A clear and present danger


Paula’s Post #65 — We live in the digital age. A time of ever-increasing distractions. Our iPhones, our iPads, our Fuel Bands and Fitbits, our 1000+ digital cable channels, our Netflix and Twitter and Linkedin accounts… all contribute to a world where the hours of the day are subjected to being sliced and diced like a French chef’s mirepoix, until there is nothing left but a few stray minutes here, an hour or so there.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t shake the vague sense of feeling ‘robbed’ by all these distracting influences.

I know, I know,  I can hear you all now: “It’s your own fault if you can’t turn off your phone for an hour or two – if you can’t push yourself off the couch and pick up a book instead of sitting rooted, like a gnarled old oak, transfixed by the Olympic’s Women’s Parallel Slalom Snowboarding event or the latest episode of Downton Abbey.  

We all make choices, this is true, but there is no disputing the radical changes the digital age has brought to our everyday lives.

Just 10 years ago, I actually visited libraries on a weekly basis. Visited bookstores too, almost as often, checking out with armloads of heavy books from my favourite authors. I recall vowing to purchase Sue Grafton’s alphabet offerings, in order, all the way to Z is for… but alas, faltered somewhere around P is for Peril.

P is for Peril

I was amongst the first to cheer the introduction of the eReader, the device that heralded the dawn of a new age, a utopian future where we could travel through Europe without fear of running out of books to read, or of being charged excess baggage fees when the 17 travel guides we’d squirreled away in our luggage resulted in our suitcases topping out the scales at somewhere north of 50 pounds.

Up until the last decade, for better or worse, actual physical ‘books’ were an omnipresent part of our everyday lives.

Now, with rare exceptions, most of my books are downloaded to my iPad. I still like to buy real hard copies of the reference books that I used in my business and  I think I will always want to buy hard copies of ‘writing’ books, for these I like to index with little stickies and dog ear the pages to mark passages that resonate with a particular sage piece of advice. But now, my purchase of ‘real’ books, as far as fiction is concerned, is more often than not confined to purchasing that special first edition of a favourite author’s book, or better yet, the hot off the presses launch of a writing colleagues debut novel.

To me, this is disturbing.

How could so much have changed in so short a time?

Not everyone is like me. I’m sure many of you are still acquiring books, whether from a genuine preference for the touch and feel and smell of ‘real books’ or from an altruistic need to ‘save’ a dying art form.

When I packed up my house to move last summer, I could have built eight foot walls from the shelves full of books we’d accumulated over the years. Some purchased, some inherited, but either way far too many to move yet again.

In case you think otherwise, there isn’t a huge market for used books – they’re difficult to even give away. But my 5writer colleague Joe was quick to step in, offering to ‘shelter’ several fine books in his collection.

Indeed, I’ve started to think maybe we need to develop ‘book rescue’ organizations, something akin to ‘pet rescue’. Noble undertakings where you offer to provide a home, temporary or otherwise, to save old books from being euthanized at the dump.

But think about it for a minute. Even if you do rescue these books, how many of these books are you actually going to read? Are we ‘book readers’ the last of a dying breed?

What about young people? Are the majority actually reading actual books these days? I know the Hunger Games trilogy and the Divergent series have captivated a certain segment of teen and young adult readers, in much the same way as J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series managed a decade before with somewhat younger readers, but is this an isolated trend?

My sister-in-law Eleanor is visiting this week; a retired high school teacher, she is a life-long reader who still works with young people, tutoring ESL students. Eleanor is a true reader, having read every day of her life, from the time she learned to read. She even admits to feeling upset if she doesn’t read a little bit everyday, if only for ten minutes, before she falls asleep.

But Eleanor readily agrees that she finds it disturbing when she has to almost ‘force’ some of her young adult students to read books, even for pleasure.

I’m beginning to wonder if we may have done our children a disservice, herding them into English class and forcing them to dissect books like specimens in a biology lab. Dictating that a novel must be ripped to shreds until there is nothing left to love. Lost is pacing, plot and most egregious of all, the suspension of disbelief. Who wouldn’t rather play video games?

Perhaps what we need is a revolution in reading. Since it debuted in 1996, Oprah’s Book Club has helped to keep reading fun, social and interactive. She’s even got lists to help introduce kids to the joy of reading.

