My Words Fly Up

Know Thy Characters

As an editor, teacher, and writer, I always read with an eye toward learning about the writing craft. My books on writing could take flight in a strong wind, so many scraps of paper stick out of them, marking important points that I want to teach or use in my own work. The most easily

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Joyful Noise Regardless of how you celebrate–or don’t celebrate–the holiday season, the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah is an amazing, uplifting piece of music. So enjoy this flash-mob performance of it–although since this video has had more than 40 million hits on YouTube, some of you may have already seen it.

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Introducing As the Crow Flies

Starlings on Otmoor on YouTube For much longer than I want to contemplate, I have been working on a novel entitled As the Crow Flies. I wish I could spend all of my time writing, but there’s the job that brings in the money to pay for the food that the teenage children eat; and

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More Than Simple Details

I love long, lyrical descriptions in books and stories. Not necessarily Henry James, but I enjoy exact and detailed descriptions of people and places. Some readers do not. They are happy with the bare bones so they can rush on with the story. Writers vary too, some preferring to tell a reader precisely what a

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The Big Muddy

Writers have a story—or even stories—in them that are intensely personal, stories that they have to tell. Often they experienced something painful or life altering or tragic, and it sits in their gut like a river clogged with mud and weeds and dead fish. Their creativity is stopped up by this foul water—what I call

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Be Social


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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