Why here? Why now?*


The woman behind me in my favorite coffee/writing place has been talking on her phone to various people for 90 minutes. Luckily for me, it’s all about food storage in Nigeria (no, honestly) so I have no desire to do any serious eavesdropping.

*If you are expecting a scholarly discussion of Hillel, you will be very disappointed.

I believe in Unicorns


Every writer* has experienced those moments of self-doubt, those “I’m not talented, wasting my time, my writing is crap that nobody but indulgent friends and family will ever read, what was I thinking” times.

So It was astounding to get such high praise** from an agent who requested a full manuscript and another who asked me to query. Best of all, I really like both of them a lot and feel we’d make a good team.

All of this happened at Saturday’s Unicorn Conference. Thank you, Jan Kardys.

*I base this on a scientific sampling of the #amwriting Twitter group and a few writers I know.

**Don’t worry. I’ll go back to my old self-deprecating self soon.

From the world of theatre


At last night’s murder mystery in Newport News, VA, my cast complained that I so often get to be the victim*, thus giving me the last ten-fifteen minutes of the show to relax and drink bottled water. One of the perks of being the director.

*20 years ago, I was usually the murderer. It all balances out eventually.

A lesson for writers


Many times reading  The Quality of Silence I said to myself, this supposedly realistic book has a totally unrealistic premise and many unbelievable plot twists, yet I read the whole thing in two days, because it was well written and very exciting. Also, I haven’t read anything that interesting about the Arctic since seventh grade.*

There is a lesson for writers in this.**

*It was called The Friendly Arctic by Vilhjalmur Stefansson and it was 2,000 pages long. No, honestly.

**Let me know when you figure out what it is.

Critiquing critiquies


Here is my new absolute rule for responding to a critique group’s suggestions

Don’t bristle. Silently take what you like, ignore what you don’t, especially when it sounds like a line from a class.They haven’t read the whole novel and they may not remember the last section they did, so some things won’t make sense to. Also, taste varies from person to person.**

*File under, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

**And nobody’s will ever be as excellent as yours. HAHAHAHA

36,000 words


In celebration of crossing the 36,000 word mark in a first draft, I bought an extra cup of coffee and a brownie. Now I can’t sleep. You can’t have everything. Given the choice again, I’d still go with the extra coffee and the brownie.

Almost irresistible conversation


Today in my coffee/writing spot I was treated to a chat between two people I am fairly certain were pathological liars. They were meeting for the first time, supposedly so she could get advice on the feature film script she was writing. He had a thick accent—possibly  Moravian* She sounded a lot like a Valley Girl and claimed to be 19**

He had done a series of documentaries that many major studios almost picked up.

In her brief life she had runaway at 12, worked on a marijuana farm, won a full scholarship to Stanford which she somehow lost because her roommate stole her bed, worked as a waitress, dated a mafioso, investigated the fate of the ‘disappeared’ in Chile,  and written a (still unpublished) cookbook. Her dream is to start a gluten-free luggage store with her mom.

I’ve cleverly changed a lot of the actual details, because I’m averse to lawsuits, but this is pretty close to the actual conversation.

*of course I’m making that up. It was Sanskrit.

**As in’30.’

Things I would rather not listen to


The people behind me in my coffee/writing place are having a detailed and graphic conversation about kidney disease, including output and asparagus. I’m putting on my headphones, because almost anything* in my iTunes collection is better to write by.

*With the possible exception of “Noises for Kids’s Halloween Parties.” Yes, I actually have that one.