Everyone Has a Story to Tell

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...

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Mental Illness is Life Threatening

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."

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Should Doctors With No Knowledge of the Female Body Be Allowed to Practice Medicine?

In an article appearing in the Army Times, by Garance Burke from The Associated Press, about the problems the Veterans Administration (VA) has in caring for female veterans, the head of the VA's Office of Women's Health "...acknowledges that persistent shortcomings remain in caring for the 390,000 female vets seen last year at its hospitals & clinics -- despite an investment of more than $1.3 billion since 2008, including the training of hundreds of medical professionals in the fundamentals of treating the female body." 
But women have been seen at veterans hospitals and clinics since at least the Korean and Vietnam War eras. Are you telling me they were seen by medical personnel that knew nothing about the female body and were hardly aware that women are veterans too? Many female veterans from earlier eras as well as current eras have anecdotal evidence that this is indeed the case.
It begs the question, should medical personnel, especially doctors, who know nothing about treating the female body even be allowed to practice medicine?
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Why Writers Need Social Media (It's More Than Marketing)

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?

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When Writing Gets Difficult: Chasing Perfection

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. 

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Getting Lost With Scrivener

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.

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Thinking About Character Development

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 oneHere's another.

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The Things We Write

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.

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