Good morning readers and writers!
Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to take in Mary Buckham's pacing workshop with the FRW group, and if you haven't seen Mary or taken one one her workshops, you are missing something big. She is the best. It was an all day event, and Mary was kind enough to give us all her latest book, BREAK INTO FICTION. (11 steps to building a story that sells) It has all kinds of wonderful information, like characters, conflict, powerful openings and so much more.
Powerful openings - now that was the mornings agenda. Mary showed us the importance of hooking your reader, editor, right from the get-go. We all know the power of the opening sentence but the first paragraph must be a grabber, and the last sentence of the third page because that is where most editors stop reading! Of course every chapter must end with a hook, and start with another grabber. And we so thought this would be easy, right!
If we all want to sell like James Patterson, we could learn from him too. Shorter sentences, shorter chapters, very little description and narrative. Writers like Hemmingway might never break into fiction in today's market! Learn from the modern masters if you are a commercial writer. Every scene should have conflict and raise a question. Once that question is answered, it's imperative that you raise another, until at the end all questions should be happily resolved.
More on the BREAK INTO FICTION book. This can be used as a tool while first stage plotting or during the editing process. I am just finishing up on a book now and will use it as I go through my final draft.
After more than a decade of writing, it's amazing how much I still have to learn.
Enjoy your day and hope to hear from you!


  1. Judy // November 14, 2009 at 7:57 AM  

    Wonderful post, Patrice! It's great to get these reminders! I've heard how great Mary's workshops are. Glad you were able to make it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Traci // November 14, 2009 at 9:12 AM  

    I heard it was amazing!!

  3. Beth Trissel // November 14, 2009 at 10:01 AM  

    Great post. Yes, I've taken one of Mary's workshops and she is indeed outstanding.

  4. P.L. Parker // November 14, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

    Very interesting and I'm saving this info for future use.

  5. Patrice // November 14, 2009 at 10:23 AM  

    Thank you, Judy, Traci, Beth and P.L.
    Yes, I first came across her years ago when she used to give synopsis help. I used her for a couple of books and told her she needed to charge more! She's truly wonderful and we learned a lot in that one day workshop. Now to read the book!

  6. Mona Risk // November 14, 2009 at 11:58 AM  

    I was there too attending my third M. Buckham's workshop. Mary knows how to help a writer make the most out of her story.

  7. Toni V.S. // November 14, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

    Sounds like something worthwhile and helpful.

  8. Mary Ricksen // November 14, 2009 at 1:52 PM  

    I was so sorry to miss that workshop. I may borrow that book from you! What a great post Patrice!
    I wish you had made it two part and gave us more information.
    Yo Patrice, your fantastic girl!

  9. Barbara Monajem // November 14, 2009 at 2:10 PM  

    I've done two of Mary's workshops - one at Moonlight and Magnolias and the other on line. Both were extremely helpful.

  10. Patrice // November 14, 2009 at 2:15 PM  

    Hi Mona, Mary, Toni and Barbara,
    Yes, Mona, you'd just come back from your cruise but you still showed up! Good girl. I would love to offer more information but I'm not sure how much I can without her permission. She gave us a tip sheet and I'm posting again on Monday, so maybe I can come up with a few more goodies!

  11. Mary Marvella // November 14, 2009 at 2:59 PM  

    I have also seen Mary Buckham present workshops. She and Dianna Love Snell do a wonderful and thorough job. Want to invite her to be a Fuzzy guest?

    Ladies, would you like to have her at our disposal here for a day or two?

  12. Anonymous // November 14, 2009 at 3:46 PM  

    Mary M,
    That would be awesome, but she's a pretty busy lady. Think she'd be interested?

  13. Mary Marvella // November 14, 2009 at 3:55 PM  

    She will do it.

  14. Patrice // November 14, 2009 at 4:29 PM  

    Then I think we should definitely ask her! Want to do it? I'll see if I can get my agent in January when the holiday season is over.

  15. Mary Marvella // November 14, 2009 at 7:22 PM  

    I can schedule her, unless you want to. She told me she would. (GRIN)

  16. Nightingale // November 14, 2009 at 7:25 PM  

    Sounds like a great workshop and thanks for sharing with us. Beginnings are my strength. The rest of the novel is the challenge!

  17. Pamela Varnado // November 14, 2009 at 7:49 PM  

    Glad you enjoyed the class. I've heard that anything Mary teaches is excellent. When you're a writer you must never stop learning. Every new tidbit I pick up helps to make my writing stronger.

  18. Scarlet Pumpernickel // November 14, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

    I have attended two of Mary's workshops and they are great. We had Diana Love here on the fuzzies a while back and I won a copy of their book. In Birmingham I won a 5 page critique which Mary promptly completed. It offered great insight into my plot. Mary rocks!Thanks for sharing with us Patrice.

  19. Edie Ramer // November 14, 2009 at 11:59 PM  

    Interesting about the last sentence of the 3rd page. I'll have to look at that sentence in my WIP. Great post!

  20. Margaret Tanner // November 15, 2009 at 4:33 AM  

    Hi Patrice,
    Great post,very informative. I would love to have been able to attend Mary's workshop, but liv living in Australia is a bit too far away for me to come.
    I found it particularly interesting when you mentioned the bottom of page No. 3 being important. And I guess it is when you think about it.


  21. Mona Risk // November 15, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

    Mary, by all mean invite her to the PFS. I know her well too. She's a very nice lady in addition to being the best instructor. I would like to take her class on sexual tension next.

  22. Joanne // November 16, 2009 at 1:51 PM  

    Thank you, Patrice, for the interesting post. I love Mary Buckham!

  23. Nancy J. Cohen // November 16, 2009 at 2:24 PM  

    Thanks for the recap, Patrice. I appreciate it since I wasn't able to attend.