Tag Archives: writing tips

Am I ready to submit?

Conversations with the Goddess

Dear Goddess, I’ve almost completed my round 2 of edits on my novel. I really like where it sits right now. At what point should I start submitting queries to agents?


I am the Goddess of art and literature. I am the Goddess of the moon. The most auspicious time for you to submit your manuscript will be on the full moon. November 25th and December 25th. If you wait until 2016, you will miss your window.

Goddess keep you,


Aine's playground


Embrangle The Latest Word is: Embrangle: To entangle, confuse, perplex.

The Oxford English Dictionary has embrangle coming into common usage in the 1600s but its etymology dates back to the early 1500s with brangle, which, I’ve decided, is a cool word all on its own and may have to write a post on it, too—when we come back around to B. 😀

Here’s how we use it:

They were embrangled in the nets.

I am embrangled and torn between conflicting difficulties.

I like this word. So similar to the physical act of entanglement but with the added definition of a mental struggle. This is a word that even upon first glance, the reader should be able to determine its meaning based on its use in the sentence, even if they’d never happened upon the word before in their life (which I hadn’t until I read the entry).

Characters are often embrangled within their plot lines, and as an author, I am often embrangled in the plot itself. I have a rough outline, but as I write the story, it fleshes itself out and twists and turns and takes new and unexpected forks in the road—some of which are entirely pointless and must be deleted. And far too often, half way through the story, in the murky, messy middle, all the plot holes and character motivational misfires start to rear their ugly heads. This is because I am a pantser—someone who basically flies by the seat of their pants when writing—as opposed to a plotter who meticulously plots out every scene, every arc, every development BEFORE they add a single word to the story. There is something to be said about plotting, and I’m going to try and write my next book with this approach because I am convinced, after Avelynn #2, that pantsing is NOT an efficient way to write a book!

In the murky, messy, pantser middle, I am often embrangled. Big time. The second book in the Avelynn series was very difficult to fix. I wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (a monthly writing challenge that takes place every November whereby we write 50,000 words in 30 days) most of which steered me off coarse and embrangled me in plot snares and character black holes that were almost impossible to recover from. The novel followed so many divergent threads, that I got to the point where I wasn’t sure what the premise was, or even what the main point was anymore!

With characters, to embrangle them in messy plot choices and make them clamber out of the carnage is what makes a story great. We can’t have characters riding along on sunshine and roses, we have to make the struggle, we need to throw story curves and plot bombs in their path and make them dodge or take a hit and recover. That’s what’s so fun about writing books. Creating conflict and fascinating surprises and developments that seem to come out of the blue, or that have been building for chapters and acts. To embrangle is to drive the story forward, and there’s a satisfying almost sadistic glee to the whole thing. ;D

I’ve finished the first draft of Avelynn #2 and am currently working on fixing up the wayward threads as I work my way through my round of edits. Hopefully, the embranglement from this point forward will be limited to what I’ve created for my characters and the rest of the edits flow smoothly. Cross your fingers for me. 🙂

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Dear Newbie Self

Marissa Campbell

If I had to go back to the beginning of my career and give myself one piece of advice, it would be….

I can’t narrow it down to just one thing, as there are two really important messages I would love to press upon my newbie self!

The first is the importance of hiring a good editor. My first book was co-authored and self-published, and we thought that appealing to wonderful, well-intentioned friends would be a great, cost-effective way of catching our errors. We were wrong. Of course, they found many, but our first edition went to print with an embarrassing amount of typos and grammar glitches. I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a good editor. Even when I sought traditional publishing with my second book, I hired editors to do substantive and copy edits. It was money well spent and gave my manuscript a professional, polished feel. Without that effort, I would never have found my agent!

The second piece of advice I would give myself is to never, ever, think a first draft, or a second draft, or even a third draft is the final draft ready for submission. I get it. I’m impatient. We’ve spent months, years, or even decades working on this project, and once we finally reach ‘the end,’ we just want to shout our book baby to the mountain tops and send it out in to the world. But our pour babies can’t even roll over yet, never mind crawl or walk! I’m the first one to admit, I need immediate gratification, but where publishing is concerned, this is one area where we have to slow down, dig in, and sharpen and hone that manuscript until it is a shimmering piece of literary beauty. No rushing this part. No thinking, maybe mine is good enough. Let it sit in a drawer. Hide it under your bed. Let it stew and settle for a few weeks to a month, then pour through it again. You’ll be surprised what you find and grateful you didn’t send it out before it was ready!

In gratitude,

Marissa xo



Top Ten Ways to Test a Writer's Patience (or How to Drive a Writer Crazy)

This is part of an entertaining post that I wrote for Relentless Writers, a blog I contribute to monthly. To read the full article click here. 🙂

Top Ten Ways to Test a Writer's Patience

One of these things does not belong:

  • I am impatient
  • I am an extrovert
  • I require immediate gratification
  • I am an author


It is possible, given the traits listed above, that I couldn’t have picked a more ill-fitted career for myself than writing. In a previous post, it was duly noted that the publication process takes time, in fact, everything in the world of a writer takes time—lots and lots of time—and this got me thinking.

Here then, without further ado, are the:

Top Ten Ways to Test a Writer’s Patience

Or How to Drive a Writer Crazy

1. The WIP 


Writing takes forever!

2. Blog Posts

untitled (10)






Waiting for someone to read your blog.

3. Twitter







Watching your feed for retweets and replies.

4. Facebook






Why doesn’t anyone share?

Want to know steps 5 – 10 (plus a bonus)

click here and pop over to Relentless Writers to read the full post!

In gratitude,