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Please help us welcome Adiba’s Baby Girl into the world. We are volunteers, gathering baby items to help this refugee mother prepare for her new baby, and we’ve made it easy for you to help. Just go to Adiba’s baby registry at Target, checkout online by May 18, select “deliver to Adiba’s address” and we will get it, wrap it, and deliver it in time for the baby shower.
Here’s the link: tgt.gifts/Adiba-baby-girl1
Previously published on Girlfriends Book Club
Since we are discussing setting I will reluctantly work past my discomfort to share, not only how I obtained realistic details to create the manor house in my novel, but also how a sense of poetic entitlement caused me to behave badly. Ahem. (Sound of me clearing throat). I avoided arrest and have purposely omitted names in this post in order to protect myself.
Mikaela Shiffrin is a world champion downhill skier. I’m a struggling novelist. Think of it this way: she races at tremendous speed down snow-covered mountains, I mosey across pages while sitting in a cushy chair. Her body moves at 80 miles per hour while mine can spend 80 hours not moving at all. Although we both work on steep white spaces (consider the angle of the white page on the screen), how could a slowly writer like me find resonance in the words of a young super athlete?
Why do people start sentences with the word ‘so’ and why do I feel compelled to understand this linguistic trend? At first, I was only dimly aware of the word ‘so’ popping up at the beginning of non-interrogatory sentences. So, I’m not going to the party at the lake. Then I read this post on Facebook: So we had dinner at the museum.Finally, when a young woman stood at a podium and said, So we’re having a fundraising event…, I said to myself: what’s up with ‘so’?
In two days, seated around a table with my extended family, each of us will take a moment to say what we are thankful for, and I will say what I always say: my family, not because I have no imagination to vary my response from year to year, but because nothing else even comes close. But, if I were seated at, say, a Thanksgiving Dinner for Writers Only, I might venture into new gratitude territory, like: my agent, my website, and my writing sweater. Depending on how long I had the floor, I might eventually express thanks for things like the forward delete key, subtext, and yes, failure.
|Evening in the foothills of the Appalachians|
You know you are a novelist when your ideal vacation is solitary confinement in a remote location without phone or internet, where although your itinerary consists of venturing no further than your chair for ten hours, your trek takes you far into the uncharted reaches of your imagination where you entertain yourself by obsessing over fictional progeny, and where, if you don’t make some small effort, you could exist entirely on coffee, diet coke, and chardonnay. Take me away…
On the first day of my first writing class 16 people sat around a big table. The second day there were 8. By the end of the semester, four people occupied a much smaller table, and the next fall I returned to a completely new group of writers. Writers who were not scared away by the first actual writing assignment were eliminated in the feedback sessions. Lord Byron said,
“In this world of bustle and broil, and especially in the career of writing, a man should calculate upon his powers of resistance before he goes into the arena.”
Outlines generally enjoy lowlife status among writers these days, but I love them and believe they are misunderstood. As a person, I can’t get past the coffee maker in the morning without an outline. As a writer, I depend on outlines to focus my creative power and tell me where I am, where I’m going, and how I’ll get there. I recently spent Spring Break with an outline. Alone for 24 hours before family arrived, on a pressure-free beach staring at hours of profound silence that demanded nothing but breaks, I created an outline for my next novel. And now, fresh off the experience, I will explain, in Five Easy Steps, how I did it:
And How To Cure it Before National Novel Writing Month Begins
The affliction known as Writer’s Block is about to go viral with National Novel Writing Month around the corner. A week from now, writers everywhere will sit down at their computers, stare at the blank screen, and update their Facebook status to complain about creative paralysis. By mid-November,Writer’s Block will reach epidemic proportions. But is it really writer’s block? And can it be cured?
Writer’s Block occurs when emotional or intellectual demands divert mental energy.