Envy, the Vast Literary Cognoscenti, and Me

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ah, envy. What a complicated topic, especially for writers. And now comes my turn to examine the green eyed monster. First I have to distinguish envy from jealousy (sorry; writers are word nerds).  Envy is when you covet what someone else has. For example, when I go to Book Passage to hear debut novelist Garth Risk Hallberg read from CITY ON FIRE as part of his publisher-funded national book tour and…

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How I Survived Terminal Computer Malfeasance While Editing My Novel

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It’s interesting to me how varied our editorial processes have been here on the Debutante Ball. Louise had the more conventional experience, with an extensive edit letter and line edits. Jennifer had two conversations that made an edit letter unnecessary. Mine? Well, mine was nothing less than a gothic horror story — albeit one with a fairytale ending. Allow me to explain. When my editor bought my book it was…

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Heather’s Favorite Books of 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

This week, we’re discussing our favorite reads of 2015. Here are mine! THE END OF THE POINT: Finding a writer you love who’s been around for a while is like finding candy in your coat pocket. I picked up this novel in paperback — it was a New York Times Notable Book in 2014 — and was instantly swept up in the lilting cadence of Elizabeth Graver’s prose and the verisimilitude of…

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Criticism and the Impostor Syndrome

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I was a lawyer for almost a decade, and every brief I wrote was edited by other lawyers. This never bothered me. Once, my boss crossed out a paragraph in which I’d explained, in multiple dependent clauses, not unlike this sentence, that the plaintiff — while perhaps well-meaning and confused — was, unfortunately, operating under several sadly incorrect assumptions. He replaced it with four words: “The plaintiff is wrong.” I…

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You’re Only as Old as You Write

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

This week it’s about age. How old we are. How old we feel. How old we write. I am the oldest Deb. I also waited the longest of any of us to start writing. I was 43 when I typed “Chapter One”, and 49 when I typed “The End.”  My novel will be published when I’m 51. I am, by default, the best authority among us on what it’s like…

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She Says Tomahto, That Guy Over There Says Tomato: My Experience On Submission

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This week we’re talking about our submission process, and what’s been interesting to me is how different each of those processes were. Louise’s path was deceptively easy — she was fortunate enough to impress a great editor with her first forty pages, but then she had to fulfill the promise of those pages and nurture that editor’s interest for three full years. Jennifer’s first novel died in submission, and she…

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