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Write What You Know Can Be Misunderstood

“Write What You Know” Can Be Misunderstood

Every writer hears the old song: “Write what you know.” This can be misunderstood. The fact is, we don’t write what we know, but rather, we write the nature of our experience. A plumber doesn’t have ...

Myths that Prevent You from Writing

There are myths that prevent you from not only completing your story, but keep you from even getting started. Some of these myths are concocted by the world out there, and some are vague terrors that ...

Writing Memoir

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott It’s funny how guilt ...

What Do I Write Next?

Writers frequently come to me and say: “I have three ideas. Which one should I write next?” In the 90-day workshops, one of the first exercises we do is we write for five minutes, ...
You Are Uniquely Qualified

You Are Uniquely Qualified

It seems it should go without saying that you are uniquely qualified to write your memoir. And yet, the voices lurk at the edges of your consciousness: Who do I think I am? Am I a fraud? A wannabe? We ...

Discovering Your Process

Finding Your Way As you write each day, you discover your own process. You begin to see there is no “right way” to create and that your objective is simply to let the story live. The first draft is a ...

Permission to Write the Truth

What is the Truth of your story? OK, you’ve outlined your story and you’re getting ready to write your first draft. But something doesn’t feel right. You tell yourself that you’re not ready, that you ...
Banishing Redundancies

Banishing Redundancies

Redundancy is not only a sign of lazy writing; it can also pull us out of the story by interrupting the narrative flow. There are many types of redundancies in writing, from rehashing story ...

But That’s What Really Happened

“I’ve given my memoirs far more thought than any of my marriages. You can’t divorce a book.“—Gloria Swanson Sticking to “What Really Happened” might cause a disconnect In ...
Asking "Why?"

Asking “Why?”

Always keep your ideal reader close by in your mind asking “Why?” Our subconscious is perfectly designed for this process. It already knows the story. Our only job is to remain curious and ...
trusting the process

Trusting the Process

Be open to possibilities When I wrote my first novel Diamond Dogs, I had the idea that my hero, a high school senior, gets rid of the body. He accidentally kills a kid while driving late one night on ...

Why Writers Get Stuck

Einstein says, “You cannot solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that created the problem.” Writers often get stuck because they believe it’s their job to figure out a solution to their ...
One Thing Readers Hate

One Thing Readers Hate

One thing readers hate are coincidences. Sure, coincidences occur in our lives every day, but in a story, they are generally a problem. Readers lose interest when coincidence leans in the ...
Take Risks

Take Risks – Advice for First-Time Writers

“In order to share one’s true brilliance one initially has to risk looking like a fool.” – Criss Jami Writing your first story is sort of like, well . . . there’s a first time for ...
Outlining: The Dramatic Question

Outlining: The Dramatic Question

Your characters are a function of the plot, archetypes that constellate around the dramatic question. Story is essentially an argument with the dramatic question being the thesis statement we are ...

Blind Spots in Your Story

It is human to have blind spots, and often convenient to be in denial about certain aspects of ourselves. This is natural, or, at least, common. Humans are not logical, and stories both great and wild ...

On Writing Dialogue

“If you have a good ear for dialogue, you just can’t help thinking about the way people talk. You’re drawn to it. And the obsessive interest in it forces you to develop it. You almost can’t help ...

Developing Your Writing Technique

  Technique develops over time. By reading and writing, we absorb a sense of story structure, cadence, and rhythm; we learn how to create and release tension. We deepen our relationship to our ...

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