Pen to Paper Guide Spotlight: Patty Blount
Pen to Paper isn’t just a program; it’s a mantra
By Patty Blount
Like most writers, I’d wanted to be an author since childhood. And, like most writers, I tried three or four (hundred) times to write a novel, only to give up after a few chapters because I had no actual idea how to complete a project. I’d lament to my family and they’d just shrug, having no idea what I was talking about, let alone how to help me solve my problems. One day at work, my boss commented that I never missed deadlines and had exceptional project management skills. If I could complete all of my work
projects, surely, I could complete a novel project?
I reread my story idea, which was for a murder mystery for teens. I listed out all the ingredients of excellent murder mysteries I’d read, like a cast of suspects, a list of reasons why the victim might have been hated, clues and red herrings, and so on. I deconstructed favorite novels and observed their patterns. How interesting that the chief suspect always ends up dead about halfway through the novel
… which forces the amateur detective to rethink everything she thought she knew. I even wrote the end of my mystery first so I could have something from which to work backwards.
For this to happen, there
must be a clue way back here in the middle that only the detective character notices.
I proceeded in this manner until I had a project plan of sorts I was able to tackle a portion at a time. And Penalty Killer
was born, a hockey dad murder mystery that my son’s seventh grade English teacher read and returned, covered in red correction marks.
Un-- Only slightly daunted, I figured I could write another novel, this time, an adult paranormal romance called Postpartum Deception
. By deconstructing my story idea into smaller chunks, I was able to complete my goal of finishing a second project.
In the years that followed, I completed another and another. It was my fifth project that earned me an agent and a publishing deal. I was, at last, an author! My third published novel was the one that finaled in RWA’s RITA contest.
I was in my late forties when my dream finally came true. What might my publishing journey have looked like if I’d only been able to figure out how to write a whole novel when I was younger?
That is the goal of our Pen to Paper program
. We teach aspiring authors how to deconstruct story, break up the daunting prospect of completing a whole novel into smaller, manageable chunks, and support key concepts like emotional wounds, GMC, scenes and sequels, dialogue and subtext, black moments, or happily-ever-afters, with actual examples from our romance rock-star membership. We surround them with other writers who understand the struggle and speak the same language, providing support and plenty of opportunity for self-discovery. This is my second year as a Guide and it fulfills me in ways I can’t describe. This program helps new writers discover what works for them
, lets them practice new skills and build confidence. Equally important, I (re)learn key concepts right along with my participants as I guide them through a lesson. Other organizations won’t admit members until they first achieve professional status; RWA helps its members along that journey, fulfilling their dreams.
Patty Blount grew up quiet and invisible in Queens, NY, but found her superpower writing smart and strong characters willing to fight for what’s right. Today, she’s the award-winning author of edgy Young Adult and contemporary romance. Powered by way too much chocolate, Patty gives a voice to characters society would prefer to ignore…characters facing situations like rape (Some Boys, 2014;, Someone I Used to Know, 2018), bullying (Send, 2012), and grief (Nothing Left to Burn, 2015). She enjoys hearing from her readers so visit her website or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Read…roar…repeat.