Favorite Writing Craft Book, Bird by Bird

Thursday, December 12, 2019

My very favorite writing craft book is one recommended to me by several people when I first voiced that I wanted to write a novel. Anne Lemott’s Bird by Bird is a uniquely styled writing manual that stole my heart. I loved the playfulness, the sense of humanity and forgiveness that she injected into the advice and challenges for growth as a writer. Bird by Bird was the book that…

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Abandon your darlings

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Imagine, if you will, the author in her very early twenties. She’s two months out from her college graduation, completing her second or third week as a real journalist at a real newspaper. She’s wearing a suit that’s far too fancy for the newsroom around her, but that’s just because she only owns the one right now. She’s so new she hasn’t been out shopping for business casual clothes yet….

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Kathleen’s Favorite Writing Resources

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

We’re discussing our favorite writing craft resources this week, and before I share mine, I want to offer a caveat. Books on writing, podcasts about writing, meditations on creativity: they’re all great. But, there’s no substitute for actually sitting in the chair and typing the words.  Writers write.  They may also read about writing and think about writing and commune with other writers, but none of those can take the…

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Best Writing Advice Ever On Your Worst Enemy

Friday, December 6, 2019

“What should I do?” I began my session with my mentor. See, I was in a low-residence MFA, where we had two weeks in school (then the rest of the semester remote.) “I mean, I kind of like this beginning,” I said, showing her a printout of an essay I began, “but maybe this one makes more sense,” I said, whipping a different version out of my backpack. I often…

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Writing Mentor, aka, Author Life Support

Thursday, December 5, 2019

My writing mentor, Valerie Hayes Perry, has given me guidance and support for my writing voice from even before I had an idea for a novel. I was a very insecure new writer when I first attended her meetup workshop in 2014. What I will never forget is how after a reader had shared their piece, she would pause, taking a moment of reflection with her eyes closed. And then,…

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I Got the Best Writing Advice from My Mother

Monday, December 2, 2019

  When I look back at my elementary school years, some of my fondest memories were the days when the box arrived from the Weekly Reader Book Club. The teacher would open it in front of the class and distribute what we had ordered weeks before. It was like having Christmas and my birthday rolled together month after month. I’d bring my books home and binge on Nancy Drew mysteries—The…

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Interview with “Byline Bible” Author Susan Shapiro

Saturday, November 30, 2019

  Not only is Susan Shapiro a great writing mentor to many (including me!) she’s the bestselling author/coauthor of 12 books her family hates including Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Lighting Up, Unhooked, The Bosnia List & the new inspiring writing guide The Byline Bible. She and her husband, a scriptwriter, live in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her popular “instant gratification takes too long” classes at The New School, NYU and in private…

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So Much to Be Grateful For (And Yet…)

Friday, November 29, 2019

“You have a book coming out. Aren’t you excited!” “Excited” is not the word that I or anyone around me would use. A chicken running around without her head, is more like it. Others wouldn’t be so kind. But the run-up to a book can be very fraught. You have to get blurbs, those advanced praise quotes you see on the back of books and on websites like Amazon and…

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New writers: It’s okay to start somewhere.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

At the beginning, it’s perfectly okay to have no idea what you’re doing. It’s okay to spend hours at a bookstore, running your fingers over the spines of new releases and dreaming. It’s okay to imagine your book sitting on a shelf there, even if you’re years away from your first query letter. This is how you learn what sells. It’s okay to write fanfic until five in the morning,…

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My Book Pitch Letter

Friday, November 15, 2019

We can discuss pitching and pitch letters till the sky turns green, but what would probably be more helpful is if I show you my book pitch. Unlike fiction and possibly memoir (the debate is out there on memoir) non-fiction, which needs a lot of research to complete the book, is sold on proposal. (I’ll talk proposals another time). But you still need a pitch letter. So here’s mine. Dear…

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