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Writing

Finding My Voice—So Easy. So Hard.

I’m currently rereading an old favorite: Last of the Amazons, by Steven Pressfield. I’ve always known the book is seminal to my own work, but oddly I haven’t revisited it in many years. I’m starting to feel like the lengthy interim has been serendipitous. Experiencing the book again after all …

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The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday

David Corbett isn’t just a generous WU contributor, he’s the award-winning author of the writing guide The Art of Character (“A writer’s bible” – Elizabeth Brundage) and six novels. His short fiction has been selected twice for Best American Mystery Stories, and his non-fiction has appeared in the New York …

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Gas-X for Writers** – Results May Vary

photo credit: Rob Albright “Paperback Writer” The writing life is a whole shit-ton of guessing and experimenting and hoping, and then finding someone to tell us that we stink in some places and are pretty brilliant in others. Knowing what prose to keep and what to toss is subjective—at least …

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Success–Taking the Long (No, Longer Than That!) View

image by alice popkorn There has been a lot of chatter in the Twitterverse lately about sales numbers, hitting the lists, debuts, sales expectations, and (the often inevitable) disappointment. Writing a book is hard. Getting that book published? Harder still. Maintaining a career in publishing? Probably hardest of all. There …

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Creating Pockets of Story: Expand Inward

photo adapted / Horia Varlan In college, I was in a dance improvisation company that gave me a healthy appreciation of the way constraining creativity can help it move forward. Our on-the-spot performances were informed by suggestions from the audience. It usually went something like this. “What would you like …

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Finding the Tribe that Fuels Your Writing

Have you ever felt stuck in your isolation as a writer or mired in the world of your story? For months, I revised my novel and tried to turn it into the best version of itself but something was missing. I hadn’t explored the fullness and complexity of what it …

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The Writer’s Real Enemies

image by Balazs Szabo Talking with a group of aspiring writers recently, I was struck by how many of them felt like everyone in the publishing world was against them. “Why are agents so narrow-minded about what they want?” one asked. The frustration was nothing new — anyone who’s spent …

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Authors are Like Magic

As many people know, I’m a big fan of Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series of books. (If you haven’t read them, it’s worth pointing out that they’re very, very different to the movies.) I started reading them to my sons many years ago now, but I’m pretty …

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How to Write Fiction That’s Fresh

My agent recently had a confab with a number of editors in New York, all from various houses. I can’t tell you the details of which house wants what (she’d kill me) but I can say this: what everyone is looking for is something fresh. They want the unique, the …

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What Motherhood Has (and Hasn’t) Changed About My Writing

My daughter, who I refer to as IB. The first time my husband and I talked about having kids, we were in our early 20s, not yet married, and the idea of starting a family felt so far away it might as well have been on the planet Jupiter. But …

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