How Calligraphy Rekindled my Love of Writing (or, Why the Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard)

Practicing calligraphy helped me rediscover my love of writing long-hand.
Practicing calligraphy helped me rediscover my love of writing in longhand.

Recently, I had the strange urge to take up calligraphy. And it revolutionized the way I write. Continue reading “How Calligraphy Rekindled my Love of Writing (or, Why the Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard)”

Color Tools for the Writer

In the book, “Lolita,” Humbert Humbert describes his little nymphet with “lips as red as licked red candy.”


How gorgeous is that description? Can’t you just see the deep red and glossy sheen of a wet lollipop? The fact that he’s describing a 12 year old girl’s lips makes it all the more provocative and disturbing. Perhaps that’s why it works on so many levels. When I heard that line for the first time (I was listening to the audiobook) I stopped and rewound it four times just so that I could appreciate how utterly amazing Nabokov’s writing was. And then I set fire to my current manuscript in a fit of despair as I realized I would never come close to the level of descriptive mastery that writers like Nabokov showed. Continue reading “Color Tools for the Writer”

All in the Name of Research

Sugar. It’s everywhere. Too bad we can’t run cars on it.

My main character, Roland, goes through quite a transformation over the course of my novel. He cleans himself up, stops acting like a dick, and quits smoking… all for a girl. He also loses a bit of weight and starts exercising. This is a painful process for Roland. He’s never exercised a day in his life.

As the author, I owe it to Roland and the readers to paint a picture of Roland’s roller coaster ride of ups and downs as he goes through this transformation. Part of me can use my imagination. I watched my dad quit smoking so I can draw from that, but I’ve never successfully quit a bad habit myself. I think it’s time to put myself to the test, all in the spirit of getting inside my character’s head.

Soo… two weeks ago I decided to give up sugar for 8 weeks. Continue reading “All in the Name of Research”

This is a work of fiction…

I just saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo the other night and am now reading the book. Naturally, I was disturbed by some of the scenes I saw in the movie and will take no pleasure in reading them when I get to those parts in the book, but I understand why the author included them. Bad things happen to people in real life; to ignore them in our fiction is to bury our heads in the sand. But it made me wonder… Could I write scenes like that? You know what I mean- the gritty, horrible, sadistic, cover-your-hand-over-your-eyes-because-you-feel-dirty-watching-them scenes.

Yes, yes I can. The problem (for me) doesn’t lie in imagining them, or putting them to paper. The problem lies only in, What would my mother think?? Continue reading “This is a work of fiction…”

Poor Reviews: A writer’s best friend

I just wrote a review on Amazon for a book I didn’t exactly love. But before I posted it, I decided to read the other reviews to see if readers had the same issues with the book that I did. Turns out, they found even more flaws.

Aside from the obvious relief of knowing I wasn’t the only one disappointed with the book, I learned something valuable: negative book reviews are super important for writers to read. Continue reading “Poor Reviews: A writer’s best friend”

In search of Harmony

Well, April and May were tough months for me. Shortly after I gave myself that pep talk to get back into daily writing, I succumbed to Yesman disease where I couldn’t say no to some friends with a business opportunity, overextended myself far beyond what is humanly possible, and neglected my family, my house, and my writing all for somebody else’s dream. In no time I was diverting all my efforts toward something I didn’t really care about. I became irritable, stressed, and unhappy. Thanks in part to my husband, I realized what was happening, swallowed a heavy dose of whatthefuckamidoing, and finally just said no. Continue reading “In search of Harmony”

There’s something wrong with this picture

Can you see it? This is my To Do list for today, but it could very well be yesterday’s or tomorrow’s. It’s fairly representative, with the exception of “Call doctor” which swaps out with “Call dentist,” “Call plumber,” “Call Verizon,” and “Return client’s call” depending on the day.

The problem with this picture is that it is missing something very important. It’s missing “Write.” Continue reading “There’s something wrong with this picture”

Thank you sir, may I have another?

I suppose this is why people sign up for those fitness boot camps: To have somebody crack the whip.

I just joined a Writer’s critique group last night for that very reason. My first ever. I was a little surprised to find out that most of the members belonged to more than one. I wondered if it was possible to get addicted to these groups the way Jack did with his multiple support groups in Fight Club. I joined the group to get some much-needed brutally honest feedback on my writing, so I couldn’t fathom getting addicted to that kind of punishment on more than a biweekly basis. But after sitting through last night’s meeting, I’m beginning to realize it’s more than just voluntary pain and suffering. It’s fun!

Apart from me, there were four women and one man. Tracy the hostess (not her real name) is writing a YA fantasy. Pablo (also not his real name) likes to write sci-fi. Nina (you guessed it, I’m changing all their names to protect the innocent) is into cyberpunk and Kim is… well, I never learned what Kim is into, but I was so impressed with her reviewer comments that I’m sure whatever she writes will be amazing. Leah just started last night, like me, but she already belonged to another group that helped her on a short story already under review. Everybody seemed seriously into their craft and very willing to offer up constructive criticism.

I didn’t post anything for them to review; mainly I just wanted to see what the group was like and if I felt it would be a good fit for me. I think it will be. I have no doubt that they will motivate me to post pages in two weeks when we meet again, and if I don’t, I hope they kick my butt. Aside from the obvious external accountability a group like this offers, it also offers something else I haven’t had yet: Readers. Finally, I have somebody I am writing to. And that’s reason enough to whip myself into shape.


Not enough hours in the day

Well sh*t! There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all my reading AND writing! Do I steal a quick chapter out of Water for Elephants, The Screwtape Letters, or listen to Dune for 30 minutes (almost done… so close)? All of them are fantastic. Not to mention reading Harry Potter to my son and Winnie the Pooh to my daughter each night. Then, there’s that little novel I’m writing…

My next novel is going to take place on a planet with a 36 hour rotation period where everybody gets everything done every day. It’s genre will be fantasy.