The Latest Art-Committed Life Newsletter: Plotter v. Pantser and More

In my latest Art-Committed life newsletter, I take a fresh approach to the stereotypical two types of creative, the "plotter" and the "pantser," including if they're really as different as we believe. I also provide great news about a fiction writer featured in a past issue, and share an update of my own creative journey. …

Continue reading The Latest Art-Committed Life Newsletter: Plotter v. Pantser and More

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" …

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

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 …

Continue reading Thoughts on “Writing While Black”

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 …

Continue reading Point of View: Did You Choose the Right One?

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: …

Continue reading Three Lessons I Learned While Writing a Novel First Draft

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. …

Continue reading Am I The Only Writer Who Struggles With Sex Scenes?

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 …

Continue reading What is Your Writing Process? Writing in Order

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 …

Continue reading Writing Nonfiction to Read Like Fiction

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 …

Continue reading Celebrating an Escape into Fiction

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 …

Continue reading A Pearl of Wisdom for Fiction Writers