Act 2: How to keep the Momentum Going between chapters?

Would you like a trick to keep the momentum going between chapters?

One of my biggest frustrations in writing a novel is that I can’t write it all in one sitting.  Seriously.  I’ve tried.  I once wrote a novel in 10 days.  But even then, I had to sleep, eat…maybe have a conversation with the other people in the house.  Still, it was the closest thing to being able to simply step into the story and download it from my brain.  I love being able to write a novel in a concentrated amount of time because the storyline is never far from me and while it’s exhausting, the story always seems to emerge with fewer jolts in the plot.

However, like most authors, I have a busy schedule filled with PR and speaking and teaching events. I also spend at least two days per week focusing on My Book Therapy.  Often I only have two or three days to really sit down and dive into a book.


Which means I might find myself struggling to climb back inside a character’s head as I start writing. In the days when I was homeschooling, I learned a trick that I employ to this day that keeps my momentum going.
After a chapter is over, I quickly interview the POV character whose scene I will write next.

I ask him/her the following questions.

  1. What did you think about what just happened?
  2. What are your choices?
  3. What will you do next, and why?
  4. What is the one thing you fear happening?
  5. And, if it’s a romance –how do you feel about this person?  What is the one thing you fear happening Emotionally?

It simply helps me get into his/her head and start mulling over the next scene as I go about driving my kids to football practice, or getting on an airplane to speak at an event.

Here are my notes for Luke, who is about to make an appearance in Chapter 5. Continue reading “Act 2: How to keep the Momentum Going between chapters?”

Seven Things Every Writer Must Do: Part One

Seven Things Every  Writer Must Do: Part One

You plot and develop  the characters that readers will fall in love with. Sit at the computer and  type. All of those things are necessary but there are also seven things every  writer simply has to do in order to be successful. Over the next seven weeks, I’ll  be blogging about those every Saturday.


Part One: Dream Without Limits

If you spend much time around me, you’ll eventually hear me  ask, “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” It’s a valid  question because I believe most writers put a lid on their potential. They  could do so much more but they don’t because their dreams are way too small.

For a writer who wants to succeed in their career, the real  tragedy is not that they dream too big and it doesn’t come true, but rather  that they dream too small and it does come true. There will be plenty of time  in the planning phase to corral those wild dreams and break them down into a  series of smaller plans. But the dreaming phase should be absolutely without  any limitations whatsoever.

Here are a few things you should consider when dreaming  about your writing career:

Silence the voices:
Do you hear that whisper inside you that tells you all the reasons why it would  be impractical, inappropriate or foolish to dream that? Don’t listen. You may  argue that it’s the voice of reason. Perhaps it is but now is not the time to  listen to it. She will have her say later on.

Have the Faith of a  Child:

Remember when you were a kid and someone asked you what you wanted  to be when you grew up? That’s the way you should dream. From astronauts to  dancers to the pony express. Doesn’t matter. Dream it!

Don’t let others dream for you:

If you let others dream for you, you’ll wind up living their  dream and not your own. Sure, there will be a time during the other stages to  solicit valuable feedback from trusted friends and colleagues. Again, now is  NOT that time.

Dream without limits.

So what would YOU attempt if you knew you could not fail?
You can email your response to me if you’d like at

Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Member Care Coach

Reba J. Hoffman is the MBT Member Care Coach. She has a PhD in clinical  counseling and is the founder and president of New Hope Institute of  Counseling. Reba uses her gift of encouragement to help writers overcome  negative emotions so they can live their dream of being a writer. Her works  appear in publications such as Running  for the Woman’s Soul by Road Runner Sports and The Good Fight by Donna Hicken. She is the author of My Book  Therapy’s Dare to Dream, a Writer’s  Journal. Contact her at

Before You Submit a Proposal

Rachel Hauck, Book Proposal, how to write a propsalYou can’t help it. It’s time. Really time. You’ve been writing and rewriting this book for eons. Or at least it feels like eons. You want to submit it, get going on  your stellar writing career. Time’s a wastin’!


Maybe you haven’t been working on it for eons, but you went to a conference and you heard an editor say she was really looking for the next great romance author to groom and you have just the story.


Or finally, one of the BIG PUBLISHERS is actively seeking speculative fiction and your space navy story is ready for the picking.


