My Writing

I have always loved mysteries. Maybe it’s because my favorite book when I was ten or so was Harriet the Spy. Actually, Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels, which a friend of my mother’s introduced me to when I was in my teens, were what really hooked me. I clearly recall walking to my local bookstore …

Writing a Mystery Read More »

A writer I know complained to me about the editing on her latest book. “Too much!” she said. “The editor changed my style!” I commiserated. As H. G. Wells noted, the urge to rewrite someone else’s words can be irresistible. I always remember the advice my first boss in publishing, the woman who taught me …

Editors and Authors Read More »

Several writers I know have employed a style of revising that I call the living-room-floor technique for revisions. It’s simple enough—take your printed manuscript and spread it out on the living room floor (or any room with enough space) and start rearranging. Move chapter five to the beginning; take a slow-moving scene and put it …

The Living-Room-Floor Technique for Revisions Read More »

I grew up with the New York Times. Even though we lived in Philadelphia, my parents both read the Sunday Times. Naturally, when I lived in New York after college, the Sunday Times was sacrosanct. When I moved to New Hampshire, I would stroll up to the local corner store early Sunday mornings to buy …

While Working for a Publishing Company… Read More »

A few years ago, I started the novel that became As the Crow Flies. Two basic things I knew were that much of the novel would be set in a fictional town I had created in my previous book, and that part would be set in Edinburgh in the late 1990s. I also knew that …

The Essential and Fun Task of Research Read More »

I recently read The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo. The author is a professor at Hunter College, where she began the college’s MFA in Memoir program, and has also published numerous books. In this particular book she assures writers that it’s perfectly all right to take a long time to complete a writing …

Keeping a Process Journal Read More »

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 …

Bribing Myself with Coffee Read More »

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 …

The Long Process of Starting My Novel Read More »

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 …

Book Giveaway! Read More »

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 …

The Kind of Books I Write Read More »

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