for April, 2014

Humans of your books.

April 5, 2014

As a writer, a huge part of what I do revolves around characters. Not only do I have to create compelling, realistic characters, but I have to write for and about them in a way that makes my audience respond to them the way I want my audience to respond. In other words, character study is massively important. There are a lot of ways I study characters in my life–what are people but exceptionally realistic characters? I love people watching–I love figuring out what makes certain people tick. I think it’s absolutely fascinating. Recently, I discovered something I wish I’d found four years ago when it was established: Humans of New York. If you aren’t familiar with Humans of New York (HONY), it’s this fantastic blog by a photographer in New York City. He takes stunning street portraits of the people he encounters and interviews them. Snippets of their interviews are published online (and in his book) with their images. […]


Writers can’t keep secrets.

April 4, 2014

This is going to sound bad, but from my experience, it’s actually pretty true: writers are some of the worst people for keeping secrets. I know I definitely have this problem. It’s awful, really, but not awful in the way you’re probably thinking. When I say “writers are bad at keeping secrets,” I don’t mean that a writer will take your deepest, darkest, most guarded thoughts, feelings, and experiences and share them with the world. We’re not going to get on Facebook and flaunt your dirty laundry to everyone with an internet access. But you know what we will do? We will take those secrets and work them into our stories. So, in a roundabout way, your secrets get spilled through our fiction, through our characters, totally unattached to your name and yet still shared publicly, because we’re writers, and we can’t help but to write about the dirty, juicy things we see, hear, and experience firsthand. But it’s more […]


Rain, rocks, and ruins.

April 3, 2014

For the last two weeks, my husband and I have been driving around the beautiful Irish countryside, taking in the sights, eating delicious food, and visiting a few historical locations. Now that I’m home, and a little jet-lagged (I woke up at 4:30 this morning, totally awake), I need to get back into the swing of things: work, life, and writing a blog post a day for you people. Today, I’m not going to write about writing. I promised yesterday you’d get an account on Ireland, so you’re gonna get one. My mother-in-law said it best. Ireland can be summed up in three words: “Rain, rocks, and ruins.” Every single day we were there, it rained at least a little bit–and the rain was totally unpredictable. It would be beautiful and sunny one minute and suddenly you’re hiding in a castle waiting for the storm to pass. (Seriously, this happened to us.) And the rocks? There are some phenomenal natural […]


Time off.

April 2, 2014

As you read this article, I’m probably trudging away at work, sipping on highly sugared and creamed coffee to get over the jetlag I’ve spent the last forty-eight hours developing and medicating. As I write this, however, I’m sitting in a cozy little hostel in Ennis, Ireland. That’s right. Ireland. The past few blog posts you’ve read were pre-written and pre-scheduled to post while I was away. It’s like when I did that for National Novel Writing Month or, more recently, for Christmas while I was away. See? I’m sticking to that “blog post a day” thing I set myself up for almost seven (or is it eight?) months ago. This time, however, I was a bit further away. This time, I didn’t have reliable internet or a computer. My Partner in Crime and I decided to go on our honeymoon late for three reasons: one, it was easier to get two weeks off work in two separate calendar years […]


5 things literary agents do for writers.

April 1, 2014

Two weeks ago I published an article about what the querying process looks like when you’re trying to get land a literary agent. I’ve also touched on how important getting a literary agent is for beginning writers trying to enter the traditional publishing space. But still, a lot of people don’t really understand why a literary agent is so important. It’s more than just finding you a publisher to get your book on shelves. Literary agents handle some stuff that would be downright impossible for us to do on our own. Agents sell your work to the editors. At a publishing house, the person in charge of buying up new talent is the acquisition editor. Literary agents build relationships with these editors and work on getting your book into their hands. If an editor has a submission from a literary agent, he’s way more likely to pick it up and read it more quickly because he knows it’s been pre-screened, […]

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