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Author. Word gatherer. Developmental editor. Speaker. Wayfinder. Encourager.

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If I could offer writers only one piece of advice…

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Lia Purpura on teaching writers:

Here, I walk into class thinking, Really I have nothing to say to these people, the proper study of writing is reading, is well-managed awe, desire to make a thing, stamina for finishing, adoration of  language, and so on about reverie, solitude, etc. Here, sitting down, I’m going over my secret: I don’t want to be inspiring, […]

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Quick take: Use Weather Verbs

We’ve been suffering  through a series of punishing  heatwaves here in the Pacific Northwest and I’ve been longing for a rollicking thunderstorm to sweep through, spit out icy rain,  drench the place and cool the air. Oh, to be able to change the weather. Which brings us to verbs, because they add oomph to your […]

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Quick take: Aim for Messy Emotions

Storytelling must give readers an emotional experience. To bring about emotions in your readers stir in thorny situations that bring up messy emotions. By messy I mean the ones your characters have difficulty managing, perhaps would prefer not to feel or even acknowledge. Messy can also means complex–the character is feeling a troublesome brew of […]

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From Michael Cunningham: Literature is an act of seduction

The writer of fiction, no matter how edgy or unorthodox, is stuck with a simple and an unalterable truth. Literature is, inescapably, an act of seduction, whether the writer hopes to seduce millions with a story of an adolescent vampire in love, or a handful of readers, who are willing to take a darker, strange, more […]

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In Case You Missed It

Gathering of writerly tidbits from the internets Did you miss BEA this year? Think inspiring writers need to attend? Think again…here’s agent Janet  Reid ‘splaining things.  Last month I attended a luncheon at the Pennwriters Writing Conference. Lucky me, it was the amazing Jane Friedman talking about using social media to sell books. She’s a […]

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Ted Hughes on the power of words

“Because it is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words that will unlock the doors of all those many mansions inside the head and express something – perhaps not much, just something – of the crush of information that presses in on us, from the way a crow flies over and the […]

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Cristi Corbett interview

Folks, I’m happy to say that I’m adding new interviews to the site. Here’s the latest one with Christi Corbett talking about her writing process and her new novel Tainted Dreams. You can find more about Christi here.    Keep writing, keep dreaming, have  heart

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Quick tip: one trick to creating backstory

Quick Take: Every protagonist comes into a story with emotional baggage and justifications for their behaviors. These qualities and foibles, acquired over a lifetime, are also called back story. And these emotional needs, blind spots and hungers motivate the protagonist to behave the way he or she behaves. Because these behaviors are also coping mechanisms. […]

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Thought for the day

“Human vocabulary is still not capable, and probably never will be, of knowing, recognizing, and communicating everything that can be humanly experienced and felt. Some say that the main cause of this very serious difficulty lies in the fact that human beings are basically made of clay, which, as the encyclopedias helpfully explain, is a […]

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