Yet even here, some have criticized the pop culture, mass appeal of the books Oprah has championed over the years: Scott Stossel, an editor at The Atlantic, wrote:

“There is something so relentlessly therapeutic, so consciously self-improving about the book club that it seems antithetical to discussions of serious literature. Literature should disturb the mind and derange the senses; it can be palliative, but it is not meant to be the easy, soothing one that Oprah would make it.”[1]

Seriously? What a snob!

I don’t know about you, but I want to fall in love with books again. Yesterday, a beautiful 80 degree blue sky day in the California desert, I launched my floatie raft and drifted about my pool. Within minutes though, I was antsy. I knew something was wrong. I didn’t have a book I could take into the pool. Two sat on my bedside table: The Spellman Files, a hardcopy, first edition mystery by Edgar nominated author Lisa Lutz bearing a personal inscription to the friend in my Bocce league who’d lent me this delightful debut novel.

No, no, no, no – definitely not taking that one in the pool.

Ditto for the second book on my night table, The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett, another hard copy first edition debut novel that is winning rave reviews. This book a Christmas present from my cousin Mark.

Not pool fodder, no, no, no.

I finally settled on launching with NumbersRachel Ward’s debut YA psycho thriller about a disaffected teen with an unusual affliction, the ability to see ‘numbers’ attached to people, the numbers the dates of each person’s death. I’d purchased the book when researching the genre for my own 5writers YA novel, but never did more than read a few of the early chapters.

Yesterday, floating on my raft under an azure sky, I lost myself in this little paperback book, if only for an hour or so before yet another social engagement. But that hour was enough to rediscover the joy of reading. I didn’t pick it up at the end of the day, when I was exhausted and destined to fall asleep in a mere 10 minutes or so. No, for once I found the time to read in the middle of the day, my iPhone and iPad safely ashore, I floated adrift and unplugged from the normal distractions of everyday life.

I can’t say it is the best book I’ve ever read, but that is not the point. Yesterday, I cherished the simple pleasure of reading just for fun.

The Atlantic’s Mr. Stossel would no doubt cringe at my choice of reading material, decrying the author’s thin characterizations, familiar themes and simple prose.

Who cares!

If we do not rediscover the joy of reading for pleasure, I fear there is a clear and present danger lying just ahead.

I fear we will have no one to write for.

For you followers of our 5writers blog, I suspect I’m preaching to the converted. If you’re following a blog about writing, your either a reader, a writer, or both. Most likely your spouses and kids are too.

But what about the rest of the people in your little world? Do you know a boy or girl who never reads? A young adult who has yet to discover ‘the joy of reading’? A spouse who may have slipped from grace, distracted by the easy ability to watch six episodes of Breaking Bad in a single evening instead of picking up a book? Even amongst yourselves, are you finding you have too many books you are ‘supposed’ to read, with little time to just read for fun?

If so, I’m suggesting a small experiment. Pick up a book you’d never otherwise read. Read it for fun as quickly as possible. Try not to analyze it. Try just to enjoy it.

When you are done. Give it to someone else.

Bonus points for anyone who can coax a young person, under thirty, into reading a book, just for fun.

Paula’s Post #65.5 — A quick update: Alas, I did not quite manage to get this post posted by Tuesday, midnight, the deadline for my once a week blog offering. As in ‘if this is Tuesday, it must be Paula’s 5writer blog day’.

As we 5writers all know only to well, the road to you-know-where is paved with good intentions. I’d smugly written this post Monday morning, leaving it to add only the insertion of a number of links to author pages, etc. I figured I had plenty of time to do that Tuesday morning before my flight from California to Canada.

I figured wrong.

Remember, suspense in fiction is created by unexpected events. Events like the misplacement of keys before an international flight. The only set of keys that would let us into our rented postage stamp apartment in Vancouver. The keys we were sure we’d taken down to California, but were no where to be found, despite a massive key hunt. The keys that made us an hour late for our flight (good thing the flight was an hour late too).

But as Will Shakespeare famously wrote: ‘Alls Well that Ends Well’: a good friend picked us up to the airport in Vancouver, stayed with us all afternoon and hung out at Starbucks with us until we managed to track down our property manager and an extra key to our apartment. Our kind friend then joined us for dinner and drove us both to dinner and home, after we realized we still didn’t have a working ‘fob’ that would get us into our locked garage where our car is parked.

The fob is coming at 9 am this morning and we’ll be back in action, even if it looks like I’ll end up with a late start for my journey up the coast to check on our renovations. No bumpy journey is without a silver lining. For me, that was being reminded of the true value of a good friend.

Thanks, Colleen!


