Episode 32: Writerly Confidence

In this episode:

  • Fidget spinner DIY, black market fidget spinners, and other things writers can fidget with while they think
  • Jennie finds that when writers are feeling “not enoughness” they are usually actually really close to a breakthrough and just have to push through a little bit.
  • Mel talks herself up every time she sits down to write.
  • My mental block with the nastiest of all writerly words—outline
  • If the character gets everything s/he wants at the end of the book, it feels like a waste. It’s not satisfying to the reader because it goes against everything that READING is about, which is to learn how to navigate situations. “What happens if I don’t confront this fear of mine?” etc… It’s emotional survival. We turn to a book to answer the question, “How does that feel?”
  • Lisa Cron’s Emotional Cost Benefit Analysis and brain MRI’s
  • Imagination alone doesn’t make a story. You have to marry imagination to an emotion.
  • A common misconception about book coaching is that the coach is going to walk all over your story and make it their own, but today’s episode shows how Jennie led me through the process of figuring out the ending of my story by just asking one question. (And believe it or not, that question wasn’t, “WHY?!”)
  • Mel and I talk about how Jennie’s edits are actually kinda sorta totally like crack.
  • Both good feedback (you’re doing it right) and bad feedback (you need to change something) can be super motivating and helpful.
  • Jennie uses a phrase “generosity of spirit” to describe being in a character’s heart and head. I just love that, and I strive to write with more of that authority. It’s an almost voyeuristic feeling, and to get it I’ve been trying to tap into the 6th grade me.
  • You can’t get away with generic anything in a story, because then you are leaving it up the reader to put in what they think, at which point you lose them. (Talking about comments like, “I wish I could just be normal” or “I wish I could just be loved” or “be accepted” or anything generic a character might think…) Readers want specific because they want to be able to cheer for some specific thing.
  • I admit to writing some pretty bad poetry using a rhyming dictionary, and Jennie fangirls on Kelly Barnhill and disses on the Oompa Loompas.
  • And finally, we talk about keeping your eye on the end goal, which is readers and the marketplace, and how your book is going to live in the world.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
By Kelly Barnhill