Tag Archives: writing

How to Be A Creative Genius

I am currently working on a story that features a coffin factory. Everyone loves this little touch. “How did you think of that?” people have asked. “It’s so atmospheric and creepy and perfect!” When I hear things like this, I just say, “Thank you,” and try to smile mysteriously, as if I just can’t help […]

Are Your Characters As Memorable As This Cat?

  Wow. This cat is a character. You can tell just by looking at his face. Are your characters as memorable as this cat? And, if not, how can you make them unforgettable? One of the writers I admire most is Charles Dickens. His characterizations are incredibly economical–he packs a ton of meaning into a […]

Secrets of a Prolific Writer

  Recently, a new friend admitted to me that she has a writer hidden inside her. “Oh, I’ll bet it isn’t hidden that far,” I told her. The next time I saw her, we chatted a bit about writing, and my new friend admitted feeling discouraged because “all of the books say that you should […]


When Chris Tebbets and I sent in the first draft of the manuscript for M or F?, we were pretty excited. We were strangers before we began the project, but working together had bonded us. We had a similar sense of humor and quirky way of looking at things, and we started to think of […]

How To Write A Blog

When I was a kid, I was entranced by the idea of a diary. It felt like something that creative yet organized people do. I imagined that I would record the details of my daily life and someday, maybe years after my death, someone would find it and think, “Wow. I am so lucky that […]

A Pothole Story

A few years ago, I heard a strange noise while I was stopped at a stoplight. Across the busy intersection, a man in a wheelchair was bellowing for help. One of his rear wheels was stuck in a large pothole at the edge of a restaurant driveway–right at the place where it met the road. […]

The Genius Myth

Yesterday, I heard from an old friend. She told me that her daughter had dreams of being a writer, but felt discouraged. She isn’t even in high school yet, but doesn’t feel that being a professional writer is a realistic dream. I know this feeling well. When I was in college, I applied to be […]

The Six Questions to Ask About Your Character

I snort when I laugh. A lot of people think it’s funny. Some people even find it cute. I don’t mind it much—except when I’m in, like, a business meeting or Yale interview. (Didn’t get in. I’m convinced it’s because I not only snort/ laughed, but did so while drinking a glass of water—which spurted […]

Writer Panic

I’m working on a new novel. And by “working,” I mean “flailing.” Every single time  start a new project I have to face the same panic. It goes like this: I’ve never had this much trouble before….I’ll never have another idea again!…This will never work….This has been done already….I’ve lost it….I never had it….I can’t! […]

Very Pinteresting

I recently started re-thinking my Pinterest account, which had been dormant for about a year. I couldn’t figure out what to use it for. I’m not one of those moms who creates elaborate sandwiches in the shape of dinosaurs, or someone who is enthusiastic about classic cars, or one of those crafters who knows how […]