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How to Recognize the Finish Line

photo adapted / Horia Varlan A story a dancer once told me: It’s opening night. Six dancers wait in the wings, nerves taut. Their entrance is imminent—the overture has begun and they are counting the music—when the choreographer, heeding an infamous penchant for change, rushes over to them aflame with …

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What a Cathedral is Not

Flickr Creative Commons: spec.B Have you ever walked into a Medieval cathedral? Architecturally speaking, they are engineering marvels.  Heavy stone buttresses support soaring vault arches of many types: barrel, groin, rib, fan. Cathedrals have many parts, each offering a different experience of the divine.  There is the narthex in which …

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Tipping Points (and also: VOTE)

It’s Election Day in the U.S., which you surely know unless you’re living under a sound-proof stone that hasn’t been picked up and thrown at someone. Hard to believe that a few short years ago many of us rarely expressed controversial opinions, choosing to be ‘polite’ rather than overtly ‘political,’ …

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16.67 Ways to Juice Your Daily NaNoWriMo Word Count

image by Pierre Metivier The best thing and the worst thing about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is the relentlessness of your daily word count goal. You don’t have to write 1667 words a day, of course, but if you want to get to 50,000 words by the end of …

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Odyssey Writing Workshops

ODYSSEY ONLINE One of the top writing workshopsin the world offers online classes! LIVE, INTENSIVE, INTERACTIVE Only once per year.Only three classes.Only 14 students per class.Don’t miss out! 1. Riveting Descriptions: Bringing Your Story to Life in the Reader’s Mind Taught by award-winning author & editor Lucy A. Snyder 2. …

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Five Reasons Not to do NaNoWriMo

We’re three days into November. Or, as many of think about it, three days into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Cathy wrote a great post yesterday about trusting your gut during NaNoWriMo. Today I thought I’d write a post about the reasons you shouldn’t do NaNoWriMo at all. Now, to …

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Should You Trust Your Gut?

Photo by NOAA Photo Library As we dive into National Novel Writing Month, I’m reminded that writing is a highly intuitive practice, way more of an art than a science. That said, especially in the crucible of something like NaNo, it’s easy to lose perspective, which is why going in …

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Playing Dress-Up

Originally posted to Flickr as Girl. By Ray_from_LA Yesterday was Halloween, which in addition to the trick-or-treaters and piles of candy, seems to call out some very strong opinions, especially all over social media. People who love Halloween and people who hate it. I’m probably somewhere in the middle, myself. …

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Writing What Scares Us: Awakening the Monster Inside

Photo credit: mythja A few months before The Fifth Petal came out, my agent remarked that she hadn’t been able to read the manuscript before bed because of the nightmares it invariably provoked. Her statement shocked me, as I didn’t consider it a very scary book. It was definitely dark, …

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What’s in a Name? The Case for Pseudonyms

Authors have used pseudonyms, or pen-names, since the beginning of well, authorship. It’s fairly likely ‘Homer’ wasn’t the real name of the poet who wrote the Odyssey and the Iliad—but nobody knows for sure! Famous authors as varied as Mary Anne Evans (George Sand), Eric Blair (George Orwell), Theodore Geisel …

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