In a Rut? Five Ways to Climb Write Out by Wendy Tyson (+INT Giveaway of The Seduction of Miriam Cross)

Today I'd like to welcome Wendy Tyson to Guiltless Reading! I really enjoyed her debut novel Killer Image (which I was expecting to be fun chick lit) ... but it was an intense psychological mystery! Her new novel promises to be even more exciting, and it seems equally intense (check out the synopsis below...) 

Don't forget, there's also an international giveaway of her book, so please check that out at the end of Wendy's guest post!

About The Seduction of Miriam Cross: A Delilah Percy Powers Mystery:
A sordid sex tape. A venture capital firm. A secret society of women. A Catholic nun.

Miriam Cross, author, feminist and philanthropist, disappears from her Philadelphia home. A year later, a lonely recluse named Emily Cray is brutally murdered in her bed in a small Pennsylvania town.

The police discover that Emily Cray and Miriam Cross were one and the same, but if they know who killed Miriam, they’re not sharing. Miriam’s niece wants answers. She turns to the one woman she knows she can trust – private investigator Delilah Percy Powers.

As Delilah and her staff of female detectives – a militant homemaker, an ex-headmistress and a former stripper – delve into Miriam’s life, they become submerged in an underworld of unfathomable cruelty and greed with implications that go far beyond the gruesome death of one woman or the boundaries of one country. Eventually Miriam’s fight for justice becomes Delilah’s own . . . and Delilah’s obsession with finding the truth may prove just as deadly.

In a Rut?  Five Ways to Climb Write Out by Wendy Tyson

While I was writing The Seduction of Miriam Cross, I had an epiphany. Okay, a series of epiphanies. More like little hard-won realizations over the course of a few very long days. You see, I was 99% finished the book (and I was so ready to write those wonderful words: THE END) when my mojo disappeared. Woosh. Like that, I lost my inspiration. Something was off, but I couldn't pinpoint what. The gals at the Percy Powers detective agency had figured out whodunit, Delilah had engaged in some steamy sex, most emotional conflicts had been resolved and I knew how to tie up all the loose ends. Or at least I thought I did. But my nagging, clawing gut said, sorry, sweetheart, you're not there.

I saved the draft, backed it up, and walked away. Maybe a break would help. But nothing came. No fresh ideas, no sparks of understanding. What was wrong? All of a sudden, I found myself in a writing rut.

I finally dug my way out, and these five little bits of advice came from those struggles. Together, they helped me figure out the missing ingredient, the final twist that pulled everything together.

1. Show up 
A few years ago, I lost my desire to exercise (I use the word desire loosely). A friend told me something that forever changed my attitude toward exercise: just show up. It worked. That day, I promised myself 10 minutes. I did 30. Now whenever I have the urge to forgo the gym, I make a pact with myself to just show up. You don’t have to do anything, says the voice in my head. But I always do. The same technique works for lots of things we don't feel up to doing, including writing. Just sit down, butt in chair, and move that pencil. What comes out may be drivel. Who cares? Show up and write. Eventually you will find your way out of the dark, seemingly endless hole of writing despair.

2. Change venue
When I feel stuck, I move. If I've been writing at my desk, I shift to the kitchen. Or my ironing board (I love writing on my ironing board). Or I head to a bookstore/restaurant/French café. Okay, maybe not the French café, but you get the point. Change your scenery. It helps. And if your change of scenery includes actual scenery, even better.

3. Choose a different method
Do you normally write on a computer? Switch to freehand. Sometimes the feel of pen to paper can help you connect with your writing. At the end of The Seduction of Miriam Cross, when I was at wit’s end, I stopped typing for a day. I carried a notebook with me everywhere and wrote the old fashioned way. What did I write? That leads me to number 4 . . .

4. Employ free writing
This is probably my number one fix for a writing rut–I spend time free writing. I shut the critic out and write whatever comes to mind: possible story outcomes, character biographies, characters’ motivations for different actions, or even paragraph after paragraph about my vision of the book. It doesn’t have to make sense. In fact, that’s the point. Free writing is like stretching. While you may write for hours and have nothing that is directly usable, the mere act of free writing stretches the mind, helps you to see connections and possibilities that you may have missed before.

5. Switch it up
When all else fails, I’ll try writing a scene (or scenes) from another character’s point of view. I’m not necessarily intending to include the newly-written scene in the book or short story, but writing the same events from another character’s viewpoint allows me to see things differently. Lends perspective.

Like any rut, a writing rut has its roots in complacency and routine. The key is to break out of that routine. The twist at the end of The Seduction of Miriam Cross is actually a thread that runs the length of the story and weaves together multiple storylines. I’d missed it at first, but it was there all along–and that was what my churning gut had been telling me. I ultimately did some free writing about the story from a minor character’s point of view and wham, like that it hit me. I knew what was missing. And I was finally able to write THE END.

Henery-Two-WATyson-243x300About W. A. Tyson

W. A. Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. The Seduction of Miriam Cross, to be published by E-Lit Books this fall, is the first in the Delilah Percy Powers mystery series.  

She has also authored Killer Image (Henery Press, October 2013), the first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.

Connect with the author at her website, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Wendy Tyson is giving away copies of The Seduction of Miriam Cross! 
1 E-book (Open INT)
1 paperback (US/Can only)

The Seduction of Miriam Cross


  1. Thank you for hosting THE SEDUCTION OF MIRIAM CROSS on your blog! I hope your readers enjoy the book -- and find these tips helpful!

  2. This is fabulous advice, Wendy. I have printed this out to read later and share with colleagues. Also will share on FB, etc. Wise, wise, wise. Just SHOW UP is so simple, but IT WORKS!!! WRITE ON!

  3. Excellent advice, Wendy. I'm going to print this out and hang on to it. Also share it around. Isn't it funny how simple "just SHOW UP" is?

  4. I love the writing tips that you give, Wendy. I used to write everywhere and on everything...from books with pens to napkins with eye liner. I am finally getting back into writing since having my daughter 12 years ago, and now she is a budding author-to-be as well. Fantastic advice that hopefully all of us will take with us.

    1. Thank you, Samantha! Best of luck with your writing! I, too, write on everything and anything -- and then, unfortunately, I often lose my notes. I try to have a dedicated notebook, but that's not always possible (although I do keep a small notepad in my purse). I love that your 12 yo enjoys writing, too! Happy New Year to both of you!

  5. I am entering your giveaway.
    It would be great to win a copy of The Seduction of Miriam Cross by Wendy Tyson.
    I have read the synopsis of this book and it sounds like a book i would enjoy reading.
    I also enjoyed reading Wendy's writing tips.
    Thanks for having this great giveaway!!!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks Wayne! There's a giveaway going on over at my Facebook author page until noon EST today. I wish you a joyous 2014!

  6. Sounds like an interesting book. I loved the advice, just show up. Most difficult and easy bit!

    1. Best of luck with your writing in 2014!

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