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This Writing Life

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The One Star Club

Posted October 9th, 2016 by in Blog, This Writing Life

Today I’ve been thinking about reviews. Specifically, reviews of my books, but that led to thinking about the freedom we take for granted here in the USA — the freedom to say what we think without fear of being thrown in jail or worse. Basically, we can give our opinion anywhere, any time, about any […]

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I’ve Always Been a Writer

Posted May 23rd, 2015 by in Blog, This Writing Life

A little while ago I was reading a Facebook post by a former writing student of mine (she’s now a successful and wonderful romance author) and something she said made me start thinking about when I knew I wanted to be a writer. It’s a question I’ve often been asked, right up there with “where […]

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That all-important “C” word

Posted March 22nd, 2014 by in Blog, This Writing Life

In every class I teach, the subject of conflict is unavoidable. Truth is, no matter how knowledgeable or skillful the students, whenever there’s a problem with a scene, it’s almost always because there’s not enough conflict. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for even the best writers to plunge their characters into trouble and […]

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Keeping the Action Onstage

Posted February 4th, 2014 by in Blog, This Writing Life

A common mistake many beginning writers make is telling the reader about something important that happened instead of showing it in a scene. Case in point: most of you know that I teach various writing classes online. Recently I read the opening of one of my most talented students, a woman who has already sold […]

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Write what you know . . .

Posted February 1st, 2014 by in Blog, This Writing Life

How many times have you heard that piece of advice? A lot, right? It’s a simple statement, pretty easy to understand . . . after all, we wouldn’t want to write what we don’t know. But that oft-repeated advice almost stopped me from ever attempting to write a book. Why? Because I didn’t think I […]

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If only I had the time . . .

Posted January 29th, 2014 by in Blog, This Writing Life

Many years ago, I bought the book Madeleine L’Engle {Herself}, Reflections on a Writing Life, compiled by Carole F. Chase. What Ms. Chase did was (from the front jacket blurb) put together hundreds of L’Engle’s most illuminating statements about writing, creativity, and the writing life, including material from L’Engle’s workshops and speeches that have never been […]

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The Five Ws

Posted January 22nd, 2014 by in Blog, This Writing Life

Having worked for a newspaper, I learned early on that it’s crucial to orient your reader. As soon as possible, we were taught, we needed to let the reader know who, what, when, where, and why. And if we could also include “how,” so much the better. The same is true of fiction. Maybe not […]

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And what’s your book about?

Posted January 20th, 2014 by in Blog, This Writing Life

Awhile back I was watching a program on PBS about the Jewish influence on Broadway musicals. The discussion turned to Fiddler on the Roof and its beginning stages. “What is this story about?” the writers were asked by a potential producer. “It’s about a poor man in Russia with several daughters he hopes to find […]

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Do you really want an honest opinion?

Posted January 15th, 2014 by in Blog, This Writing Life

Over the years, I’ve sensed with a few of my students that I might have hurt their feelings and/or disappointed them if I’ve been less than totally enthusiastic about what they’ve submitted to the class. I’ve always been sorry when that happens. Publishing is a tough enough business to try to break into without having […]

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So you were rejected . . .

Posted January 7th, 2014 by in Blog, This Writing Life

Not long ago a student of mine received a rejection from an editor that included the statement that the project lacked conflict. The student was confused because she felt she had strong conflict, and lots of it. And from what she told me, it seemed she might be right. Of course, I can’t know that […]