Surrey Writer’s Conference Act 1

Joe’s Post #56

jloLots of interesting stuff in the news today. Hooters is getting sued over not hiring someone for their HAIR COLOR! J Lo has body issues. And a blond, blued eyed little girl is found with the Roma (gypsies) … wait, hold on, that’s a great story idea right there.

But I don’t have time to look into those epic, world-changing events. I have to get ready for the Surrey International Writer’s Conference. Technically, it starts tomorrow and I’m madly getting organized so I know who’s looking for what, what classes they are teaching, and which ones I want to attend. As well, I’m reading all the agent’s and editor’s blogs in hopes of understanding this very strange species of humankind.

Lots of work. Being so 20th century, I’ve printed out everything and with a bright yellow highlighter in my hand, I’m busy marking up all things vital to my success. Who the key-note speakers are, where the bathrooms are located, who’s in charge of the coffee. I’ve also worked really hard on my elevator pitch, my query and whatever the hell they call the in-between thing.

It’s all coming together but there’s still a ton to do. I want to arrive there so prepared they will actually give me an award for being so well prepared. All they’ll do is look at me and go, hey, holy hell, look at that guy, he is some prepared (here’s a cookie).

Now I won’t be going tomorrow, as it’s master classes and I need to spend the time finishing up my novel. In the good news department, I’m basically done with the rewrite, at least until I take a last look at those first 10 pages. There’s still a really good chance I’ll tinker with it even if someone requests a manuscript to be sent to them (very unlikely, it’s usually 10-30 pages, but still …)

So, expect a few posts from me as I embark on this new adventure. Here’s my pitch. It’s a quest story. Timid Canadian who talks way too quickly attempts to sell his epic novel to agents who have seen pretty much everything before. Will he have another legendary meltdown while describing his story? Will he forget to zip up after going to the bathroom? Will his innate shyness force him into a fetal position underneath one of the lunch tables?

Stay tuned.

And wish me luck.


More to come.

Done, Done and Done. Sort of.

Joe’s Post #21

More tomorrow, my regular posting day, but for today, a quick update.

Deadline was midnight Feb 5th, 2013.

Feb 5th, 2013, 5:38pm, I finished my second draft.

dec 2012 035So what does second draft mean? It means the first 30 pages are good enough to be sent out. It means I can start querying if I want. It means I can send out the whole book to readers for feedback.

It means met my goal.

Next step – Reader feedback. Then I’ll put it aside for a couple of months so when I do my final draft, I can look at it with fresh eyes. Like I did with Desert Rains. Maybe go to Vegas again. Or Mexico. Or Paris.

All in all, the story should be pretty engaging, I LOVE my characters, and love some of the scenes I’ve crafted, but I went with an unconventional structure and that may sink me (or not.) Either way, at some point, a writer just doesn’t know if something works or not, but hey, that’s what readers are for.

Pages written: 419

Word count by the old 250 words/page: 104,750

Word Count by Word: 76,249 (Wow, I mean, WOW, that’s a HUGE difference!!!)

Suggested YA Word Count: 80,000

Stay tuned.

Keep those doggies rollin’

Writing Weather

Paula’s Post #13 – I started my writing day at Starbucks this morning, a welcome refuge from the cold and the fog and the drizzle that is Vancouver on a mid December day. In other words, about the most depressing weather you can find. I’m in no position to complain, having spent a good portion of the Fall escaping all of rainy November. But can’t I whine just a little bit? Especially since Helga just left the sunny beaches of Rio for her exciting South American cruise.

But no, I can’t complain. Especially because this ghastly weather has actually increased my productivity. I spent most of the weekend at home, nestled in the window seat in my office, occasionally staring out at the rain and the fog and the drizzle, but mostly, well… writing. Yes writing!


That productivity continued at Starbuck’s this Monday morning, and while I engaged in a fair share of the writers’ equivalent of the Hokey Pokey, (as in put it in, take it out, shake it all about) during which time I cut and pasted and rearranged some of the chapters I’ve been working on, by the end of my Starbuck’s session, my Storymill Progress Meter confirmed that I’d managed to dash off a fresh 971 words between picking up my Venti non-fat extra shot latte at 9:55 am and finishing Chapter 27 at just after 11:00 am.


In fact, almost the 1,000 words a day drummed into our heads by those writers actually disciplined enough to pound out that daily quotient. Which we all know by now, I most certainly am not.

