Writing Advice from Three Fictional White Guys

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Want to succeed in writing? Look for help from the older fictional white guys you see in movies.  Advice #1 arrives from Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame. Dumbledore has zillions of inspirational one-liners, but my favorite comes from The Chamber of Secrets: “It is our choices, Harry,” he says, “that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”  The writing connection? In my experience, writing books…

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When 3 Pages of Acknowledgments Are Not Enough

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Somehow I went from “let’s see if I can write a book” to a full-time author whose debut is publishing in 10 short weeks. I’m insanely grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. In fact, I wrote 800 words’ worth of acknowledgments for Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes. I’m pretty sure three pages is longer than standard for an acknowledgments section, but it turns out, I still haven’t exhausted my thank-yous. Here…

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Interview with Emma Sloley, Author of Disaster’s Children

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Yay for Emma Sloley, author of Disaster’s Children, a gripping dystopian novel recently published by Little a! An accomplished writer of short fiction and creative nonfiction, Disaster’s Children is Emma’s first book. She has the endorsements of some of the most prominent writers of literary fiction today. Jinmin Han calls Emma’s novel “lush” and “mesmerizing.” Rebecca Makkai says, “Sometimes a new author will sidle up and whisper in your ear,…

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Don’t Be a Delicate Flower: Advice to a Younger Kathleen

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

This week, we’re sharing what we’d wished we’d known when we started writing. It’s a hard question. While I tell people I didn’t start writing seriously until about age 36, I’m realizing that’s not really true. The first story I remember writing, all the way from start to finish, was a pirate adventure. I wrote it when I was nine, I think. I can’t remember the details, but there was…

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Kathleen’s Query Letter!

Minor Dramas
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

So many aspects of being a writer are anxiety-producing. I’ve basically been bathing in cortisol since I finished a first draft of MINOR DRAMAS & OTHER CATASTROPHES in 2016. Finding an agent? Going on submission? Working on revisions? Writing another whole book? To be honest, I’m pretty much red-lining with anxiety all the flipping time. I’m not trying to be a downer (and maybe being an author is different for…

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Distraction? There’s an app for that!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

We’re tackling the problem of distractions this week, and like many of us, I’m an expert at finding reasons to not write. Laundry to be folded? Dishwasher to be unloaded? Twitter to be checked for the fiftieth time in an hour? I’ve succumbed to all of these and a million more. Luckily, I’ve got a pretty simple and low-level hack to share. This works for me, given my oft-discussed proclivity…

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Kathleen’s Daily Specials: Irrational Terror and Crippling Self-Doubt

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I’m rolling my eyes at myself as I begin my “Writing Fears” post. I’m an anxious sort. I’m afraid of tons of things. In fact, my daily specials include irrational terror and crippling self-doubt.  Yesterday, Lisa wrote about her fear of losing her work. I’ve got that fear-base covered, too. Will I spill tea on my computer and fry it before I can back it up? Will the cloud implode?…

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Interview with Farah Heron, author of THE CHAI FACTOR

Saturday, October 26, 2019

I am so excited to welcome Farah Heron to The Debutante Ball this week. Farah’s debut, THE CHAI FACTOR released in June from HarperCollins Canada, and she’s one of my favorite people on Twitter. Check her out for a perfect blend of writing truth, political and equity truth, and straight-up humor. Farah is one of those writers you at once root for and want to be friends with it.    After…

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3 Tips for Working with an Editor

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Kathleen here with three tips for working with an editor. I think the aim of our prompt this week is to discuss our work with editors at publishing houses, and I’ll get there. But, really, my book (and all other books I know of) went through multiple rounds of editing before it was acquired for publication.  Here’s what I think you should do to get ready for those last rounds…

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“I Want to Write Like That”: The Authors that Inspired Kathleen’s Debut

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

After I read Celeste Ng’s debut, Everything I Never Told You, I started thinking about writing fiction for real. It wasn’t that I had any delusions about writing quite as beautifully as Ng does. It was more that the story she told–of family members who loved each other, but didn’t really know each other–moved me so intensely. So, after I finished it, I started writing my own multi-generational (and highly…

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