Archive | Writers Toolbox

Beating Writer’s Block

When aspiring writers ask me for advice, the most common question I get is about overcoming writer’s block. I think perhaps the reason this question is asked so frequently is that more than one situation is given the label “writer’s block.” Obviously, writer’s block refers to not knowing what to write, but I think it can be broken down into three separate categories: Problems with idea generation, Loss of faith in your writing’s quality, and […]

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Shutting Out the Cooks. Or, listening to yourself.

Hey y’all, It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I left my editor job, packed up my NYC apartment, then I went to Paris, and now I’m home home in Texas and this whole spiritual-existential crisis (aka my dark night of the soul) I’ve been having is still with me. Contrary to what pop culture makes you think (ya know, girl runs away to find herself), living in Paris for a month actually doesn’t solve […]

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Working On Multiple Projects

I’ve never been the kind of writer who writes best with multiple projects cooking at once. Some of my friends are at their happiest and most productive when juggling at least two different stories simultaneously, but I prefer to work on only one book at a time. Once I get that book to the end of whatever stage it’s at, whether it’s drafting, big-picture revisions, or line edits, and I’m waiting on feedback, that’s when I […]

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A New Method for Antagonists

I’ve had the pleasure over the past few summers to teach at Duke Young Writers’ Camp. One of my favorite courses was a Dark Fiction class for middle grade students. It was an opportunity to walk young writers through fiction that really pushes the boundaries. Unsurprisingly, many of my young writers go a little too far. One infamous story featured a villainous assassin targeting a list of grandmothers. It was a great opportunity to talk […]

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“Fun” With Spreadsheets: Tracking Your Writing Progress!

This is obviously a generalization, but I’ve noticed that quite a few of us writer-minded folk are not big fans of math and numbers. Building vast imaginary empires? Doable. Engineering a heist involving spaceships and intergalactic monsters? We got this. Figuring out that perfect alchemy of a hate-to-love relationship between characters? No problem. Looking at our royalty statements, i.e. twelve pages scattered with numbers, decimals, and percentages? *screeching horror violins from Psycho* (In all seriousness, […]

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