But as I drove out of the parking lot, a little tune kept running round and round in my head. No, not the Hokey Pokey,  but the lyrics from the theme song of Rawhide:

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Though the streams are swollen
Keep them dogies rollin’
Rain and wind and weather
Hell-bent for leather
Wishin’ my gal was by my side.
All the things I’m missin’,
Good vittles, love, and kissin’,
Are waiting at the end of my ride

Move ’em on, head ’em up
Head ’em up, move ’em on
Move ’em on, head ’em up
Count ’em out, ride ’em in,
Ride ’em in, count ’em out,
Count ’em out, ride ’em in

Keep movin’, movin’, movin’
Though they’re disapprovin’
Keep them dogies movin’
Don’t try to understand ’em
Just rope, throw, and brand ’em
Soon we’ll be living high and wide.
My hearts calculatin’
My true love will be waitin’,
Be waitin’ at the end of my ride.


source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/rawhidelyrics.html

Okay I admit it, I mostly just remembered that one line:

Keep those doggies rollin’.

Now why that song? Who the hell knows! And I’m going to STOP being surprised by the eerie coincidences between Silk’s posts and mine. I mean just because she wrote a lovely expositive piece about music in yesterday’s post, doesn’t mean I need to keep the theme song from Rawhide from rolling around in my head or out of my post.

But thank goodness I read Silk’s post first.  I was all geared up to write my post today on the subject of music. Not so much about the music described in novels or that accompanying a movie soundtrack. No, my post was going to be about what music motivates the writer. Music as muse.

But I’m sure our readers don’t really need another post on music, even if it might be fun to google “music as muse to famous writers”. Besides, I’ve checked the word count on my last few posts and I’m the one with run-on-itis. So I’m going to make this post short and sweet (at least for me).

My thought of the day is that we, as writers, need to put words on the page like those little ‘doggies’ in the Rawhide song. We need to find our rhythm and, when we’ve found it, keep those words rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ and movin’ movin’ movin’ right out of our minds and onto the page. And rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ means not getting caught up in second thoughts, self doubt or the urge to rewrite.

I suffered a crushing blow this weekend when I discovered a recently published novel called Implant. Guess what? Yep. That’s the working title of my novel. Even worse was the discovery that, quite independently, I’d dreamt up a novel with a similar subject matter. Not exactly the same, but similar. So, for awhile, I felt like a deflated balloon.

My fellow 5writers rallied my spirits however, reminding me my book was different, my book was a Young Adult Novel. And I also remembered that Dan Brown actually won the plagiarism suit brought against him over The Da Vinci Code. Not that I’m worried about plagiarism, I didn’t even know the other “Implant” existed when I outlined my novel. And there’s no copyright on book titles. But I still wish that book wasn’t out there. Nevertheless, I took a deep breath, exhaled and kept those doggies rollin’.

Pie’s eaten this week – 0 (I think. Unless you count pizza pies?)

Words Written to Date: 29,556

Target Word Count: 100,000

Words short of Target: 70,444

Pages Written to Date: 107

Target Page Count: 400

Pages Short of Target: 293

Biggest Worry To Date: How to keep those doggies rollin’!!!


How come

Joe Update #12

thinkingHow come it’s always more exciting for me to think about the next project than that one I’m working on?

How come I write better with coffee than without?

How come I forget things that I’ve already written? (this week, I forgot a character in a scene, yup, completely forgot about her.)

How come I’ve become hyper critical of the writing in movies and books? I mean, what happened to just enjoying it and not being driven mad by poor character development or backstory in the wrong place?

How come I still get lead and led mixed up?

How come I love reading books more than watching TV?

How come there are 2 ways of counting words, the word count on WORD or the 250 words per page way of counting?

How come George Lucas is a zillionaire when he created Jar-Jar Binks?

How come I can’t write at all when I’m partially drunk? Hey, Hemingway did it, why can’t I?

How come I have panic attacks each time I send out a query?

romanceHow come I have an easier time writing action than romance? Is that a guy thing?

How come all the romance heroes have chests like this picture?

How come if I write 6 pages in a day, I feel down on myself, but if I write 10, I’m all whoohoo? The difference is only 4 pages!

How come I edit better when I print something out than when I look at it on the screen?

How come I love it so much when someone has actually read something I wrote? Am I really such a narcissist?


Pages to date: 250

Bottles of wine drunk: 1

Books finished this week: 1 (others’, not mine)

Number of christmas presents bought: 0

Number of queries sent out this week: 1

Oh my fog!

