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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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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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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Demons and Daydreams: How Hieronymus Bosch Got Me Writing

Thursday, December 10, 2020

I had a really hard time choosing a major in college. I went from Business Administration to Retailing, to Fashion, and finally landed in Art History – a perfect place for people like me who love art, but lack all artistic ability. Art History was a really fun major, and I enjoyed my classes tremendously. We’d scrutinize paintings, paying attention to style, technique, and symbolism, and listen to stories our…

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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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Lyn’s World (or Her Novel’s): From NYC to Taiwan

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I lived in New York City for over fourteen years and have worked there for over twenty-five years (wow I’m old). So it was only natural for me to set my debut, THE TIGER MOM’S TALE, in Manhattan. But I was born in Taiwan and knew I wanted to portray my homeland, so I had my MC, Lexa, travel back to Taiwan to claim her heritage. The Upper East Side…

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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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Introducing Author and News Flash Organizer Elizabeth Gonzalez James!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

It is my pleasure to introduce Elizabeth Gonzalez James, who will be taking on the the role of News Flash Organizer and Topic Whisperer which I have managed for the past Debutante season. Elizabeth is the author of the forthcoming  MONA AT SEA, a sharp and witty debut launching in the Summer of 2021 that asks, When we find what gives our life meaning, will we be ready for it?…

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The “highlight reel” of my year as a Debutante

Monday, August 10, 2020

  Greetings and salutations and welcome to the Debutante Ball! I was so excited when I read the first words of the email I received on a Sunday morning in early August of 2019 informing me that I’d been chosen as one of the 5 debut authors who would chronicle her “big dance” toward publication. I had been following the Debutante Ball blog for more than a year and eagerly…

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