How Lyn Plots Out First Drafts

Friday, May 14, 2021

I used to be a pantser. Meaning, I had no outline, no direction in how I wrote a first draft. I came up with an idea and started writing. I only had a vague idea of a plot, didn’t know the characters well, didn’t have a clear direction of where the story was going. That’s how I wrote my first book. And to be honest, it wasn’t that good. For…

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The Purge! (or, Getting that first draft out of your system)

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Ernest Hemingway famously said all first drafts are garbage, except he used a way more *effluent* term instead of garbage. This is something that I’ve, at various times, thought was completely true, completely false, and now believe is somewhere in the middle. First drafts are your best effort at the time, and I hate to say anyone’s best effort at the time is no good. I’ve also read lots of…

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Hemingway, Proust, and the Authorial Brand

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Sooner or later every aspiring author is going to be told that they need to work on building their brand, improving their platform, increasing their presence. I grate at these terms. I don’t like to think of myself as a brand. I’m a person. I have a personality. I have interests and quirks and an aesthetic and a manner of speaking, and these things transmit through my writing and my…

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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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