News, commentary, and fiction by Barb Hendee, co-author of the Noble Dead saga (; author of the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and more.

The Wednesday Writer’s Corner: Avoiding the Muddle in the Middle

Next week, I may need to put the Writer’s Corner on hiatus again for a month or so.  I’m in the “obsessive” part of drafting the first Mist-Torn Witches novel where I’m writing all day to get a first draft done while the ideas are rushing around inside my head.  Late autumn and the winter months are when I get a lot of drafting done so we have the material to work with in other regards for the remainder of the year.

But I promised a nuts-and-bolts post this week, and I think this topic is important, so I wanted to throw a few ideas out there.

I talk to other writers a lot, and when most writers begin actively working on a novel, they tend to have about the first fifty pages and the last fifty pages mentally laid out in near concrete clarity.  This seems fairly typical.  I know it describes me.  I sometimes have the ending clear in my mind even before the beginning.  But before I start working on a project, things have come together to the point that I know how the story will be set up, and I know how it will end.

So, let’s say you’re got the first fifty pages outlined, and the last fifty pages outlined.  You’re writing a short novel, maybe 320 pages.  This means you have 220 pages left to outline . . . getting from that awesome beginning you’ve planned to the exciting ending.

Mist-Torn Witches Underway!

On Friday, JC and I sent off the first draft for the next Noble Dead book, The Dog in the Dark.  We took a three-day weekend off, and yesterday I began working on the first book of the Mist-Torn Witches.  I've just been outlining and doing research, but I'm really excited about this project.

This picture is just an image from an article I was reading, but it's very inspirational!

The Wednesday Writer’s Corner: A Siren’s Song of “Impending Success”

Next week, I’m going to do a more “nuts and bolts” post on planning the middle of a novel, but in recent weeks, my mind and heart have been drawn to a few tragedies I’ve seen among writers who came out on the more painful side of “impending success”—and I sort of feel the need to offer some thoughts. 

There is a strange window in the world of a writer once he/she has found a publisher, signed a contract, delivered a novel, and then finds him/herself inside that misty period of time (which can last as long as a year) just waiting for the novel to be published.

Often, the size of the advance and the attitude of the publisher can affect expectations on the part of the writer.