The Mini Writing Retreat–and finding a writing schedule that works

Earlier this month I attended my first writer’s retreat. I got a ton of writing done and got to spend some time chatting with writerly friends who understand what it’s like to have entire worlds in your head and characters chattering away at all hours (especially, for some reason, in the middle of the night […]

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Slowing the Story Down

Many of my writerly friends face the problem of writing too long. They pen a 120,000-word fantasy novel and then try to trim it down. Maybe it’s my journalistic background or those years penning magazine articles, but I have the opposite problem. My first drafts are often short, and in following drafts I have to […]

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Midweek ROW80 check-in

One of the things I’ve struggled with in the past is transitioning between projects. One day the words will be flying onto the page as fast as my fingers can type, and then I’ll type “the end” on a story. And the next day, I’ll be stuck facing a blank page for a new story, […]

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The Writer’s Mantra

November will mark two years since I left my magazine writing job to write fiction full time. (I was writing fiction part time before then.) I’ve grown in so many ways since that time, started so many new projects, and really found my voice as a writer. And there’s one phrase I’ve found myself repeating […]

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Story Doubt: Sunday #ROW80 check-in

Do you ever have story doubt? It’s that moment when, partway through a draft, a voice of doubt starts whispering in your ear. It says this story isn’t strong enough, good enough, deep enough, engaging enough…and so on. I reached that stage with my WIP this week. I’m about a third of the way through […]

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Story Organization: Midweek #ROW80 check-in

How do you keep your stories organized? Over the years, I’ve developed a system, but I’m always refining it. Here’s what I have so far: For each story or series, I start a binder. Critique notes from my CPs, beat sheets, character background info, etc. all go into the binder. Each story/series also gets its […]

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Strengthening Our Storytelling: Midweek ROW80 check-in

I’m always awestruck when I go to the symphony. The idea that a composer could hear all of those different instruments in his or her head and find a way to combine them all that’s both unique and pleasing just fascinates me. And then, one day, I realized that as writers we do the same […]

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Yearly goals: Sunday ROW80 check-in

This year, I have two main goals: write at least 300,000 words, and read at least 75 books. Last year I read about 59, so hopefully I can increase that this year. This is also the first year I’ve kept track of my monthly/yearly word counts; I used to do just daily/weekly word-count totals, and […]

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Making our worlds come alive: Sunday ROW80 check-in

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about world-building, trying to determine what the ingredients are that make a world one we’re not likely to forget, those things that make a world so rich, so vivid that we can imagine ourselves there. One of the keys, I’ve noticed, is that worlds that leap off the page […]

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For Writers: Naming Our Characters

Frodo Baggins. Hermione Granger. Elizabeth Bennet. Daenerys Targaryen. A good character name is both unique and memorable at the same time. Sometimes, as a writer, you meet a character and he or she tells you his or her name instantly. That’s how it was with the shero in my current WIP–Katrina St. George. I knew […]

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