Paula’s Post #11 — So if you haven’t figured it out by now, we 5writers have a handy-dandy little protocol for determining what day of the week to post to our blog.

We take turns.

Originally, we discussed having a more informal process, (rotating the days of the week for example), but let’s face it, we all have enough pressure right now. We don’t need the extra stress of trying to figure out whether it is our ‘blog day’ or not.

Invariably, my blog day is Tuesday.

Invariably, my blog day falls the day after Silk’s post.

Invariably, we seem to have something similar to write about!

Why is that?

Anyway, back to the post protocol and the familiar deja-vu-all-over-again feeling when I invariably follow Silk, we are once again rolling out ‘variations on a theme’.  To wit, the joys of travel on the busiest days of year; the challenges of writing on the road; the fear of things lost, physical or ephemeral.

I, too, sallied forth this past American Thanksgiving Weekend, leaving last Wednesday afternoon for a short hop, skip and a jump flight up from Palm Springs to San Francisco, accompanied by my lovely husband to attend the Canadian Bar Association Conference

Who planned this shindig, anyway?

All proceeded smoothly. We boarded the plane and discovered we had seats in the same row, across the aisle from one another. I knew this would work out well, because:


I felt smug as we readied for take off. After all, some of my most prolific writing sessions were inspired by airports or had taken place on airplanes!

A tingle of excitement ran through me as I pictured pulling out my laptop the moment the ‘fasten your seat belts’ sign was extinguished. I’d somehow ended up with an entire row to myself.

But not for long.

A flight attendant tapped my elbow and said, “I’m just going to move someone up.”

Inward groan.

I pictured some harried mother with colicky twins, but no! A very handsome man appeared with an oversized dog carrier. His puppy, it seemed, did not fit under the seat and rather than kicking him off the plane (trust me, you wouldn’t have dreamed of doing anything of the kind either) the flight attendant found space for him in my row. And then we started chatting. And chatting. And chatting…

Before I knew it the flight was over!

My husband had just collected our bags when he turned to me with an odd look on his face and announced. “I think I just left my iPad on the plane.”

The plane that was continuing on to Seattle!

Keep calm and carry on. We knew backtracking would be futile. Instead, we lined up for a cab and headed for our conference hotel, The Grand Hyatt Union Square, which, if not dazzling, at least is newly renovated in a city-chic kind of way with an excellent location on Union Square, the heart of San Francisco’s shopping mecca.

As soon as we hit the room I pulled out my laptop and plugged it in so the battery would be running at full capacity. Tomorrow morning, Thanksgiving Day,


But when we woke up my laptop, inexplicably, needed charging. I figured I must have plugged it into an outlet that didn’t work once the lights were turned out.

So off we trekked for a Cable Car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf. But with glorious weather and holiday crowds out in droves, everything took longer than planned. Before I knew it, we’d arrived back at the hotel with just a few minutes to spare before we were due at the restaurant where I’d made our Thanksgiving Dinner reservations.

We strolled though the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel and met ‘Gentleman Norman”, the cutest little dog you’ve ever seen (next to mine of course) who has about ten times as many Facebook followers as the 5writers and is also a ‘published author’.

By the time we returned to our hotel, I wanted to write. I needed to write. But remember, my poor husband had left his iPad on the plane. He had no way of watching Netflix. Unless, of course, I lent him my laptop.

I relented.

I knew he would fall asleep in minutes anyway, tryptophan always does the trick.

But, but but…. he didn’t fall asleep. He’s hooked on The Borgias you see and was almost at the end of an episode when he turned to me and said those fateful words:

“Hey, your battery is almost dead.”


I’d plugged it in myself. I checked and the power cord was connected to an outlet at one end, my laptop at the other. But the little charging light wasn’t twinkling. So I tried another outlet, and another and another as the battery indicator dipped from 7% to 5% to 3%…

And then I shut it off, fearing my laptop was truly #&%%+@#? (And no, ‘truly’ in this case, is most definitely not an overused adverb).

I hoped it was only the battery, but I didn’t know for sure. What I did know was that I’d violated the Cardinal Sin of writing, I’d failed to back up my work since we’d left Canada, a few weeks earlier.


The flagship San Francisco Apple store was located just a few blocks away. A store that would open at 6:00 am on Black Friday and be mobbed with shoppers all day.


You can tell your husband really really loves you when he agrees to get up at 5am and accompany you (aka be your bodyguard) for an early morning  trek through the darkened streets of San Francisco. If you doubt, just read Silk’s post from yesterday, wherein she describes her husband pounding out an extra round trip from the Canadian border back dow to Eugene, then back up again, all to retrieve Silk’s forgotten laptop.

