Save Yourself from Mediocracy: Commit to Learning the Fundamentals of Fiction

So Ernest Hemingway wasn't always *The* Ernest Hemingway. Before he was the badass no-nonsense Nobel prize-winning author with an unshackled appetite for sexual congress, he worked as a journalist. While in Switzerland covering the Lausanne Peace Conference, he was asked by an editor to present some of his fiction.

He also was unabashedly committed to becoming a famed and virtuoso writer.

Sooo, jumping at the possible big break, Ernest called for his then-wife Hadley (the first of four wives and one of many "love interests"—the dirty dog) to pack up his work in Paris and make her way to Switzerland. The always doting and supportive wife, she amassed everything she could find.

Every. Last. Bit.

While in route on a train to deliver the goods, Mrs. Hemingway thought it'd be grand to go have herself a little tipple. I imagine Hadley sipping on her dry martini, watching the countryside slide by, breathing easy as she anticipated her beloved consort's writing career finally taking...

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Drunk on Love: Finessing the Unputdownable Romance Novel

"I was always hungry for love. Just once, I wanted to know what it was like to get my fill of it—to be fed so much love I couldn’t take any more. Just once."—Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

As one who has discovered that my One True Love just so happens to be moi, I might be perceived as being ironical right about now—a romance cynic writing an article about love. Ha!

I don't knock love, and I'm not REALLY a cynic—though I do poke fun here and there. I have a sense of humor...what can I say?

I love love. I just don't happen to be in active pursuit of the kind of love that most people think of when they think of love—you know, sensual and playful or even enduring love.

I'm all about self-love at the moment. And when I love myself, it sure is easier to see others in high pursuit and chuckle rather than scoff at the inevitable…

…the cycle of addiction.

Because that's what you see when you observe folks with this insatiable appetite...

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Rhythm in Fiction

"No matter how wonderful the story, it has to move on something, and that is language. The words that I use, the pace, the rhythm and cadences all need to be there. If they're not there, the story is like a boat that just sits there and doesn't move on the ocean."  —Tim O'Brien

Y'all, this man knows what he's talkin' about.

I've been studying his style lately, and he clearly takes this rhythm business seriously. And you know? For good reason.

How a story reads—meaning how it flows—affects our enjoyment of the piece. It could actually be one of those "make it or break it" elements.

Think about it in this light. You're sitting in a conference. A man walks out on the stage and begins to speak to you about a new scientific breakthrough that's supposed to be lifechanging. You're all geared up to have your mind BLOWN.

Sadly, he's about as engaging as the guy from the dry eyes commercial. He drones on and on. And on. His monotonous tone has lulled you into...

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A Bass-Ackwards Bio Writing Strategy That Works Like Magic (and Won't Induce Heavy Drinking or Hair Pulling)

Isn't introducing yourself one of the most awkward things sometimes? I mean, in person, if you're not a total introvert, you can usually smile and get away with some light banter. It's easy to make nice when you have the other party to kind of work from, backchat with.

Unless they're a total dud… which case, you might want to consider creating a predetermined exit strategy like ole George Plimpton. (Apparently, he mingles while double-fisting it. If he finds himself needing to scoot from a boring conversation, he simply holds up one of the drinks and excuses himself. The gesture is universally understood.)

But when tasked to introduce yourself in writing, as in on your website or like here on this blog (hi!), it can feel like a dense fog descends upon you, clouding your clarity about the thing you know most in the world—your dang self.

So your bio stretches out for days as you nervously ramble about everything from your high school achievement as the Lady...

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