blog

Craft. Inspiration. Process.

Getting Notes

Getting Notes – Ten Things to Consider

I got an email this morning from one of my students who just received a pile of notes on her work-in-progress and was feeling overwhelmed and unsure on how to proceed. Typically, I had some thoughts...
Loyalty

Loyalty

Do you feel loyalty pulling at you in your story? Isn’t it interesting how guilt emerges when you speak your truth? Why is it that standing up for yourself or setting a boundary brings with it a...
Why Writers Should Embrace Doubt

Why Writers Should Embrace Doubt

Doubt exists in each of us much of the time. We are unsure about our futures, our relationships, our new tile in the bathroom, our car insurance, etc. Doubt is the cradle of conflict, both internal...
Character Transformation

Character Transformation

A fundamental understanding of transformation is crucial to having anything more than an intellectual relationship to structure. You’ve probably read books on three-act-structure. But it is...
The Value of an Outline

The Value of an Outline

What’s the point of an outline? Whether consciously or not, every writer is in search of a process. A lot of writers want to dive right into their first drafts and start amassing pages. Though...
How Do I Begin?

How Do I Begin?

“How do I begin?” The process of story creation is mysterious. Where do your story ideas come from? From where do your characters emerge? At their core, stories are born out of an impulse...
What Do I Do When I Get Stuck In My Story

“Why Do I Get Stuck?”

When writers come to a dead stop there can be a tendency to panic. It’s important to remember that your idea of your story is never the whole story. When you try to figure it out, you tend to dig a...
Stepping Into Your True Power

Stepping Into Your True Power

What does it mean to trust yourself? It sounds like a good idea, but it is often a counter-intuitive process. It is sort of like the difference between certainty and knowing. Certainty lacks...
The Internet: A Writer's Worst Distraction

The Internet: A Writer’s Worst Distraction

Sometimes the deeper we get into our story, the more we seek distraction. The internet will suck the life out of any writer. It will turn the most disciplined among us into bug-eyed addicts. Not only...
What is Success?

What is Success?

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates Years ago, I was on the phone with a prospective student, and he announced, “I will consider myself a failure if my book does not become a...
The Imperative for Dramatic Conflict

The Imperative for Dramatic Conflict

A director told me once that if you put two actors together in a scene without directing them or staging the scene, the conflict would begin to diminish. If the actors were on opposite sides of the...
Home

Finding Home

“Home is where one starts from.” – T. S. Eliot There’s nothing more primal than our quest for home. The dilemma is that our childhood homes may have been confusing, chaotic, or even violent...
No Good Guys, No Bad Guys

No Good Guys, No Bad Guys

There are times, as storytellers, when we can be so bull-headed about what we want to express, that we end up pushing an agenda rather than telling a story.  We create “good guys and bad...
Writing the Reluctant Protagonist

Writing the Reluctant Protagonist

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”- Ernest Hemingway Allow the Protagonist to Feel Reluctance No one likes change. The unknown is scary. The end...
Memoir: Mastering the Impossible

Memoir: Mastering the Impossible

“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.” – Helen Keller The purpose of art is to illuminate the possibility for transformation. The goal of memoir is to make the...
The Writers Place

The Writer’s Place

“Where did that come from?” I believe there is something we writers are collectively seeking. We are all attempting to convey an experience, a true moment, to tell a story that somehow...
Stay Curious

Stay Curious

“The curious are always in some danger. If you are curious, you might never come home.” – Jeanette Winterson When my son was three years old, he was Captain Hook for Halloween. It was...
What Do I Write Next?

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, beginning...

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