Writing Articles

Plot and Character Development

December 14, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There is no one creative process. I was surprised to discover just the other day that the poet Yeats first wrote out in prose form what he then turned into a poem. It never occurred to me that poetry could originate in prose. I don’t know why it hadn’t, but... read more

Romance Villains

December 10, 2015 2:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You know who does good villains? Disney. Two easily come to mind: Claude Frollo the scrawny Archdeacon in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Ursula the massive sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Ruthless, self-righteous, religiously pious Frollo is super creepy – literally. As he creeps around the cathedral, spouting... read more

How To Take Criticism To Grow as a Writer

December 3, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

First: Aaaarrrrggghhh! (Yes, let’s just let out all the pain at the beginning.) Taking criticism is the worst. Horrible, horrible, viscera-writhing horrible. Okay, that’s done. Deep breath. Now let’s think constructively. Consider the source of the criticism before you consider whether you can learn from it. Take, for instance, reviews... read more

romance novels for feminists

Know Your Value

November 23, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

On November 20th I attended the Know Your Value event hosted by Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe in Orlando. It was the last of a nationwide effort focused on empowering women to express their worth in business and in life. The other cities on the tour were Philadelphia, DC, Chicago,... read more

How Big is Your Canvas?

November 12, 2015 9:00 am Published by 1 Comment

When my children were little, I read them lots children’s books. We all know the classics, to name just one: Goodnight Moon. I read it myself when I was a kid. Rereading it as an adult, I knew I wouldn’t know where to begin to write a book with a... read more

Coming Up With Story Ideas

November 9, 2015 9:00 am Published by 3 Comments

Cover photo credit: Odysseus and the Sirens, by J. W. Waterhouse (Public Domain) An upfront refinement: the challenge isn’t coming up with story ideas. The challenge is coming up with your interpretation of the story you have chosen from the finite pool of plots that have existed for all time. So a... read more

The Hero’s Journey

November 5, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The subtitle to this blog should be: The Romance. It is rather: Linguistics and Me. The idea of the hero’s journey is most associated with American mythologist Joseph Campbell and his book Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949). His work was inspired by Austrian psychologist Otto Rank’s The Myth of... read more

Finding Time to Write

October 29, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Writers write. Writers have to write. Writers can’t help but write. You’ve heard such statements. They’re true. They’re also potentially damaging. The implication behind them is that you’ll naturally find time to write, because as a writer, you write, you have to write, you can’t help but write. It’s easy... read more

Thanatos and Eros

October 26, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

On September 17, I went to the presentation of Regina José Galindo, a Guatemalan performance artist. She specializes in body art. The event was sponsored by the Duke University Department of Art & History and Duke Latino/a Studies. The room was packed, with easily 70 people in attendance. For the... read more

Alter Egos: Thomas Edison & Steve Jobs

October 8, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Photo Credit: Matthew Yohe, released under Creative Commons Attribution license. Last week I happened to read two books back to back. The first was Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Steve Jobs. The second was Jacked Up: The Inside Story of How Jack Welch Talked GE into Becoming the World’s Greatest Company... read more