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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Writing Nonfiction to Read Like Fiction

Memoirs are supposed to be languid reflections of a notable life lived, correct? So how would you describe Cheryl Strayed's runaway bestseller Wild, coming soon as a movie to a theater near you starring Reece Witherspoon? Strayed shares in her memoir insights on a failed marriage, grief over a lost mother, and pain stemming from a …

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Celebrating an Escape into Fiction

News flash: A compelling novel can magically transport you to another world. Apparently this lifelong reader needed that reminder this past weekend. I've been feeling creatively underpowered, as I've written, but I've also been physically unwell and busier than usual at my day job. So this weekend I traveled to a dystopian future world called …

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A Pearl of Wisdom for Fiction Writers

Allow me to share with you a nugget for my readers who are fiction writers. This is from an essay on the great Victorian novelist George Eliot by Joseph Epstein, from his recently published essay collection Essays in Biography: One of the modern fiction workshop laws is that a writer should always show and never …

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