My book club friends and I were drinking wine and talking about This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. In the first few chapters she talks mostly about being a writer. At one point she mentions people who ask her to write "their book," and discusses whether everyone has (at least) one book in them.
Many people seem to believe this idea. Patchett does not, and... Read More
A student recently said she was triggered by a fifteen-point quiz she took. She became depressed because she felt she wasn't as prepared for the test as she would have liked to have been. It wasn't even the test that threw her into a depression slump. She knew the test was just the "last straw" in a long line of big things she was not consciously aware of. But she didn't feel like she could tell anyone about how depressed she felt because the only reason she could give was that "stupid little quiz." Read More
Most writers have heard that building a platform is important to publishing and selling books. Generally this means having a Twitter and/or Facebook presence--at the least--and blogging. It's all about that "M" word we love to hate and it's about developing a relationship with our audience (otherwise known as marketing base). Building a platform is also about performing literary citizenship. Supporting the literary community itself and the art it produces is a good way to grow an audience for everything literary. Why is that important? Read More
Today is the anniversary of the death of one of my literary heroes, Virginia Woolf. What is particularly tragic is the manner of her death. After leaving a note for her husband, she filled her pockets with stones and walked into a river, drowning herself. Despite the weight of the stones, it took a commitment not to walk back out of the river. Read More
I'm planning on using all or part of Act I of my novel as my writing sample when applying to low-residency MFA programs, or maybe not. It gives gatekeepers an opportunity to judge my novel writing abilities, and I can leave them wanting more by ending the sample at a critical moment in the story. This could work for or against me. Read More
If you've read my blog you know I'm having a love affair with Scrivener. If you want to know why read this.
However, you'll understand why I considered getting a divorce when at 0430 (after several all-nighters) I synced the only copy of my novel (after days of revisions) with SimpleNote and lost EVERYTHING--the partial, the notes, the research, the cards, the outline.... (You can do it all with Scrivener.) And I had no file back-up. Read More
I'm writing a novel in which several of my characters interact closely so I've been thinking about character development. There are plenty of lists and software programs that lead writers through creating traits, history, personality type inventories, and even psychological disorders. Here's one. Here's another. Read More
I am intrigued with the idea that like the stories we write with words, we are also writing our own and others' lives--with our words, yes, but also with our actions, our glances, and sometimes with our inactions. We are always creating, whether or we wish to or not. The things we choose to pay attention to, and the judgments we make of these things, create the person we will be in the next moment. Read More
When you move your website to something with the potential to be more than just a blog you get to decide whether you want to link to your blog or start over... or use both blog spaces. Read More