#5onFri: Five Ways Astrology Can Help You Write Your Novel

#5onFri: Five Ways Astrology Can Help You Write Your Novel

My first experience with astrology was probably like many of yours: reading a horoscope for my sun sign in a magazine. As a Virgo, my horoscopes were generally about being tidy and organized and not being so critical. Which, sure. I could 100% use that advice. But I’m more than a pathological organizer with a… Read more »

The Double-Edged Sword of Deadlines

The Double-Edged Sword of Deadlines

For the first time ever, an editor had accepted one of my pitches. And he just so happened to work at a lit mag of my dreams. I dashed off my reply, mentally adding this triumph to my author bio, then looked at my calendar. I’d agreed to send him a 2,000-word personal essay on… Read more »

Create Your Own Writing Space at Home

Create Your Own Writing Space at Home

Much has been said about the importance—or rather, the need—for a writer to have a room of her own. All the better (at least, in the 21st century), if the said room comes with a door that locks from the inside and with zero Internet connection. But what if you don’t have a spare bedroom… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Secondary Character Arcs to Strengthen Your Cast

#5onFri: Five Secondary Character Arcs to Strengthen Your Cast

If you’ve spent much time in the writing world, you’re probably familiar with the idea of character arcs. For those who are new to this term, character arcs are the internal transformations of your cast as they struggle to overcome major flaws or wounds—typically in the form of a positive,  negative, or flat arc. As… Read more »

Lighten Up: Injecting Humor to Relieve Narrative Tension

Lighten Up: Injecting Humor to Relieve Narrative Tension

I know I’m in trouble when I’m taking my work too seriously when I can’t find something to be amused by. I have written about some really unfunny things—addiction, cancer, death. My latest novel, An Upside-Down Sky, is set in Namyan, a Buddhist country modeled after Burma, which is a kissing cousin of North Korea… Read more »

Facing Shame: Healing through Writing a Memoir

Facing Shame: Healing through Writing a Memoir

People write memoirs for many different reasons—as a way to process trauma, find healing, or even take revenge on family members who may not have been as nice as they could have been. I didn’t start writing a memoir for any of those reasons. I began writing down my stories because I felt compelled to… Read more »

How to Write a Love Story: My Top 4 Tips

How to Write a Love Story: My Top 4 Tips

What makes a great love story? Whether you’re writing romance, mystery, or literary fiction, when you’re incorporating romance into our work, the task is the same—to write a believable, engaging relationship that keeps readers turning the pages. (I write contemporary fiction, for example, but I write contemporary fiction that sometimes has romance in it, and… Read more »