Archive | Writers Toolbox

Adding to Your Writer’s Arsenal: School Visits

I am a firm believer in a diverse portfolio. One way to thrive in the writing industry is to be more than just a writer. As my debut novel made its way onto bookshelves, I asked myself two important questions. What other tools did I have in my arsenal? And how could I use that unique skill set to carve out a space for myself in a competitive industry? One expertise came to mind. I […]

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Filling the Blank Page

And then what? It’s a question I seem to be asking myself almost constantly, under my breath, in the strangest of situations—chopping vegetables, brushing my teeth, washing the dishes—and then what? In the back of my mind, I’m always trying to figure out how to fill the next blank page of my work in progress, always trying to figure out what comes next. The question is reflexive at this point, almost a verbal cliché, and […]

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Plot, PoV and Agenda. Or: Is This Your Story to Tell?

I think this week was the tipping point. At least for me. Last week, fellow PubCrawl contributor Patrice Caldwell and I were at the amazing Highlights Foundation, teaching (with agent Linda Camacho and author Linda Sue Park) a workshop on representing responsibly. It’s something I talk about frequently — as member of We Need Diverse Books and the co-founder of CAKE Literary, but especially as a brown writer with brown children who still struggle to […]

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My Cut Material File and How it Frees Me

Sometimes when an actor is being interviewed, they will say they were in a particular film, “but my scene was left on the cutting room floor,” meaning they were cut out of the movie. This used to strike me as pretty depressing. Just the thought of all that work—work by the actors, the director, and the cinematographer— all tossed out because the film editor thought it wasn’t needed. That was before I learned the hard […]

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Preparing for public speaking

When I was a debut author, I was scared of a lot of things. (Okay, I’m still scared of a lot of things.) But one thought that really rattled me was public speaking, which, for a lot of us, is part of the job of being an author. Answering questions on panels. Saying anything with any level of authority. At least with written interviews and blog posts, I had the opportunity to revise my answers […]

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