Important Writing Rule


Good authors don’t use adverbs… except for the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Rainbow Rowell, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jess Walter, Dodie Smith, Mark Twain, Henning Mankell, and pretty much everyone else* on my bookshelves.

*I didn’t find any in the four pages I read of the late Donald Barthelme’s work, but I knew him, so I forgive him.



Apostrophes are my friends. Therefore, I’m going to let the Italian characters in my novel use them, instead of sounding like they came out of an Errol Flynn pirate movie.

Comma Solution


Spread your manuscript on the floor. Take a giant handful of commas and throw it in the air. Stick them in wherever they fall. Works as well as any other method. #amediting

Advice from a very, very, nice agent


Got an email from an agent saying she’d thought about sending me a full manuscript request, but there was an element she didn’t like (and she was very specific about it). I agreed. We went back and forth, and she said I should resend a partial when I’d revised. She also said (and this is the really important part), that even when an agent already had my full manuscript, if I decided to make major changes I should let them know and send the revised version. This would never have occurred to me. So I did send the new version to the agent who had the full version and she was happy to get it.

This was an unnecessarily long way of saying what I could have summed up in one sentence.

At any rate, if anyone should sign me as a result of her excellent advice, I’m sending her flowers.*

*Or chocolate. Yeah, chocolate, good chocolate—not that cheap Valentines Day stuff in the cardboard heart boxes.



I hate Word. No, really. Mine seems to be run by an evil reformatting gnome who, for no reason whatsoever, occasionally inserts a space between paragraphs or at the end of a line, requiring me to use way too many of my depleted supply of braincells to fix it.



Just when I persuaded them to turn off the horrible, third rate, makes-you-want-to-slam-your-head-against-the-wall Reggae in my coffee/writing place, the fire alarm has a nervous breakdown and begins flashing like a strobe. Of course this only happens when I absolutely must finish something ASAP.