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Musings

posted on: Jul 12 2020

Revising—A Primer

  First drafts are rotten little beasts. They just don’t behave. They do what they want, and give you lots of lip in the bargain. Revising tames the beast and can, with work, make a beauty. So how do we affect this glorious transformation? First, we drop the hyperbole...

posted on: Jul 12 2020

My Other Keyboard

Staying home means finding ways to stay happy and sane. Even with cold summer weather, there’s the garden; another book to read; not to mention another one to write. But sometimes I need to get away from pages and screens and stretch my brain another...

posted on: Jan 08 2020

A Typical Writing Day

This essay originally appeared in my (small press) writing day   I come into my office each morning with one goal—to calm the chaos in my head. I don’t sleep well these days, probably my body telling me I need fewer hours in the sack—and what I’m...

posted on: Dec 22 2019

Why We Need Perry Mason Now More Than Ever

originally published in Medium|culture   I used to watch Perry Mason on television a lot when I was a kid. I loved the edgy black-and-white film; the unlikely plots; the relentless drive for truth. Not to mention the cars. What ten year-old girl immersed in rerun after...

posted on: Oct 22 2019

Book Publishing – A Few Things I’ve Learned

This essay also appeared in The Startup on Medium   In the fall of 1985 I sat down at an ancient typewriter and called myself a writer. I wrote short stories, one after another, and nine years later published my first one. Eventually I collected the best...

posted on: May 27 2019

Bending Reality

  A long time ago, when I was a wild rebellious eighteen-year-old who left my mother’s home with a young man I would soon marry, I liked to experiment with LSD. Not as often as some of my generation did, but often enough to learn that...

posted on: Dec 11 2018

Looking From the Ground Up

originally published in Women Writers, Women's Books Susan Cheever, daughter of the famous author, John Cheever, once said that fiction is not a competitive sport. Also a writer, living in the shadow of her father’s reputation and achievements can’t have been easy. I believe she made...

posted on: Sep 10 2018

Is Social Media Changing How We Write?

originally published in Writer's Digest   We’ve all heard it said that readers have increasingly short attention spans. Spending time with a print medium isn’t as engaging as watching things move or interacting with content on a screen. Does this mean that we should write stories that...

posted on: Aug 23 2018

Characters and Craft – Learning to Leave Yourself Behind

originally published in Women Writers, Women's Books Literary fiction is a strange, yet compelling animal. So much emphasis on language, rhythm, imagery. And let’s not forget character. Some novels are all about the character and the mad world behind her eyes. When I started writing fiction, my...