I tried to take Phillip Margolin’s advice. I wrote a paragraph for each part of the book, and felt like it was really taking shape. But then I tried to expand my paragraphs and found the story dissolving into lists of facts. “This happened. Then that.”
I tried to ask all the questions to help it grow. When did this happen? How did it make you feel? But it really wasn’t working. My characters squirmed in the interview chair and looked at me like I was crazy. “Come on. Who cares?”
Then the phone rang and I went outside to take my friend’s dog for a walk. My friend is very nice and has a very nice dog; a beagle that stops the smell the flowers, the dandelions, and every blade of grass. Then she runs, and we laugh, and my characters chase after me. “Hey, did I tell you about…”
When I came home I started writing chapters again.