Some of you may remember that in July 2003, an 86-year-old man drove his car through the crowded Santa Monica Farmers’ Market outside of LA, killing ten people and injuring dozens more, many of them critically. That story struck a chord with me because I used to shop at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market when [...]
A friend of mine wants to turn her diaries into a memoir but doesn’t know where to begin. I read one of her diaries and marked all the passages that I found interesting—stories about dating, details about finances, notes about current events that took place a decade ago. Those details will be invaluable when adding [...]
This week I’m reposting one of my favorite posts—because I think we all need to be reminded now and then of the importance of keeping our butts in the chair.
I’m writing again for the first time in weeks and finding it difficult to sit still in my chair. Today I thought about what works [...]
It’s time for our week three Writerland Challenge check-in! Yes, it is nearly time for our week four check-in, but my brain went on vacation last week while I ate way too much food, went to the Dickens Faire in San Francisco (which I highly recommend—it runs for four more weekends), roasted marshmallows at a [...]
Thank you to Nicola Twrst for inviting me to participate in this blog chain. Nicola writes short stories and novels across various genres, including mystery, romance, and paranormal. Be sure to check her out at Nicola Trwst.com.
I’m not really ready to talk about My Next Big Thing because it’s still in the development stage, [...]
Constance Hale, author of the must-have guide to language Sin and Syntax and the forthcoming Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, sent this description of the difference between personal essay and memoir to everyone at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. I found it so insightful, I asked her if I could share with you:
“Personal essay is [...]
I’m guilty of it, too: The description of a new character who has just entered your story as having “big brown eyes and frizzy black hair” or “ginger hair that cascaded down her shoulders and eyes the color of jade.” No matter how creative you get, describing a person according to his or her hair [...]
1. Your protagonist (you) should be 80-90% sympathetic with only a few flaws.
I used to think that the more flawed a character was, the more people would be able to relate to him/her. I quickly learned that too many flaws make a character unlikable. Readers don’t want to read 200-300 pages about a [...]