General, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

The First Book

Congratulations. You’ve written a novel. Your first. It’s no longer a thing “you’d like to do someday,” it’s a thing you did. The End. You just wrote that, and it made you smile. Family members barely recognize you. Where’s the sullen, contentious, lost, confused, un-showered, frustrated writer-wannabe they’d come to expect every time you crawled out of your writing cave into the real world to briefly consider eating food that doesn’t come out of a plastic bag? She’s gone. That was the exhausted, mud-caked, sweaty Basic Training writer; the “I’m going to finish this thing if it kills me” writer. You’re not her anymore. You’re a Bonafide Author…

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Beyond Categorization, My Thoughts, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

#amwaiting

When the language gods sat down at their very expensive polished maple conference table to decide which term to use for the art of putting words together to tell stories, “writing” wasn’t their first choice. “Bloodletting” actually had the most up-votes and was likely to get the nod. But then one of the lesser gods – the one everyone mistakenly called Vern – felt compelled to mention how similar “writing” was to “waiting,” which they’d already determined would mean “excruciatingly long pauses where nothing appeared to be happening.” While he was publically showing his support for the already-popular idea of eliminating “writing” from…

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General, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

How to Write a Novel

You’re going to need an idea. It can be a clever plot. Something about uncontrollable magic or unpredictable mayhem or unconventional love. Or maybe your idea is a character. Someone who stands out. Someone who blends in. Someone who lives in a coffee house attic. Someone whose feet never touch the ground. Okay, now the hardest part: You must write a sentence. Any sentence will do (yes, even a sentence fragment) because you’ll probably change it a hundred times anyway. Here, I wrote some for you: The monkey never saw it coming. Halfway between the sky and the sidewalk, she realized she had forgotten how to fly. His favorite…

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About Me, My Favorite Things, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

The Fault in Our Stares

If Neil Gaiman walked into this coffee shop, I’d be starstruck. I’m not easily starstruck. As I slog through the latter part of middle age, I just don’t have the energy to drum up enthusiasm for the common celebrity. Confession: I haven’t read Entertainment Weekly in years. Last summer I visited the set of the new Zach Braff movie (coming to theaters near you this July – and depending on the edit, starring me in one scene as a blurry background extra) and was non-plussed by the famously tanned faces that wandered in and out of the virtual frame. My favorite part of…

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Meaningless Drivel, My Thoughts, Uncategorized

Spinning

The earth is spinning on its axis at 1000 miles an hour while it whips around the sun at  67,000 miles per hour. And I can’t keep up. I know what you’re thinking. I don’t need to. The earth is going to do its thing regardless of my thing and thanks to the magic of physics, we don’t even have to hang on. But I’m not here just for the ride. I want to stand on the leading edge and see the sunrise before it knows its colors. I want to stick my toes out as we cross into autumn,…

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Editing, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

The Weight of Your Words

I love my computer*. Let me say that up front, in case it thinks otherwise and decides to unflash its memory. But I have fond (if only for the purpose of this post) memories of a time when writing hurt more than it does today. Oh sure, we have carpal tunnel syndrome and baked sperm syndrome (well, some of us, anyway), but those are fancy aches. Yesterday, a writer’s pain was blue-collar. It was immediate and visceral. Remember writer’s cramp? Now that was a pain you could feel. It started somewhere between thumb and forefinger, then exploded up the arm…

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The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

So What?

Right now, you’re thinking one of these things: “My novel sucks.” “What if no one buys my book?” “I got a one-star review!” “I got a hundred five-star reviews!” “I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a writer.” And right now, I’m thinking this: So what? Does your novel suck? Maybe. Maybe not. Some of the best books I’ve edited arrived from the author with a side of Severe Doubt. “It might make you ill.” It didn’t. Conversely, some of the worst books I’ve edited arrived from the author with a side of Unwarranted Confidence. “I…

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