Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My January 2014 post for Algonquin Redux on "How Dilemma is Vital for Storytellers"

I was recently invited to join the Algonquin Redux writers roundtable. This is a terrific site for writers and readers. I will be posting a new essay on the 9th of each month. I'm sharing the link and also encouraging you to browse the archives to find a variety of brief essays by amazing authors.

Sharing my Jan 2014 post now on Algonquin Redux

Friday, December 27, 2013

Solstice Sky After Snow

Dare to dream, write, share...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Don't Fear the Silence and the Stillness...

"Life stand still here."  Virginia Woolf

Writers: Don't fear the silence and the stillness because, beneath it, there is fuel to light the fire for so many stories.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Some Days It's Good to Curl Up Creatively...

Snow outside, deadlines looming, taking a tip from Moseley Kitty: Curl up until you feel snug.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

PARITY: The Other Cat in the Room

It's Sunday and I'm finishing up two scenes for today's writing quota. Both these scenes center around two characters. Both scenes share the same viewpoint character. And I will rely on parity to make sure both scenes come to life.

In very simple terms for writers of fiction, "parity" means knowing your non-viewpoint character's desire(s) and goal(s) within the scene as well as you know those of your viewpoint character.

If you feel a scene going dead, try parity. Work the scene through the non-viewpoint character's eyes. Let the non-VP character drive the scene. Your protagonist is only as strong as she needs to be to face her antagonists.

If you've ever taken acting classes, you've improvised. And if you've improvised in a scene, you know how vital it is to truly listen to and interact with and react to your fellow actor. It's a dance. Use that dance in fiction. Parity.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writers: Pull Up from the Page for the High View and other De-stressing Tips

I'm on deadline for Penguin/Blue Rider Press and the book is due in less than three months. Do I feel the stress? Sure. Even after six previous novels published by the majors? Oh yeah.

But there are four things I've learned over my years as a pro writer that instantly help to drop my stress meter by notches:

1) Take ten deep breaths. That's inhale, and, yes, exhale, too.  Honestly, it sounds too reasonable and basic to mention, but when I'm stressing out, I am not breathing. Not smart. Oxygen helps everything.

2) Slow down to speed up. It's not a tricky koan. It means what it says. And it really goes with breathing. Slowing down makes me feel luxurious again and it puts me in touch with the joy of writing. That joy is the wellspring.

3) Take a break and find a new way of seeing. I snapped the picture of the mountains this past winter when my friend took me up in his airplane. I love flying because it changes my perspective and opens my mind and my imagination. During my writing day, I may not make it to 15,000 feet but I can still easily change perspective. Bird-watching with my cat, playing with my daughter, standing on my head...

4) Remember to trust the creative process. While process depends upon flow and flow means having the courage to jump in and sometimes there is free fall...technique and years of writing, writing, writing, these are the net.  Bounce, bounce...and breathe.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

BLOWBACK -- October 1, 2013 - Official Launch Date!

Today is the day BLOWBACK--a Vanessa Pierson Novel by Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett--officially becomes available!  We are celebrating this amazing creative collaboration.