The autodidact’s reading list

Thursday, February 11, 2021

I’ve written previously about how I have an MBA, not an MFA. And how that didn’t work out so great for me. So when I was unemployed and stuck in a tiny apartment while raising a newborn baby, it wasn’t a great time to contemplate going back to school for yet another masters degree. Plus, I reasoned, I’d always been told I was a great writer. How hard could it…

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Learning From Other Writers

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

We’re supposed to be writing about our favorite craft writing books, blogs or podcasts. The truth is, I’ve never read a craft writing book (gasp!). I didn’t even know what a podcast was until last year. And while I love reading blogs, the only blog that I learned from was actually this one, The Debutante Ball (which is why I applied to be a Deb for this year, since I…

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Celebrating the small stuff

Thursday, January 28, 2021

It feels a little funny to be writing about milestones and celebrations before my book comes out. It almost sounds like the kind of article I’d write 30 years from now, when I’ve got a shelf full of bestsellers, a trophy case jammed with awards, and a desk built to look like my celebrated novels. What’s that last thing, you ask? I’m sorry, has no one shown you what Danielle…

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I left my heart in Corpus Christi

Thursday, January 14, 2021

My fellow Debs and I are blogging this week about our favorite types of scenes to write, and it made me think of something George Saunders said once about how you should always write into your strengths. Saunders claims he’s not great at plot (methinks he’s being a touch humble), and so when he writes, he emphasizes his characters, or setting, or whatever, in order to make up for the…

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Finding Your People: A guide for new writers

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A funny consequence of having a book coming out is that friends and family (and the occasional stranger on the internet) now come to me for advice on writing and publishing. It’s weird to give advice because I feel like I’m still learning these things myself. I don’t have an MFA – I literally just learned about the concept of negative capability this summer!     But when I’m asked…

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The Jackhammer in the Basement: On writing (or not writing) through distractions

Thursday, October 29, 2020

“It’s a black fly in your chardonnay. It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late.” Alanis Morissette was kind enough to give us many definitions of irony in 1995, and to those I would like to add, “It’s a jackhammer in your basement when you’re trying to write a blog post about writing through distractions.” We’re getting our house earthquake-retrofitted — a project that was initially supposed to take…

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World Building in the Real World

Thursday, October 8, 2020

When writers talk about “world building” they mean more than just setting. Setting is where a story takes place. But a fictional world is setting, history, the special rules of that particular place, the people who inhabit that world, as well as the general tone or atmosphere that sort of floats over every page. The setting of the Harry Potter books is England, but in order to build her fictional…

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My path to publication: A comedy of failures

Thursday, September 10, 2020

I wrote last week about how I hadn’t planned on becoming a writer, and how writing was something I came to after being unemployed for a long time. So already my path to publication was a little longer and had more forking paths than some people. I completed the rough draft of my novel in about six months in 2011, and I spent the next four years first learning how…

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A recession, a baby, an idea: The inspiration behind MONA AT SEA

Friday, September 4, 2020

I never planned on becoming a writer. What I actually wanted was an entry-level job in corporate finance. But when I graduated from the University of Kansas in December of 2008 with an MBA, the world looked very different than it had 18 months before when I started the program. Lehman Brothers had just collapsed. Countrywide imploded. General Motors needed a bailout to survive. And here I was with a…

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My biggest blooper.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

I was sailing along, finishing the last few edits to ARCHITECTS OF MEMORY’s sequel, when an e-mail came in from my amazing editor, informing me that ARCHITECTS’ cold reader had caught a medium-sized plothole during the second pass. That’s right. During the second pass. For those of you not familiar with the publishing process, by the time a book has reached the second pass, it should be nearly perfect. Production…

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