But perhaps my husband had an ulterior motive?

We emerged from the apple store an hour later, happy smiles on our faces. A new power cord for me, a shiny new iPad for my husband.


Except it was time for the conference to start. And then it was time to go to dinner with old friends that now live in the Bahamas. And then it was time for the conference to start again. And then it was time for dinner with my husband’s partner and his wife. And then it was time for the conference to start again. And then it was the last afternoon and my husband was leaving for Canada the next day and I was not.


I was going to take the ferry to Sausalito and watch the fog roll in under the Golden Gate Bridge and cloak the city in a snowy white ermine robe. I was going to eat a great deal of pasta and gelato for dinner and get up early and head out to the airport with my husband whose flight was at 10:10 even though my flight wasn’t until 3:30.


And I did.

The airport was fogged in and my flight was delayed. Then we had what was described as ‘mechanical difficulties’, an ominous sounding phrase, but in this case turned out to mean only that one of the lavatories wasn’t working. Whatever, tack on another hour-long delay.

So I wrote some more.

Finally we took off. And though the plane was full, I had a whole row to myself. So I wrote.

I arrived back in Palm Springs 4 hours later than scheduled, but after a pretty much wasted 5 days, I redeemed myself today. All I can say is:

Thank God for the Fog!

Pies Eaten This Week:

Hmm…. that’s hard to answer. What do you mean by ‘pies’? Technically, I believe the correct answer is ‘none’, unless you count one small pumpkin tart from the dessert buffet at the Fairmont. (Don’t even ask about the other 5 days of restaurant meals consumed).

Words Written to Date: 19,888

Target Word Count: 100,000

Words short of Target: 80,112

Pages Written to Date: 72

Target Page Count: 400

Pages Short of Target: 328

Biggest Worry To Date:

Yikes – I’m only on “Scene 7” of my laboriously plotted outline. Scene 7 out of 78 ‘imagined’ scenes.  So, even though math was never my strong suit, at my current ‘conversion rate’ of scenes into words , my current projected page count calculation looks something like this:

19,888 words divided by 7 scenes = 2,841.14 words for each converted ‘scene’.

2,841.14 x 78 scenes = 221,608.92 words.

An ‘epic’ YA novel? I don’t think so.

There’s no way I’m going to be able to pump out 200,000 or so words by February 5th and we all know I can forget finding an agent to represent me or a publisher to publish.

Hey… wait a minute. I’ve got an idea. Maybe it’s not one novel…. maybe it’s three or even four.

What was that series called? Twilight? Or maybe I’m thinking of The Hunger Games.

Traitorous doubts

(Or How To Lose A Day of Writing)

Joe’s Post #8 — 

Number of pages written to date: 125

Number of movies seen: 1 (Flight)

Number of pages I should have written today: 10

Number of pages written today: 0 (reason below)

Pies eaten: 0

This week: I could see it coming.  A wall.  A big one.  Thick and tall and very, very wide.  I tried to ignore it, but the faster I went, the farther down the road I sped, the larger it loomed.  I spun the wheel, braked, swerved, then wham, bang, crash, clink, clink, clink.

I’d hit a wall.

AKA: writer’s block.

How did I hit it?

One simple question.

Had I made the right POV choice?

Oddly, it was something the other writers have written about this week.  YA, like most genres, has rules.  One of them is that it should, but doesn’t have to be, written in 1st person.

It’s actually a style I’m quite comfortable with, but one I didn’t choose for this book.  Why?  I have three stories to tell and two of them would get left out if I went only with 1st person POV.

But then the idea of 1st person POV wormed its way into my head like some sort of vile maggot.  Now I know there is a ton of dead tissue up there for the thing to feed upon because as the day wore on, the more I tried to get back to 3rd person POV, the more the maggot of doubt grew.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are books out there that use 3rd person POV.  Harry Potter, for goodness sake.  Wings.  The Inheritance Cycle.  So maybe I’m just bugging on this too much, but like it or not, that doubt ate at me all day.

Maybe it’s part of the process.  Maybe there are some days where I need to question my choices, to reinforce the decisions or reverse them.  But I hate that doubt.  Hate it!

Hopefull, by tomorrow, I will have resolved the issue one way or the other, but today, oh man, today, I lost a day of writing because of a single nasty bit of doubt.