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Category: Writing

Procrastination

There is a fat bluebird outside my office window. The shepherd’s hook on which he perches shakes under his weight. He’s eyeing the feeder that hangs below, recently filled to brimming with seeds. My writing space is in the front of our house. It’s a house we bought so that my husband could work from home–his office is tucked into the back, on the exact opposite side from where I sit, behind the garage and off the kitchen and laundry room. It has a door, but he can hear us moving around at meal times (and snack times, and washing-the-dishes times: so, all the time), and we can hear him pacing, his arms moving as he takes conference calls and leads presentations from his small space in this quiet suburb of a small city. I was lucky to commandeer the space in the front of the house–it’s a formal living room, closed off save for a narrow arched doorway to the front hall. I still haven’t painted it, though I’ve the color picked out. We hope to eventually knock a large hole…

The Secret to Writing a Character (That You’d Want to Read)

I’m reading Saoirse’s copy of A Wrinkle in Time before we see the movie next month (that’s not an ad or anything–we just really want to see the movie). She passed it off to me with an, “It’s good, Mom. I think you’ll like it,” and she’s right. I’m not a big fan of fantasy books, children’s or otherwise, but with this one the characters have drawn me in. It’s always about the characters. Women’s fiction writers are big on character: character-driven stories are cherished over plot-driven, the emotional struggles explored more than the external ones. All the Difference was quite obviously this kind of story–those big cartoon engagement rings on the cover will tell you that–but what’s funny is that I never really read a lot of women’s fiction before I realized I was writing it. And it’s because, when I sat down to read, I was looking to escape to a character who–while possessing some qualities with which I could…

Because the Best Writers are the Ones Who Stopped Thinking

The writing has been tough for me this winter. I’d been on a roll, but then suggestions from my agent stopped me in my tracks (her suggestions were spot-on. It’s just that when anybody else expresses an opinion about a project early in I tend to shut down for a couple of days. I’m sure that’s totally normal). Then when I got rolling again, I started working with a writing craft book that, while super helpful with technique and plotting, completely took me out of the story. My writing became less about the characters than it did about what I could DO with the characters, if that makes any sense. Basically, I was thinking too much instead of acting on instinct, and everybody knows that thinking too much is the best way to make sure no actual doing happens. So, that was strike two. And then Christmas happened, and then a website overhaul, and then…well, here we are. I’d been in and out of the story so inconsistently that for a while I felt like I’d struck out. I was on the DL. I&#8217…