (not even my dreams, of which I have many) I can be a voice of hope, an encourager of story seeds, & a promoter of doing the work even when it’s hard and you fail. If you’re looking for a book coach, an editor, or eyes on your query, I’m taking on clients now and always. ✨

Make Big Moves

mug

Make big moves for your dreams.✨

This mug is a constant reminder that sometimes the moves we have to make for our dreams to come true are big, scary, wild, and wooly. In fact, in my experience they almost always are.

I know many of you following me are writers with a dream to one day see your words in print— whether that’s online or on paper.

I am opening to more creative coaching clients in June, which is something I have not done since last year.

I also know that many of you creatives are struggling to write your words right now. If that’s you, working with a coach might be just the thing you need to finish your projects hanging in limbo.

Please feel free to shoot me an email with any questions and check out my Creative Consulting page on this website for all the details!

Whatever you do today, and no matter what darkness looms around you, remember you are a light. You CAN & yes. You. Will.🦄

xo,

Rebekah

P.S. For the month of June I am offering 30% off all services, which is something I never do, and am so happy to offer right now.

Client Wins

gift
Client gifts are some of my favorite gifts because that means good news is on the way.🍾

Last week, one of my writers (yes, I am assembling a team of sparkling unbridled unicorns, and you can join them) had a big win on her road to publication.

My client, Rachel, landed her dream agent with her beautiful, heart-thumping adult fantasy, and I got the chance to be a part of her journey.

I gained a friend and colleague through my work with Rachel, but I also gained a gift I could never have expected. (No, not the bubbly featured here, although that is a gift I ADORE.)

This month two of my writers have landed agents within 11 days of each other, and as I celebrated with them, for them, about them, I realized something amazing:

I helped them make a dream come true.

They did the work, they wrote the book, but they chose to work with me and it paid off.

The win is THEIRS, but some of the joy is mine.

Because –

I HAVE BEEN IN THE TRENCHES.

I know the sting of rejection and the fear of failure all too well.

I’ve been agented and unagented.

I’ve written a book on Wattpad (that blew up, and keeps on going, going, going Energizer Bunny style) and I’ve written books that no one but my CPs will ever read.

I’ve found my Agent Person and started to make my own dreams come true in major ways.

And if I can help boost other writers from the trenches to reach their goals faster with less isolation and despair, then I want to do that for as many of them as I can. I will keep on doing it as long as I can.

There are two ways to work with me.

One-on-one, all-in, where I help you shape your story from the foundation up.

OR

The online course I created with the Six & Up CEO Academy (founded by my co-author extraordinaire Alexandra Grizinski & All-Around Biz Genius Jenny Beres) called Unlocking Creativity for Writers and Artists.

My writers are killing it. 🍾

My writers are the best humans around.💖

My writers are UNBRIDLED UNICORNS shooting for the stars.🦄

Here are the handy links:

Unlocking Creativity for Writers & Artists

The Six & Up CEO Academy

Unbridled Unicorn Creative Consulting

And, as always, feel free to send me a Voxer or shoot me an email if you have any questions!

Power’s Out

Yesterday the power went out, & dealing with the, okay, pretty tiny crisis in the grand scheme of crises, reminded me that my power is unlimited.

I had a plan for my day. I had made a list & was dutifully checking items off. Then, about fifteen minutes past 11 am, I heard a hollow, metallic crash. It sounded like an anvil had dropped. Was Wylie Coyote running along the telephone wire after the Roadrunner?

Our fans slowly spun to a stop. My son’s online video game froze & then kicked him out. With the outage went all cell signal, the internet, & the only method we had to stay cool on a day when the temperature would soon rise to over 100 degrees.

We left the house, searching for signal, & blasting the air conditioner in the car. We ended up at an outdoor café where we got frozen yogurt and a Styrofoam cup of water for our dogs. We dropped our son at an IHOP so he could go to his friend’s powered and air conditioned house.

We went to another outdoor café, covered by awnings and surrounded by foliage. I ordered Rose and chopped salad, the dogs got a to-go container of water. We worked using the nearby Barnes and Noble wi-fi.

The power was out all day.

