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December 16, 2013



What a fascinating career. I can't even imagine how you would try to teach someone that skill, but clearly 2E is making money at it (one assumes).

And congrats on The Wrong Girl making yet another list. No surprise to me. ;)

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Awww...thank you, dear Kristopher!

Yeah, he says he teaches classes in it for various companies. I'd
love to know how--I bet it's a wonderful exercise in imagination and trust.

Edie Dykeman

What a great story. You never know who drive you crazy on a plane, or who will end up blessing you with their insight and knowledge. I came over from your Facebook link, and enjoyed the article. Glad everything worked out for you.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Oh,Edie, you are SO right! And thank you...


Charlaine Harris

Usually I don't want to talk to people, either, Hank. You lucked out! What an interesting conversation.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Yeah, it's kind of an interesting choice..we can choose to try to protect ourselves, and have some delightful privacy.

But are we closing ourselves off to new experiences?

Still, sometimes that's a good thing. You never know. xoxoo

Sherry Harris

Thanks for posting the link to this on Facebook! I get to distracted to work very well when I fly. It's a great time for me to read short stories.


Lovely story, Hank. And yes I think those publicity-type thoughts too! Recently I was editing a printed out draft on a long flight and because the guy next to me was getting a crick in his neck reading over my shoulder, I just started passing the paged to him once I'd finished. Then he passed one back because I'd missed a typo! I got his name for the acknowledgements and I count him as a new reader.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Thanks, Sherry! Funnny--planes are so chaotic and distracting,true, but I can work well on them because somehow I can block it all out and get really focused.

Hope all is well with you!



Ah, those angles surrounding you . . . all the time! (I once saw a sign requesting angel parking only ;-)
I'm glad the lovely man broke through the work to give you his inspiring message. Emergent solution design may join my lexicon, with eclectic and gloriously imperfect.
** My own lessons of the week, a reminder to "walk like a penguin" but reassurance that tai chi and aqua have made me more flexible (already posted on Facebook). . .
Saturday I fell in the driveway, careless when I went out for the paper.  I'm just a bit sore (and happen to be seeing Dr. Albers today), but thinking about the almost identical fall in the police station what had me in agony for weeks . . .  perhaps just luck and a thick coat, but I think some credit goes to the exercise and lower weight.  

I did find a way to make the best of it:

Plop Quiz
Falling backward in the snow,
What to do?
Accidental snow angel.

Godfrey Coppinger As she slipped in snow.. on the way down angels came... softening the fall.
I like it! Gerald Fierst says if you do good in the world, the angels will help you when you need them.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Catriona, that's hilarous! What a good sport you are, and he is, too. And you both win!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Oh, my gosh, Mary. I almost just burst into tears.

The angels (angles?) came. I believe it.

ANd angel parking only? I'd hang around to see who drove it, wouldn't you??

HOpe the doc says you are fine..xoo and walk carefully!

(I fell on the marble stairway of a Dallas hotel last week--a combination of high heels, no adrenaline and two huge tote bags. Angel Dan Stashower aaved me, very gallantly. I have a HUGE gash and bruise. Sigh.)

Jess Lourey

I love the term "emergent solution design." I suppose it's easier to get funding for it than if you call it "pantsing." ;)

Us plotters need a marketing team so good.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Exactly Jess! I explained that to him-and he was laughing like crazy. And of cours,it's exactly the same thing. Just with a cooler polysyllabic name.

Cindy Compton

Great story, Hank. I project the bubble as well..or try anyway...but it usually works. Do you any type of writing tool for organization, plotting, etc.? Just curious. Take care, and watch those angles ;)

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hmm. Cindy. You made me think. But no, I guess, I don't really.

I do keep a chart of the novel, scene by scene. I add to the chart only AFTER the scene is written, though. It has the day of the week, what day it is in the novel "day 2," time of day, POV character, and any major event that happens. ("Thorley confesses")

But in advance, do I plot or lay out the story? No.

(The publisher requires a story synopsis, so I generally just make something up, and then see what happens when I actually write the book. I never refer to that synopsis again. BUT I will admit, I like it for how it gets my brain going.)

Kathy Waller

A great thing that happened to me recently? I read this post.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Aw, Kathy! Thank you! (And that's another great thing for me!)

Tom Barclay

I've always like geometry and trig, as well as writing. I have no problem believing angles watch out for me.


What a great story, Hank. You and Catriona are better sports than I know how to be. I get a little (a lot) grumpy in situations like this. Have to work on that.

