News Flash: Publicists, Retreats, and Broken Arms

Sunday, September 8, 2013

From the 2014 Debs… Heather Webb had a great (and long) chat with her publicist for the first time! She’s totally psyched to be working with the Plume team for the launch of Becoming Josephine. Lisa Alber is so excited about her book cover that she’s giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate to a lucky commenter. Just say “hi!” on her blog. As you read this, she’s tucked away…


Deb Molly Goes Out Crying & Ranting About Air Bud (But What’s New?)

You guys, I totally suck at goodbyes. I always cry. When I was little and my parents would leave us at my grandparents’ house for the weekend, I’d be crying before the car even left the driveway, upsetting my parents and probably offending my grandparents. I cried at the end of every school year, I cried when my middle school chorus teacher got a job in another district and left us, I cried when I moved…

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

IN A FIX Week Continues With A License Plate, A Voice, and A Story!

Happy IN A FIX week! Awww, the final Deb Debut of the year… it’s beginning to feel like the end of camp around here. Sniff, sniff… Luckily for us, we’re going out with a bang (and since we’re talking about Linda here, you can read that however you want) with the fun, feisty Ciel Halligan, whose voice is so strong I just had to ask about it! You once said…

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Bad Habits Go to the Beach (and Fight About Passive Voice)

A few years ago, the Bad Habits reunited in Barbados for Sister Nadia’s wedding. The four of us — Sister Alison, Sister Mary, Sister Nadia, and I — lived together our senior year of college, in a house we called “The Funnery Nunnery.” We became known as the Fun Nuns, and then (after we beat everyone in town at darts) the Bad Habits. Sister Nadia is from Barbados, and in…

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What’s Your Dominant Metaphor? Creating Character Voice

Every editor in the world will tell you she’s looking for a manuscript with a strong narrative voice, but creating a rich, complex, and believable character voice is easier said than done. Voice isn’t just the way your character speaks – not just her dialogue or diction or syntax. It’s not just the words she uses, whether she speaks entirely in Valley Girl slang or whether she never uses contractions….

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Be Friends With a Writer

Do read their chapters and say, “I can’t wait to see more! Keep writing!” Don’t ask, “You’re still working on that? STILL?” Do offer to listen if they need to talk through a tricky plot problem. Don’t be offended if they aren’t ready to show you their work. Don’t accuse them of lying every time they tell a story. Do say, “I notice you left out some key details and embellished others — what…

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Deb Molly Does It With a Little Help From Her Friends

When I wrote the first draft of The Princesses of Iowa, I knew one other writer. We would meet at the Flying Star Café once a week, chat briefly about what we were working on that day, and then get to work. Instead of a critique group, I had friends who didn’t mind when I emailed them new chapters. Instead of industry knowledge, I had a friend that said, “You should get…

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Deb Molly Tells Her Young Self To Quit Being Embarrassed About What She Wants to Write

When I was 19 years old, I took my first fiction writing class. Each week, the fifteen or so members of my class and I would gather around a table to discuss each other’s work. No one in the class was older than 22. Our professor guided our discussions with cryptic phrases like “I want to find myself closer to the narrative line in this moment” and “the verisimilitude of this…

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Deb Molly’s Eight Ways to Turn Up the Heat in a Scene

Today I was hanging out with a group of creative writers at the Northeastern Illinois University Summer Creative Writing Institute, and one of the writers asked me a question about what to do when a scene stalls, when the plot fumbles, when things slow down and threaten to fall apart. Great question, I said. And the answer is: that’s when you turn up the heat! The writers looked at me…

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Deb Joanne’s Launch Week Continues With Ghost Stories Galore!

Happy Fourth of July! Or, as we say here at the Debutante Ball, HAPPY DEB JOANNE’S BOOK LAUNCH WEEK! Because it’s the Fourth of July — time for camping, cookouts, s’mores, and of course GHOST STORIES — I thought I’d ask Joanne about the hilarious cast of misfit ghosts that people — er, ghost? — SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE.  Usually when we see ghosts in books or movies, they have some…

Wednesday, July 4, 2012