Tag Archive 'writing'

Between a Blog and a Hard News Cycle

How Do You Know If You Can Say No to NaNo?

The Internet has mutated reasonable people into wannabe writers…We are blind to the harsh truth-light-radiating facts such as ‘half of self-published authors earn less than $500’, facts written about in newspapers by professional writers.

That’s Tom Mitchell (@tommycm on Twitter) writing an essay at Medium, War on #amwriting. I must thank my colleague in London, Sheila Bounford, for reminding me of it. It could have been lost in the Bavarian Ether: [...]

Interview: Ellen Edwards, Executive Editor at Penguin Random House

I have been with Ellen Edwards at New American Library, a division of Penguin Random House, since I became a traditionally published author. In an age where writers often lament that they do not get edited, I can firmly say that not only do I get edited, but Ellen’s sharp eye, brilliance, and insights have greatly enhanced my work. She is a master at finding the diamond in the rough, and like any great coach, she encourages me to grow and learn [...]

Two Pages Tell a Story

By Hana Carpenter (Flickr CC)

Today’s guest is Yona Zeldis McDonough, the award-winning author of six novels, most recently You Were Meant for Me. She is also the author of twenty-three books for children and she’s the editor of two essay collections. Of today’s post, Yona says: “I have written six novels and I want to share some of what I have learned along the way.  Writing a novel is a like being a long distance runner—you have to have endurance. [...]

Pre-Writing: Discovering Your Character’s Secrets

Alice Popkorn, Flickr Creative Commons

I know a lot of you out there are gearing up for NaNoWriMo, and while you’re not allowed to begin your story until November 1, you are allowed to do pre-writing on your project, and frankly, I think pre-writing is highly undervalued, so I thought I’d talk about it this month.

The reason I’m a big believer in pre-writing is because until I have a glimmer of understanding of my character’s emotional landscape and internal settings, [...]

Newton’s Third Law of Writing

Flickr Creative Commons: Geoff Ackling

Newton’s Third Law of Writing

 

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

 

Take a look at this passage from a workshop submission.  It’s set in the depths of the depression.  Mary Ruth and her family have just moved into a poor neighborhood, and she’s out walking past a home where two vicious dogs are tied outside:

 

     Mary Ruth slowed when she noticed a third rope tied around an old, leaning tree on the [...]

O, Brave New (Adult) World!

“Emergence” by Alice Popkorn (Flickr)

Today’s guest is Lorin Oberweger. Lorin has been an independent editor and story development coach for almost twenty years, and her company Free Expressions also offers some of the country’s most highly regarded writing workshops. Lorin and New York Times Bestselling Author Veronica Rossi—writing together as Noelle August—are launching their new adult trilogy this month, beginning with the novel Boomerang. Says Lorin, “Noelle August is an anagram for Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger. Just kidding, it’s [...]

Stroke Clinic

By Atos, Flickr Creative Commons

Our guest today is Marybeth Whalen, author of five novels. The newest one The Bridge Tender releases this month and brings readers back to Sunset Beach, North Carolina. Marybeth is the cofounder of the popular site, She Reads.

I am passionate about the craft of writing and encouraging other writers in that craft.

She and her husband Curt have been married for twenty-two years and are the parents of six children—ranging in age from college to elementary [...]

It’s a Secret! (Or Maybe Not?)

Wikimedia Commons

When I first started writing fiction, I’d freely share the specifics of whatever story I was writing.

But then…after I’d tell someone about my latest greatest idea, it would jinx me. No, I don’t mean it literally, but inevitably if I told someone what I was writing, I’d stop. Either the person would say something that deterred me—like she or he had just read a book exactly like the one I was writing—or when I said the idea out loud [...]

Letter to A Lost Boy

Flickr Creative Commons: spodzone

Dear Jake

For the past five years I’ve joked about “my stalker” – the passionate fan who began following me when he was fourteen, telling me that Just In Case changed his life.

You, in other words.

Your early emails talked about a girlfriend (who never really existed) and were breezy and cheerful, but the truth soon began to emerge.

You were a self-harmer.  You attempted suicide on numerous occasions.  You were bullied at school.  You lived with domestic violence.  [...]

Plot vs. Heart

Did you watch this year’s Super Bowl broadcast?

The demolition of the Denver Broncos by the Seattle Seahawks was a masterpiece of ferocious defense.  Denver’s golden boy quarterback Peyton Manning set a Super Bowl record for completed passes (34 of 49) but even with the help of receiver Demaryius Thomas (who himself caught a record 13 passes for 118 yards in gains) Manning could not, but once, break through Seattle’s arm-locked defensive line.

For you, what were the most exciting moments in [...]

“It’s Complicated.” (Wrong Answer.)

Photo by Matthew Schultz

I’m not sure whether to be heartened or dismayed by the number of my students and editorial clients who exhibit the same problem I routinely have as a writer.

If asked what the story is about—what the protagonist wants, why he wants it, what stands in his way—I often encounter the same creased brow and thoughtful nod I provided my own teachers, with the inevitable, “It’s complicated.”

And the response is equally inevitable: “That’s exactly the wrong answer.”

To [...]

Perfecting the Mashed Genre Recipe

Mashup by Flickr’s qthomasbower

Today’s guest Jeannie Ruesch wrote her first story at the age of the six, prompting her to give up an illustrious, hours-long ambition of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and declare that writing was her destiny. That journey to destiny took a few detours along the way, including a career in marketing and design.

Her first novel, a fairytale-like historical romance, was published in 2009, but the darker side of life had always captivated her. After a [...]