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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 […]


A Safe Place . . .

Posted January 27th, 2014 by in Blog, Pat Tales

For the past week my daughter and I have been visiting my sister in Ft. Myers, Florida. Also here is my sister’s oldest daughter, with her two young boys. Nathan is two and a half, lots of fun, and quite a handful. Well, he’s two. That says it all. Will, the baby, is only three […]


Ways To “Show” instead of “Tell”

Posted January 25th, 2014 by in Writing Tips

Critique partners, contest judges, agents and editors constantly admonish writers to “show” not “tell.” Too often this advice is interpreted by writers as the need to delete all “was” verbs in their writing. In my opinion, this is ridiculous. Yes, sometimes the deletion of a “was” verb improves the work. But a lot of the […]


In memory of . . .

Posted January 24th, 2014 by in Blog, Uncategorized

Today is the second anniversary of the passing of my husband. In some ways, this second year was harder than the first. I wouldn’t have believed that. In fact, when my attorney gave me a copy of a human interest article from the New York Times written by Jane Brody on that very subject, I […]


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 […]


It’s all in the details . . .

Posted January 20th, 2014 by in Writing Tips

“Name names. Make your writing physical. Use lots of exact nouns. ‘Food’ is an idea; ‘black-bean soup’ is a thing. Naming not only makes the writing more visceral, it makes the reader trust you. And use your own expertise, whatever ‘insider information’ you have. Use words like soffit, draw shave, spit valve.” ~ David Long Years […]


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 […]


Leaving home . . .

Posted January 17th, 2014 by in Blog, Cat Tales

Tomorrow I leave for Florida and a three-week visit with my sister. For a few days now, I have been apologizing to Jack and Cleo, who hate to be boarded. Lucky for them (and me), good friend Pat Rosen has invited them to stay at her house where they will have the company of her […]


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 […]


Cleo is a Leo . . .

Posted January 13th, 2014 by in Blog, Cat Tales

I’m convinced Cleo, my female cat, is actually a Leo, even though she was born in mid-October, which would make her a Libra. Thing is, in any group of cats, she’s the alpha. My buddy Pat Rosen, who is my cats’ second Mama and who keeps them when I’m traveling tells me Cleo is always […]