Category: Uncategorized

Family Matters

Chicks congregating around their feeder…what stories they might tell! Why is it that in some books, characters stride into the story all alone, without parents, golfing buddies, neighbor kids peeking through their hedges as they sunbathe, or coworkers tossing paper planes at them over… Continue Reading “Family Matters”

A Story Is a System Far From Equilibrium

Nothing perturbs the system more beautifully than a hummingbird, as seen outside my clinic window.  At some point on the journey toward publication, aspiring writers get frustrated and ask themselves, “Why aren’t agents and publishers saying ‘Yes’ to my submission? I’ve revised it six… Continue Reading “A Story Is a System Far From Equilibrium”

Worthy Adversaries

The classic villain: the Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 Wizard of Oz film At an audition for my local community theater’s upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz, I observed some actors trying out to play the Wicked Witch of the… Continue Reading “Worthy Adversaries”

It’s All Research; It’s All Good

Don’t let this imposing library at Yale University intimidate you! I attended an amazing session of the Rare Book School there in Summer 2016 and they didn’t boot me out. Research: some folks love doing it, while for others, it’s up there with painful… Continue Reading “It’s All Research; It’s All Good”

The Rest Is Silence: Leaving Things Up to the Reader’s Imagination

A well at Storm King Mountain, New York (ooh, if it were only bottomless!)  As the poison Hamlet has swallowed starts to take its lethal effect, he gasps out his last words: “The rest is silence.” He won’t learn the outcome of events he’d… Continue Reading “The Rest Is Silence: Leaving Things Up to the Reader’s Imagination”

The Resonant Detail: Skin On the Floor

This is the old “agony of defeat” image from “Wide World of Sports,” courtesy of  There’s a scene in the science-fiction TV series Babylon 5 where Morden, the affable emissary for an ancient, powerful, and sinister species called “Shadows,” pays a surprise visit to… Continue Reading “The Resonant Detail: Skin On the Floor”

To Find a Character’s Voice, Give The “I” a Try

All photographs of faces are from Pinterest collections.  When I kept collecting rejections for my novel, I decided to enlist a developmental editor to determine why the guards at the Portals of Publication kept crossing their spears when my work ambled up to them.… Continue Reading “To Find a Character’s Voice, Give The “I” a Try”

Description: Its Power and Perils

Here’s a glacier melting on Mount Rainier, where I went hiking in August 2016. I’m a sucker for descriptions that absorb me. I live for the moments when a story’s language inhales me and I lose myself breathing in another world’s air. Whether beautiful,… Continue Reading “Description: Its Power and Perils”

Things I Wish I’d Learned About Writing Earlier in My Life

Image courtesy of Spark Life/Spark Notes: “6 Creative Writing Exercises” As a part-time community-college writing instructor, I’m fond of telling my students, “It’s never too late”–to return to college and earn their degree, as well as to discover (or rediscover) writing as a potent… Continue Reading “Things I Wish I’d Learned About Writing Earlier in My Life”

Some Tips, Should You Find Yourself In Charge of a World

In the seaside town where I work, every first Wednesday of the month, a cow’s irritable mooing erupts from the public-address system. Visitors get startled when her bellowing penetrates restaurants, shops, and hotel rooms. She’s disembodied and omnipresent, a bovine deity calling down wrath… Continue Reading “Some Tips, Should You Find Yourself In Charge of a World”