How to Be a Plotter and a Pantster: Webinar July 26, 2021

In my January newsletter I addressed the age-old either-or debate about writing style—plotting out your work before writing (plotters) or writing by the seat of your pants (pantsters)—and attempted to rebrand them as navigators and wanderers. Briefly explaining the differences between the two and confessing I’m a chronic navigator, I then touched on the benefits …

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Takeaways from a Novel Retreat, Handling Criticism, and More

Are you a subscriber to The Art-Committed Life newsletter? If not, here's what you've missed in the last two issues. Volume 2, Issue 4 features three key takeaways from a recent week-long novel retreat offered by the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Also provided is a list of key craft books recommended by retreat faculty …

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Using All Five Senses in Your Creative Writing (and more)

  We know we're supposed to show, not tell, in our fiction and creative nonfiction. You could argue a better way to put it is that we're supposed to not just show (suggesting visual description) but help the reader fully experience the moment. I explore that in the latest Art-Committed Life newsletter. The "and more" …

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Thoughts on “Writing While Black”

As more and more examples of systemic racism surface in the wake of the resurgent #BlackLivesMatter movement, a skilled writer has chronicled her own challenges as a Black fiction writer in a world largely comprised of white readers, agents, editors and publishers. Laura Warrell's "Writing While Black" in the Los Angeles Review of Books moved …

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Would you like to beta-read an urban fantasy novel?

UPDATE (August 17, 2019): I'm so grateful for the individuals who reached out and agreed to be beta readers. I'm good for now, so anyone finding this post is off the hook. Can't wait to get feedback! -------------- It's a big ask, hoping someone takes the time to read a novel you're writing, with nothing …

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Point of View: Did You Choose the Right One?

There's a great SNL skit from a few years ago where Tina Fey plays a rather trashy woman speaking into the camera to someone she knows: "I saw you on House Hunters. You picked the wrong house, bitch!" Without the vitriol, I find myself thinking that sometimes while reading a novel about the author's choice of point …

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Three Lessons I Learned While Writing a Novel First Draft

So the retreat to the Mojave Desert paid off, and I've now officially completed the first draft of my novel-in-progress. I started outlining the story this summer, and it has evolved significantly from first doodles to 110,000-word draft. As a published author and professional writer, I know the most important step is yet to come: …

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Am I The Only Writer Who Struggles With Sex Scenes?

Let me open with two confessions: 1) When I reach a sex scene in a novel I'm reading, I usually skip past it. 2) When writing fiction myself, I usually find some way to avoid writing a sex scene, even though such a scene can often be important to the plot. There. I said it. …

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What is Your Writing Process? Writing in Order

Many fiction authors seem to have a preference in writing a novel; they either must write the book in order from beginning to end, or they must follow their muse where it leads them, writing ahead as needed. It appears there is consensus among novelists for a beginning-to-end approach, however. That would be consistent with …

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What is Your Writing Process? First Drafts

A non-writer may ask you, "How is your book coming?" A fellow writer may ask you, "What draft are you on?" To the first question I usually reply, "It's going well, thanks," and then quickly change the subject. To the second, my typical response is, "It depends." Many creative writers plow through their WIP in …

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