Perhaps your story has been through a critique or edit of some kind. A reader (mom, dad, sister, best friend, hubby, wifey) LOVED it. They want more! Now.


So you rush your baby off to an editor or agent. Maybe some of you rush it off to someone like me or Susie here at My Book Therapy.


And you find after pins-n-needles days or months of waiting that the story isn’t quite ready. It’s painful and disappointing.


You feel rejected. You want to quit. You want to fire bomb the agent or editor’s office. Or worse, my house. Don’t do it? It’s not worth it. If you go to jail you might never get published.


Let me help. After doing book therapies for three years, I see a lot of the same thing over and over. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m writing the same thing to every client. I relate my input back to their stories, but other than that, most writers have the same problems.


I’ve been tempted to just say, “This needs work,” and send a white sheet of standard instructions. But that’s not helpful OR what My Book Therapy is all about. We do give you very personalized help and instruction.


But I’m offering the check list here. Once you’ve polished your manuscript, go over these things before submitting. If you don’t have them (within reason) then you’re not ready. Go back to work.


  1. Do you have a discernable story world. Depending on your type of story – romance being different than sci fi – does the reader have a sense of time and place? What city? What time of year? What time of day? What kind of room? What kind of car? All we need are a few sentences but we need to be anchored.
  2. Do you have the hero or heroine’s world established. What does her office look like? Or his? Where do they live? Do you give a few – only a few – lines about their natural, every day environment? Does she see the same old couple sitting at Starbucks every day. Let the reader see and feel what the characters see and feel. From the beginning.
  3. Is their a hint at what this story is going to be about? I read so many manuscripts where I can’t tell what the hero and heroine want? They’re just kind of reacting to things. The dialog doesn’t reveal anything. Hint at what the protagonist is about to face.
  4. Greatest fear, secret desire, the lie… all of these should be hinted at in some small way as the story unfolds. If not in the first chapter, by the end of the third.
  5. Do you have a discernable inciting incident. The reader needs to feel launched on the journey. What happens that takes the protagonist out of the ordinary into the extraordinary. Or out of the extraordinary into the every day? A mom suddenly finds herself a contestant on the X-Factor. A superstar athlete finds himself homeless and nameless in a matter of hours.
  6. Empathy/Emotion. Are the characters just plain likeable. Do we want to hang out with them for 300 plus pages. Do we understand their situation even if they are not like us? Do we feel what they feel? I’ve never been a mom, but I can certainly relate to a woman who finds out her child is missing. I’ll stick with her story so I can cheer her one and see how she recovers her child.
  7. Dialog. This is  biggy. Dialog is not conversation. Dialog is the fuel to the story. It reveals the characters. Dialog delivers the punch of the story. Not prose. Is your dialog “hi, how are you?” or “Mack, did you get my call? They said you had to leave town.” Much more punch. But I’ve read proposal that stole the stories thunder. More like: “Hi, how are you?” Mack said, still reeling from finding out he had to leave town. That doesn’t work nearly as well.
  8. No hook. In some proposals I see, I can’t see the sellable hook. It might be an interesting concept but what’s the story really about? Make sure you have a one or two line hook. “This book is about…” If you meander in your own explanation, how can you “hook” the interest of an agent or editor.
  9. Back story and point of view. Make sure your back story drops are viable. Meaning: needed right then in the story. Use dialog to deliver back story whenever possible. Make sure you’ve nailed point of view. Don’t mix up which character is telling the story in a particular scene.
  10. Poorly written synopsis. A synopsis reveals to an editor or agent that you know what this story is about. Tell everything. Don’t hold back. Be detailed. You’re not setting hooks or creating mystery. A synopsis is not a back cover blurb. Don’t hold back the juicy stuff. In a synopsis you can tell and explain!


I hope this helps with your publishing journey. We appreciate all of you writers out there trying to make a difference with your stories. Hang in there and keep writing.


Rachel Hauck, Write a book proposalRachel

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, best selling author who’s made plenty of “author mistakes” and lived to tell about it.

Ten Common Author Mistakes. #10

October 20, 2011
I Quit


Not enduring to the end.


Definition: Quitting. Giving up. Not pressing on and enjoying the journey.


Rule: Never, ever quit. Unless God says. Unless you finally realize, “This is not my passion.” Then run out and find your passion!

Rachel Hauck is an award winning,best selling author who’s made plenty of “author mistakes”