Elena Dorothy Bowman

I couldn't help but smile at the story Hank. When I start writing I have no idea where I'm going or what the ending will be. But as I continue to write the words just pour out and continue on until the ending finally shows itself. Thanks for the great story. Loved it!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Tom, brilliant! So funny. Now you have my undivided attention- That adds up to a good thing, and that can only multiply! (Sine of the times?)

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Lori, I'm sure you are not grumpy...xoxoo

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Elena--"til the ending finally shows itself"! Perfectly put..and its a joy when it happens, that's for sure. I wish you many happy endings!

Leslie Budewitz

Ah. I shall be practicing emergent solution design with a vengeance the next 24 hours! Thanks for a wonderful new phrase and image!

Donna Gough

Hank, great post! I think sometimes we work so hard to force our own luck that it's easy to not be open right away to serendipity and chance encounters.

Two nice things happened to me this weekend, since you're asking for that! :)

The first nice thing was that I had coffee with another Guppie, first time I'd met a Gup in person (as opposed to online). She's very involved in the Gups and runs the online courses (EB Davis). It was great to meet her and very inspiring to hear of all the great things that the Gups and Sisters do with and for each other. As a newbie, I'm grateful that I found you all and am looking forward to meeting even more folks!

Second nice thing happened at one of our favorite local wineries. Earlier this year, I'd chatted with someone there about carrying my book in their winery (Handy Guide to VA Wineries), but then things kind of petered out, for whatever reason. On Sunday, though, the winery manager recognized me ("You're the one who wrote that winery guide!") and gave me her card, saying she wants to re-engage on it. Don't know if it'll work out, but you never know until you try!

Best wishes for a great holiday, Hank!

Jim Jackson

Emergent solutions design -- what as a math guy I used to call solution by successive approximation. Now I have a fancier name for how I think. Like you, Hank, I do not know my ending or even who the really bad person is until I get there.

But I take a step (write a scene) and think I know where that might take me and write another scene, taking a step toward the anticipated solution and so the process continues until the end is reached.

The path is never straight, but never retreats either. Sometimes it may take a gentle curve, but more often ends up with a discontinuity -- the big surprise -- and as long as it makes sense, then I know I'm good.

Plotters will never really understand how pantsers work and vice versa.

Have a great holiday, Hank. Jan says to say 'hi.'

Diane Vallere

Saw this on the guppies loop and raced right over. I expected this story to end much differently! I guess sometimes we need to tune into our surroundings instead of ourselves. Congrats on the bestseller list!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Great, Leslie! I hope that means you are nearing the end of your next book--cannot wait to read it! LOVE Death Al Dente!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Solution by successive approximation. Fascinating, Jim!

The path never retreats..you mean--the action goes forward? I think about that all the time..

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Oh, Diane, I'd adore to know what you thought the ending would be!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Donna..thank you so much! Keep me posted, okay? I am so eager to her what happens next...xpx

and we know when we "work hard to force our own luck"--that NEVER works!

Hope our paths cross in person soon! Always love to meet a Guppy!

Susan M. Boyer

Oh my stars, Hank! I nearly always put up my invisible "I'm really a nice person but please don't talk to me" shield on a plane. I can totally relate. But what a great conversation. I love this idea--fascinating. Huge congrats on the bestseller list!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Thank you, Susan! xooo
See you soon..


Hank, first I can't help commenting on your so-sexy photo on this post. I haven't seen that one and it may be my favorite photo of you yet.
Something nice happened to me last week when a student in the college course I teach came up at the last class and thanked me. She said that a news story I had written about her and her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, specifically about how her mother changed her diet and is a survivor, had inspired her mother to possibly write. Through some unusual circumstances, her mother ended up sitting in on one of my classes. She said her mother shared the story I wrote about them for the newspaper with anyone she heard had been diagnosed with cancer.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Cathy--that is such a lovely story. And shows you, right? How we never now what difference we'll make in people's lives..

(And thank you for the kind words!)

Jan Godown Annino

A big salute on the BG best seller X3 Hank.

Love this airs above the ground (way above ground) lesson.

Gobs of great things happening in my world - beginning with beloved family who traveled & close friends to hug, at Holidays.

And I recently won a cute short story booklet on another Guppy blog (Saints and Trees) so how great is that? Major great in my book, as it fits perfectly into my stash of Christmas books.

And so so sweet of you to share the angels surrounding note. melts the heart.


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