We finally went home, gave up trying to get work done, gave up having cell signal, & jumped in the pool. My husband & I were like kids, joyously swimming, laughing, playing – we never get to do that, just us. We had a picnic in the shade of our yard & talked without interruption. The power never came back on.

picnic

We went to get our son and ended up staying for dinner. We booked a hotel because we were over the struggle with the power. The hotel was beautiful – the power finally returned. But while it had been out, my own power had slowly restored.

cat

Often we focus on the struggle. The drama and the toil, the annoyance that things aren’t the way we want them to be. We get impatient to check off our life-list.

Sometimes throwing out the list, and going along for the ride, is all you need to remember that you have power no one can take, unlimited potential, and a choice to enjoy the journey. Then the struggle becomes an adventure you’ll never forget.

 

STAY INSPIRED

Unlocking Creativity

One of the big things that comes up when I’m doing a creative consultation with my clients:

HOW do you stay inspired to create in the midst of work/parenting/the dumpster fire news cycle/INSERT HERE?

My answer varies based on what I know to be true about the person I’m talking to – because there is no prescriptive cure that works for everyone – but at the heart, I like to think there is one thing we can all benefit from hearing.

ON REPEAT.

Are you ready?

You have to honor your passion.

Whatever kind of creative you are – and I will argue that we are all SOME KIND OF CREATIVE – you will not get very far if you do not honor that thing inside you that wants to creative.

It’s a little impractical to say: You must write everyday. Many can’t, many don’t want to, many fall asleep on the couch with a bowl of ice cream balancing on their knees. This is ok, and I will never shame you for that. (Hi, I’ve done it.)

It is not productive to say: Make time for it. We make time for things we believe deserve it. We won’t make time if we don’t first learn to honor the thing. To revere our work (and I don’t mean the job you have to go to everyday) as just as valuable as every other thing – including binge worthy TV or reading that engrossing novel, playing the new video game, squeezing in your workout, or whatever.

It is unfair to say: Your kids/spouse/dog should understand you need time to create. They won’t if you don’t make sure YOU believe that first. That belief comes from honor, and you can’t honor something you don’t think you truly deserve. You can’t honor something you make excuses not to do.

Start with HONOR.

Start with shutting the door, turning off the TV, getting off social media, and not allowing anything out there vying for your attention to win.

Then do that over and over until it’s a habit. Until you have the book, the screenplay, the play, graphic novel, self-help guide, memoir crafted, honor and intention set.

xx,

R

P.S.To work with me for editorial and creative consulting, check out my creative consulting page or shoot me an email at anytime.

You decide when you’re ready to honor your passion.

Throwback Thursday

tt

Reading through old blogs is like getting a letter from past me. It’s simultaneously heartbreaking and full of hope.

Today, I’m going back to New York – but only in my mind.

Sometimes I think about living there and I swell with panic. I remember endless climbs from the subway carrying my two-year-old and a stroller. I remember the loneliness. I remember the disillusionment. I remember the bitter cold and the blistering heat.

Sometimes, though, I remember the pizza from 5th Avenue or the bagels from 9th. The picnics in Prospect Park and all the trees we climbed. The local bar, Rhythm & Booze, where I took my kid for dinner before it got too rowdy, where we waited out storms and we got midnight fries. The time I saw THE NUTCRACKER and had a martini at the Plaza. The time I was in the same room as Daniel Radcliffe.

Then I remember the most important part of all.

That I did it even though it terrified me, and if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am now. And none of it has been perfect, or easy, but it was right. And thank God it’s sunny here, that the flowers are blooming, and I have a pool – that I haven’t, and won’t, ever go backwards.

#TBT to this message from past me, and all the grace carrying each and every one of us through.

“There is a moment in the midst of the waiting, and crying — a moment in between public outbursts of anger and private laughter over pizza — that you realize the grace is holding. And it’s holding you. It’s holding your baby when he sleeps in his new bedroom. It’s holding the dog when he finds a spot on the floor in your empty house and takes a nap. It’s holding your parents and brothers and all those at home that you miss and miss you. It’s holding. The bottom hasn’t fallen out of your world. You’re just in a new world.”

Blooming

bloom

When I moved into my new house in LA, I wanted a yard full of poppies in springtime. A small thing, sure, but I could see it, and it was going to be glorious. Rows of sunset orange, tangerine, cream and dusty green. I bought seeds, put them in the fresh, damp ground — I expected them to grow.

