Over the weekend, I read the entire latest draft of the sequel to The Mad Wol’f’s Daughter to my 11-year-old son (aka the Lad). He was building amazing things in Minecraft (no, not sitting there paying attention to nothing but the book for ten hours—though more than once he paused and just listened). At the end of every chapter, he pointed out what didn’t make sense (I went back that night and tweaked), which parts were slow (I went back that night and rewrote),  and also told me what was working and what the points of tension were.

He also suggested a really clever detail. (He did that with two parts of Book 1 as well.) Neither of us can remember what this clever detail was, but it was a great one that brought elements of the plot together, the kind of detail that ripples through the book and belongs so well that you’d never imagine it’d ever been missing.

I’ve been called “a master storyteller,” and while the Lad says I should take all credit for that, he deserves some of it. He understands what makes plots strong, characters deep, and descriptions lyrical. He tells me when I need to work on something, and when I do it right. And in this stage of editing and revision where I was racing to meet a tight deadline, having an actual reader in the room who knows how to plot and sees connections and evaluate made a world of difference.

I’m lucky to have his help, and his willingness to listen to me read my draft. And his support. We authors struggle to make our writing soar and sing—and it’s not always easy to do that under deadline without the endless raft of time that we had before. But it’s so much easier when there’s a member of our reading audience in the house whose critique will be firm but kindly spoken and whose praise will feel like summer—and who always encourages us to keep going.

5 Responses to “Reader-in-House”

  1. :Donna

    This warms my heart and I’m thinking…you’ve given birth to a probable future writer or SOME kind of professional storyteller 😀

  2. Laura Wright

    Oh my, oh my! I came to your website in search of information on a sequel. I could not be happier to read this posting! I almost want to wake my daughter up to tell her. She’s going to be ecstatic. We finished, “ The Mad Wolf’s Daughter” this evening. She immediately stated that she needed more.
    We won our copy through a drawing on the Mighty Girl website. It came with various goodies including a sword. The sword and the signed copy of the book are prized possessions in our home. This book has awakened a spirit of adventure and a thirst for reading that no other book has. Thank you for sharing your gift of storytelling with us. We’ll be first in line for the sequel!

    • Diane

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad that you and your daughter have enjoyed Drest’s tale. Yes, there’s more, and it will be coming out next spring. The publication date hasn’t been finalized yet, but it should be in less than a year. Please tell your daughter that I love swords too (as she might have guessed!) and I hope she’s having fun with the sword she won! I’d love to know if she’s named it. 🙂

      • Laura Wright

        This is Laura Wright’S daughter. I’m Margaret. I did name my sword. I named it Leo because we had a cat named Leo and he was very mean. I named it after him because he died a long time ago. I called him Leo the brave but mean warrior. By the way I love the mad wolfs daughter.❤️ I can’t wait for the next one!

        • Diane

          Hi, Margaret! I love that you named your sword after your cat! And Leo sounds like the perfect cat to name a sword after. And I’m so glad you enjoyed my book! The next one, fingers crossed, will be out in March next year. I’m working on the final edits and it has a lot of new adventures for Drest and her friends. Thanks for leaving a comment, and have fun with Leo the sword!


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