Advice, Against My Better Judgement

Friday, November 30, 2018

    I’m not a person who tends to dispense a lot of advice. I can tell myself that this is because I’m so great at withholding judgement, refuse to believe I know better than others about what’s best for them, but if I’m being honest, it probably has more to do with minding my own business. I don’t want to be responsible for steering someone in a direction that…


Thinking of writing a book? Here’s what you need

Before I decided to write my first novel, I never thought average people from average places doing average things could write a WHOLE BOOK. I thought that was reserved for–oh, I don’t know–people who were smarter, more interesting, older, wealthier, less female, more educated, whiter… the list goes on. So despite always writing, I spent a lot of time not sharing my work, even in my college years, because I…

Thursday, November 29, 2018

You’ll Always Suck and That’s Okay

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

There are a lot of things I wish I’d known when I was starting out as a writer, but the most important one is this: Everyone’s first drafts suck. EVERYONE’S. If a writer tells you they can turn out flawless first drafts, they are delusional or dishonest or both. But even though I’m well aware of this truth this now, I have to repeat it like a mantra to myself…


Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: What I Wished I Knew When I Was Starting Out

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Missing my poetry-mom Lucille Clifton especially today. Here she is reading aloud a poem of hers that I love. Until I got to graduate school, until I got to the people who would become my writing family and my writing community, I wasn’t encouraged much by my peer set in creative writing classes. Especially while I lived and worked in the Deep South. I always felt out of place, out of…


(Almost) Everything I Know About Writing I Learned from Fanfiction

Monday, November 26, 2018

I spent a fair amount of my youth writing dense, novel-length, & character-driven fanfiction (henceforth referred to as fanfic) until 1am on a school night. After all my homework was done, of course. My fandoms were primarily Sailor Moon and Harry Potter, the former being the one I really dove into. And it was, perhaps, the best crash course in writing money could’ve bought me. So for the newbie writer,…


[News Flash] November 25, 2018

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thank you so much to yesterday’s guest, Cinelle Barnes! If you haven’t already, enter the #DebBallGiveaway to win a copy of Monsoon Mansion. You can enter by sharing our post on Facebook and/or retweeting the following tweet (make sure you follow @DebutanteBall on Twitter too!): RT and follow for a chance to win a copy of #MonsoonMansion @DebutanteBall @devislaskar @estefsays @LayneFargo @MFournierWatson @KA_Doore #WritingCommunity #memoir — The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall)…


Interview with Cinelle Barnes + MONSOON MANSION giveaway

Saturday, November 24, 2018

I’m so thrilled to welcome Cinelle Barnes to the Debutante Ball this week! Cinelle Barnes is an essayist, memoirist, and educator from Manila, Philippines, a recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman and Voices of Our Nations Arts (VONA), and is the writer-in-residence at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. She received an MFA from Converse College. Her work has appeared in Catapult, Buzzfeed, Literary Hub, Hyphen, The Margins, and…


Dear Reader

Friday, November 23, 2018

        I remember when I went to my writing group after my agent got the offer from Penguin, and a writer friend asked me if I was happy. He wanted to know if selling the book was as great as I thought it would be, or if it was somehow disappointing. A let-down. I told him it’s every bit as great as I hoped. It’s a dream…


Celebrate Native Heritage today with a book, an article, and a podcast

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dear reader, November is Native American Heritage Month and instead of writing a Thanksgiving post, I’m compiling a very brief list comprised of one article, book, and podcast that I’ve enjoyed this year and would like to share with you. In June, Jen Deerinwater wrote a fantastic piece for Rewire.News on “Two Spirit,” which she defines as the “umbrella English language term that refers to non-binary gender identities that were…


Giving Thanks

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, filled with delicious food and quality time with family (whether the biological or the chosen kind). I have to admit: I’m Not Great at expressing gratitude. Not because I don’t feel thankful for all the wonderful people and things in my life, but because I’m always looking ahead to the next milestone, ambition nipping at…