As spring arrived, and the whole of California it seemed was bathed in that orange glow, my backyard filled up with green stalks. Rows and rows of green. Not a single blossom anywhere. I would walk outside, combing the —what really just looked like weeds at this point — green for the smallest sign of color.

And I was disappointed. I really wanted those flowers to bloom and they weren’t. Every time I saw a poppy on the roadside, or in my neighbor’s yard, it was a small reminder that my flowers might never bloom. It was hard to be happy for the rest of California when my yard was still poppy-free, and my expectations were totally dashed.

But, I didn’t pull up the green, even if it wasn’t what I hoped it would be. One day, maybe, there would be poppies in this garden, maybe I would get to see it, or maybe I would have moved on to some other house, some other garden, some other field of wildflowers waiting to bloom. One day, I would get my little sunset garden.

Sunday afternoon, while I was doing homework at the kitchen table with my son, my eyes traveled to the backyard, to all that wild green, and they caught on something.

Bright, vibrant, wide open, bathing in sunlight. A few perfect poppy flowers.

popp

When I look closely now, I see a multitude of blooms waiting to open up, promising me flowers for days, more than I even expected.

Expectations can create a false sense of urgency, they can push your patience into panic, your faith into fear. They can make you feel like everyone around you is getting the fields of wildflowers you hoped for, while you are getting green stalks of flowerless weeds. But patience pays off in time. Not pulling up the flowers you planted because they aren’t blooming yet, pays off, too.

Waiting for that warm Sunday, when the sun touches the garden just right, and the first little flower opens up, pays off in spades.

 

A Writer’s Journey

plane

I wrote my first novel during my then 2-year-old’s afternoon naps in my tiny living room in Brooklyn, NY. Writing it was a fever dream & I was consumed. I poured everything I could muster into it.

But I learned a lot writing that book over and over. I got close to signing with agents and met many of my core writing community during that time. I also learned how to let something go when the time was right.

I used the only guide I had as an early writer: the books I was falling in love with. I copied Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth, Maggie Stiefvater and Leigh Bardugo. I spent way too long revising. Like three years. I obsessed. I didn’t want to give it up.

I wrote another YA fantasy, & it was better because I was a much stronger writer then. I landed an agent & I went out on sub. I wanted the sale, and it never came. It was time to go back to the drawing board again.

I also kept writing screenplays. Then, thanks to a real life fangirl experience, I fell in love with Comic Con. I became deeply fascinated, rooted, to what it meant to be a fan. I wrote a screenplay set at Comic Con that was about grief & isolation & being alive.

I ended up submitting that script to Austin Film Fest & placing in the second round of the competition. I decided to write it as a book. I’d never written anything contemporary before, or this personal, or this truly, deeply completely ME. It was exhilarating.

During the writing of that book, we decided to move to LA, and then I decided to part ways with my agent. To go back into the query trenches was terror inducing, but staying where I was no longer felt right.

I began querying again in January 2017. I had a 100% request rate. It was a roller coaster of feels. And then it was nothing. After few reluctant passes, mostly silence, I felt powerless, & confused, & I was not doing great with it.

I started writing a book with my writing partner. For six months, we wrote ELLIE IS COOL NOW on Wattpad & I worked on a solo book in the background. Then ELLIE took off. We were nominated for the Watty Awards, and won! It was freeing, and empowering.

January 2nd, 2019 I decided to query five more agents. I decided that would be it. Whatever happened, it was well with my soul. I searched MSWL on Twitter, & that’s when I saw Devin Ross. I had a punch in my gut that I should to query her.

And then she requested. Then she emailed me less than a week later in the middle of the night to set up a call. I ran around the house. I punched the air. (& maybe my husband a few times from excitement.

She offered to represent me. She loved this thing I loved and wanted to work on it – wanted to work with me. It was exactly where I was supposed to be, a whole year later than I expected.

The journey we take as writers is a lot like the journey we take as people. We think we have a path we’re on, & that we know where it’s leading, what it will look like. We even think we know what we want. Then we learn: we don’t know, not a lick.

Your journey may be different. It might seem easy for me to say “Never give up” because so far that’s worked well for me. But it isn’t. There’s nothing easy about looking back. At any point I could have stopped – I DID stop even – & I might never have gotten back up.

Now I have to believe that book will sell (and sure, another will if not that one but that’s not the point) – I have to believe somewhere very near is my next yes, and somewhere out there is yours.

Never give up. No matter what.