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Across The Blank Page

by Bill Kenower

When Author was still in its infancy, I had the chance to interview the novelist Alice Hoffman. I mentioned that I had just listened to an interview with Meryl Streep in which the actress discussed her doubt that anyone would still want to cast her in a movie. Hoffman, who has had a long, prolific, profitable, and decorated career, said she felt much same say. “With every novel,” she explained, “I feel that I don’t know how to write a novel.  It never gets easier.  And I always think maybe this is horrible.” 

I remembered Hoffman’s comments two years later when I interviewed Louis Sachar, author of, among many other books, Holes, the bestselling young adult novel for which he won both the Newberry and the National Book Award. Sachar described a conversation he’d had recently with Judy Blume in which he asked the legendary children’s book author if she ever wondered if a book she’d just finished was any good at all. “Every one,” she replied.  more...


Rejection Hell:
You’re Not Alone 

by Erin Brown

I’ve been receiving a rash of emails lately lamenting the abject horror of the whole submission—a.k.a. rejection—process. Bottom line: it sucks. Royally.

It’s similar to going on a first date after months (hell, years!!) of preparation: you’re dressed to the nines, sparkly and brilliant for the occasion, putting your best foot forward, excited, ready for the world to be yours and…your jerk of a date takes one brief look at you and says with a smirk, “Nah, you’re no good. Not my type. Ugly. Bad personality. Move along, please.” Facing rejection of your manuscript, your baby, your passion, is no different. more...

A Capital Idea

by Cherie Tucker

Ours is a fluid language, and the flood of technological upgrades is speeding changes even faster. Rules that used to be unquestioned are now reduced to mere suggestions.  In the world of capitalization, things have become quite challenging.  Of course beginning sentences with capitals remains unchanged, as well as referring to yourself with a capital I.  There are some new twists, however, in situations that might confuse you.
Family members deserve our love and respect, but they don’t always get capitalized.  If you are writing about or to relatives and refer to them by title, use capitals. 





by Jennifer Paros

The other night, my husband, my youngest son, and I all sat down to play a game of SORRY.  It took a little convincing, though, as my son  - due to a recent losing streak – had banned most board games.  Warily, he agreed to play. 

If you’re familiar with SORRY you know that the object is for each player to get all his pieces safely Home.  There’s also Safety Zones where one is no longer vulnerable to the schemes and brutality of the other playersEventually, all of us were in our Safety Zones, drawing card after card  (no dice in Sorry) to see who would win. 

My son was in near agony with anticipation.  And then, when the fateful card was drawn and my husband claimed victory, my youngest bellowed over the unfairness, stormed off, and slammed his bedroom door. 

For a long time now, he has equated losing at games with being a loser and so, for him, it wasn’t a matter of who got to move a little plastic piece to the space marked Home first, it was a matter of his value being on the line.  He has yet to embrace himself separate and stable from the things he does and their outcomes.  Not, actually, in truth, so unlike me.  more...


Story Candy

by Joan Frank

Francine Prose once complained that too few literary characters have to use the toilet now and again. It irritated her in a craft-monitoring way. She wondered why writers don't more often choose to deal with real human rhythms, while evoking otherwise grittily-authentic worlds. Prose was suggesting that this sort of omission, while discreet, flattens the dimensionality of an art form that wants nothing to do with discretion.  

In recent years it's struck me that much contemporary work rushes past a similar concern. In talking with my best friend, I cited what most bugged me about a popular story collection I'd just read: the effortless wealth through which its characters moved. Luxuriant goods, services, homes and cars, high-end toys, food, booze, drugs, travel—automatically furnished their lives. more...


An Epiphany is Not a
Character Arc

by Jason Black

When plotting out or revising your novel, it’s important to understand the difference between an epiphany and a character arc. Both are useful and important, but they serve very different roles in the narrative. They are salt and sugar: both dry, white, granular materials, both similarly important in cooking, but not remotely interchangeable.

What is an epiphany?

An epiphany is a moment of revelation, when a character comes to understand something she couldn’t grasp before. I’m not talking about realizations that relate to the plot, as when a character suddenly understands the key to a mystery. Those are great story moments, but they don’t have much to do with characterization.  more...





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