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Writing

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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Words When There Are No Words

Some things cannot be captured in words.  The high of a rock concert.  The terror of teetering atop a cliff.  The dreamy wonder of a distant train whistle at night.  The arms-in-the-air elation in a stadium when the home team scores a goal.  Finding faith.  Such moments outrun the utility …

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Losing Your North Star

Photo by Artem Saranin, Pexels License In what now seems another lifetime, back when I first began to share my desire to be a novelist, a dear friend made a powerful observation. She lamented that writing must be extremely hard, citing not publishing perils or the financial challenge, as one might …

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Changed Perceptions Equals Character Growth

Flickr Creative Commons: jechstra I left home at sixteen and spent the next two decades hemming and hawing when asked where I was from. Upon hearing I’d lived in nine different places before I was three, most people assumed my entire childhood was equally nomadic, a perception I rarely corrected. …

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Interview with Anjali Mitter Duva

In the publication world, there’s a tremendous amount of focus on the publication date as THE time for publicity and promotion. I’ve seen authors throw up their hands the week after publication, when media interest is just starting to trickle in, and say, “I guess we struck out.” As I’ve …

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