My Words Fly Up

What You Know When You Revise

A student in my writing workshop has been working on a novel for the past year. When Vicki first presented the just-begun novel to class, she read a beautifully written prologue that followed a middle-aged man as he drove through the countryside outside of Memphis, back to where his father once had a farm. In

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Bribing Myself with Coffee

There may be a book about writing out there that doesn’t recommend writing every day, but I haven’t read it. Anne Lamott even recommends writing at the same time every day. I recommend it myself, as I wrote here. Do I practice it? No. Not since my oldest child was three or four, and that

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Beginning Again

Once a year or so, I teach a lesson in my adult writing classes called Beginnings. (I’ve written about this before, here and here.) I scour bookshelves—my own or the local bookstore’s—in search of excellent opening sentences. It’s not that easy. Many opening sentences, of fiction and nonfiction, are at least good, but too many

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The Long Process of Starting My Novel

I “started” my current novel nearly two years ago, prompted by the fact that I was nearly done with one novel—As the Crow Flies—and by a casual comment my mother made about obituaries. She was scoffing at the bland wording some obituaries used and how little they revealed of the person who had died. I

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Book Giveaway!

Who knew that getting rid of a piece of furniture in my living room would require me to organize boxes in my attic? While going through those boxes, I realized I had copies of several of my books—four romance novels and my young adult novel. They are not doing anyone any good boxed up in

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The Kind of Books I Write

I just finished reading Ann Patchett’s collection of essays, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. She ranges far in subject matter—her dog, a research trip in an RV, the LA police department—but the second essay is the one that probably would be of the most interest to writers. In “The Getaway Car,” she

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In which I blog about the days I write and the days I don’t write; about teaching about writing; about reading (which is never enough); and occasionally about music, because sometimes a three-minute song can tell as good a story as a novel.

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