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Showing posts from 2020

Reality, Fantasy and Writing Through Chaos

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2020 has brought with it an unusual dilemma for contemporary fiction writers. What are the odds of selling a novel set in the pandemic? The timeline for a manuscript to travel from final draft to bookstore shelf is often years. Given the rate of social, political and scientific change these days, the world will likely be a very different place by the time any story written now finds its way to readers. And then, how will readers want to remember 2020? As an inflection point? As a nightmare? Will they want, instead, to escape to freer times of decades or centuries past, or into worlds born in the imaginations of fantasy writers? Glassy-eyed from "Zoom school" and lonely from quarantine, what will it even mean to be a reader in 2021? I find myself facing this conundrum in my writing day job as well. How does one strike the right balance between acknowledging our current unique reality and offering a respite, some advice or even a laugh?   For me, right now, it comes down to my

Your Guide Today: Stephen King

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If you haven't read King's ON WRITING , treat yourself to a copy this year. Even if your TBR pile is already too high, I give you this useful nugget of King-ly wisdom.

Perhaps my favorite quote right now...

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Zadie Smith is one smart lady. Read some of her thoughts on fighting the algorithm and (short) storytelling . Better, still, take a minute to trick yourself into getting some of your own words on the page today.

Wordy Celebration #2: On My Wish List

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As we hit the midpoint of January, I'm celebrating the joy of ANTICIPATION. Here's a list of soon-to-be-released titles (and one recently published book), that I cannot wait to READ. In the YA category, we have... a rom-com charmer from an author who began writing as a teen on Wattpad:  The Upside of Falling  by Alex Light; Sherri L. Smith's  The Blossom and the Firefly , a powerful WWII romance between two Japanese teens; Lucky Caller , Emma Mills' witty contemporary debut featuring a radio broadcasting class; and The Kingdom of Back , a new historical fantasy by the unstoppable Marie Lu.          Heading over to the "grown-up" aisle, I am beyond excited for the new Emily St. John Mandel, whose Station Eleven remains on many of my top-ten lists: The Glass Hotel , coming in March. And, for those familiar with my epic carpool-Audible addiction, my next two "listens" in the queue are The Library Book  by The Orchid Thief author Susan Orlean (this

Be the Dragon

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When it comes to creative writing, metaphors can make magic. Even though I know and use metaphors with regularity, sometimes it helps me ground myself with a nice refresher definition and some sweet examples, like the ones at Grammarly . In fact, one of my favorite go-to's for fortifying my poetry muscle is Paul Fussell's dry, green tome Poetic Meter & Poetic Form . Shaped poetry is something I'll never likely write, but reading Fussell's chapter about it often points me to a new idea for free verse. Sometimes, you just gotta write a few haikus and maybe an unpublishable sonnet and... you get it. Today, I leave you with this quippy call-and-response by Dragonquest author Anne McCaffrey and, this advice to your writer self:  BE THE DRAGON.

T.G.I... FICTION!

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This isn't my best foray into Canva quote designs but I love the sentiment and I hope you do, too. You made it to Friday. Maybe it wasn't pretty. Maybe you didn't log 1,000 words a day. But did you do the laundry, feed the family, help out a friend, get the day job done? Did you read a great book or article? Were you able to squeeze out a few paragraphs of your own here or there? Are you, regardless of character count, still dreaming? Then count yourself a winner.  Boat or no boat, TODAY. YOU. ROCK!

The First Monday in January

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The great, compelling and prolific speculative fiction writer Lois McMaster Bujold penned these choice words. And, as we go back to work, school or whatever reality awaits us today, let's hold on to this truth and put our own fresh words on the page... even if the day job is long and the grocery line is longer. Hold tight and keep dreaming. PS: Not that any of us need another giant time-suck in our lives but Canva is an incredibly quick, fun, Insta-friendly way to jazz up your favorite quotations.

Stay True to Yourself

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For the first installment of this month's promised "Wordy Celebrations," may I point you to the wonderful writings of Barbara Dee .       Barbara stopped by my blog way back in 2016 to celebrate the publication of her middle grade novel, TRUTH OR DARE, and has gone on to publish many more amazing, award-winning books. At the time, she was also kind enough to speak to the challenge of balancing career with craft. You can read her thoughts here . My short interview with Barbara was part of a series I titled "Mid-Career Mondays" but, as it turns out, Barbara was only warming up. She's got a new book in the works, to be published in 2021 by Simon & Schuster -- and you can keep up with her other book-tastic adventures on Twitter . Cheers to inspiring stories like this one and stay tuned for Pithy Quotation #2, coming soon!

Happy New Year

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We’ve arrived. Yes, it’s 2020, where everything should be perfectly clear. Our new decade looks likely to begin with a year of bad 20/20 vision puns. We’re “out with the old” which, in 2020, means post-holiday clearance sales and trendy weight loss plans. And why yes, I am a cynic. Funny you should ask. But now, in all seriousness, I lay my judgmental snarkitude, general pessimism and anti-romantic nature aside to make a contribution to my writer friends this January: A month of pithy quotations  and wordy celebrations Above is PITHY QUOTATION #1. It's partly cliche and partly good advice. Have a manuscript that's been languishing for (okay, let's just admit it) years in a state of partial completion? DO NOT open that document today. Start a fresh file, a fresh page. I don't mean you have to let go of all of your characters or your plot or your theme. Just, for TODAY, make a NEW contribution to your work. Don't rely on what you've written, re
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