In writing, as in life, there are helpful shortcuts and harmful ones. Life is busy. We all want to save time, get done faster, be as efficient as possible. But sometimes taking shortcuts can backfire. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to carry more than I know is reasonable, just to save … Continue reading Writing Shortcuts: Dos and Don’ts
“It’s amazing, in this game played on a 120 yard field, how many times inches make games.” This is the statement Cris Collinsworth said during the Sunday Night Football Game I was watching last night. The Packers were playing, down, and almost out of opportunities to tie up the game. It’s not the first time … Continue reading Use Small Details to Strengthen a Story
I recently read the book The Fiction Editor, the Novel, and the Novelist by Thomas McCormack. Although the book was aimed primarily at editors, I found a lot of thought provoking material as a writer. Lately I've been thinking a lot about this quote from the book: “[A writer] must realize that he doesn't have … Continue reading Write for You
There are a lot of writing absolutes floating around the internet. “You must write every day to be a real writer.” (Yeah, no.) “True artists use pen and paper.” (Nope. Nope. Nope.) “Showing is better than telling.” (Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.) We crave these absolutes. We live in the gray area between Definitely-Yes and Definitely-No, … Continue reading Showing vs. Telling: The Whole Story Approach
Next Tuesday, my sophomore novel, Paper Chains, will be released into the world. In the weeks ahead, I’ve got school visits, a book festival, a writing conference, a library event, and the high-profile privilege of being interviewed by a fourth grader (one of the perks of writing for kids.) This particular fourth grader asked some really … Continue reading Story Soup -or- Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
I recently asked friends on social media what they’d most like to know about writing—the most popular response had to do with writing a book. How do you start? What do you do when you’ve finished? Since we’re heading into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the beginning seems like a very good place to start. … Continue reading So You Want to Write a Novel?
Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I define myself as a writer? We all ask ourselves these questions from time to time. Self-reflection is inevitable when we face frequent rejections and pour so much of our hearts onto the page for the sake of art. Our personal and creative identities … Continue reading Exploring Your Writing Identity