June 22, 2011

Bye (for a While)

So, I'm going underground for a bit.  Sorry to fall silent.  I'll let you know my adventures when I'm back.  In the meantime, happy writing.  Miss you all!

June 21, 2011

Michael Collier's "Argos"

I recently read the poet Michael Collier's collection The Ledge.  What clear-eyed loveliness.  One of my favorites in the collection ~ and there were many ~ was this one "Argos." If this doesn't shake something loose inside you, nothing will.

Argos
by Michael Collier

If you think Odysseus too strong and brave to cry,
that the god-loved, god-protected hero
when he returned to Ithaka disguised,
intent to check up on his wife

and candidly apprize the condition of his kingdom,
steeled himself resolutely against surprise
and came into his land cold-hearted, clear-eyed,
ready for revenge--then you read Homer as I did,

too fast, knowing you'd be tested for plot
and major happenings, skimming forward to the massacre,
the shambles engineered with Telemakhos
by turning beggar and taking up the challenge of the bow.

Reading this way you probably missed the tear
Odysseus shed for his decrepit dog, Argos,
who's nothing but a bag of bones asleep atop
a refuse pile outside the palace gates. The dog is not

a god in earthly clothes, but in its own disguise
of death and destitution is more like Ithaka itself.
And if you returned home after twenty years
you might weep for the hunting dog

you long ago abandoned, rising from the garbage
of its bed, its instinct of recognition still intact,
enough will to wag its tail, lift its head, but little more.
Years ago you had the chance to read that page more closely

but instead you raced ahead, like Odysseus, cocksure
with your plan. Now the past is what you study,
where guile and speed give over to grief so you might stop,
and desiring to weep, weep more deeply.

June 20, 2011

Taking Responsibility for Your Audience

Friday’s video with Rob Kapilow is so rich and wonderful, I thought I’d pick up on another idea he highlights, and that’s about our responsibility to our audiences.

In that video at about 7:40, Rob talks about realizing that he had been playing this particular piece of piano music forever, but he had not actually heard it, and if he hadn’t really listened and heard it, how in the world could a regular audience have any hope of detecting the wonderful nuances that the composer intended? The hundreds of small inspired choices composers make go over most people’s heads. And then Rob made it his mission to educate audiences ~ and he’s so so good at it. He’s entertaining and intelligent and wonderful.

And then (at 11:40) he talks about a retreat he went on with Hallmark Greeting Cards. He quoted a communications expert who spoke at the event:

Most of us think that self-expression happens here [pointing to himself]. It’s all about our content, what we want to say, how we project our voice. But self-expression doesn’t happen here [again pointing to himself]; it happens out there [gesturing to the audience]. … Try taking responsibility for how people listen you.

For Rob, that is the issue with classical music ~ everyone is focused on the wrong side of the footlights. If people aren’t hearing those subtleties, you are expressing nothing. That’s why it became his mission to teach the subtleties of the art.

This, once again, applies so much to writing.

There are two ends of the spectrum. There are those who write strictly for the market. Sure, they may be good writers and are artful, but they do not follow their heart ~ they follow their pocketbook or the market or someone else. All valid reasons sure, but I don’t think it will be their best work. Then there are those who are doing “their art” ~ screw audiences. If anyone wants to try and suss out what the writer is saying, it’s up to the reader, and the writer won’t help out a bit. (The modernist poet Ezra Pound is first among this type of writer. Joyce is this way also. But for some reason I hold it against Pound but not Joyce. Maybe because Joyce wrote “The Dead.”) I am offended by writers who totally ignore their readers.

I’m in the middle, and I believe that it is our responsibility, like Rob says, to help your audience understand you. This takes the form of satisfying genre convention, using good technique and grammar, and “teaching your reader how to read you.” I do believe there are times where a writer is by necessity difficult ~ perhaps your trying to convey a difficult and complex concept ~ but deliberate showy obscurity is the height of selfishness, in my book.

Besides, as a writer, you need to be outwardly focused, don’t you? I mean, what’s the point of me me me all the time? Isn’t writing about connection? About being a spokesman for the world?

It is definitely our responsibility to hold up our half of the writer-reader compact, to be a kind and considerate partner in this exchange.

June 17, 2011

Friday Loveliness

So, I recently discovered Gel, which is very much like TED only weighted slightly toward the creative side. Fabulous stuff. They have smart, funny, intellectually authentic videos just like TED. Today I wanted to focus on one that blew me away.

I love it when you come across an brilliant mind and charismatic speaker whose ideas mesh so well with yours, especially when they are in a different field and able to say it in a new way. Yesterday, that fabulous dynamic person was Rob Kapilow, American composer, conductor, and music evangelist.

He starts by talking about Bird by Bird, that great book about writing by Anne Lamott. He extends its ideas to life. Your working hard getting nowhere in your writing, or in your life, and then something happens. He quotes Anne:

You find yourself back at your desk, staring blankly at the pages you filled yesterday. And there on page four is a paragraph with all sorts of life in it, smells and sounds and voices and colors and even a moment of dialogue that makes you say to yourself, very, very softly, “Hmmm.”

Then he says:

You’d had that sense that you’d come in contact with something important that resonated in some kind of fundamental way. I believe the ability to listen for the “Hmmm,” and more importantly the ability to act when something makes you go “Hmmm” is one of the most important abilities that you can possibly have.

This idea of his fits so well as an answer to “Where do you get your ideas?” (Which is kind of what Anne was talking about in the quote, but I’ll extend it a bit.) For me, I’m never at a loss for ideas. They come thick and fast, especially when I’m “in” my writing or tuned in to that frame of mind. For me, ideas come as Hmmm moments. Something will catch my attention, my emotion, my interest, and set my mind agoing. Before you know it, I’ve got a first sentence or the ideas spool themselves out into a character or a plot. An entry point and that “force that through the green fuse drives the flower,” that creative drive and impetus and life. It catches hold and spins me, and is like the kneel Catholics give before entering the pew, a ritual that puts me into a certain state. This way I work fits so well with what Rob is talking about here.

But he goes on, wonderfully, beautifully. He does this amazing thing: he explicates what the experts hear and what moves them (in music). He tells a story about a great teacher Nadia Boulanger, who taught all the greatest composers of the twentieth century, who opened his ears so that he really listened. “There is both an enormous and an infinitely small difference between good and great. The difference is hundreds of small but inspired choices,” he says, and it is so true. And then he made it his mission to show audiences how to hear just as he had that epiphany, which he does regularly on NPR and through teaching.

Oh, oh! In writing, exactly the same thing. It’s so funny because when I was teaching Freshman Comp, every once in a while I would get these perfect papers with these eloquent turns of expression and perfect grammar. You would think that I would’ve jumped for joy, wouldn’t you? But of course I didn’t because this was plagiarism, and someone had bought a paper to hand in. I can see why it happened, but how could a person actually believe that I ~ or any writer/teacher ~ could mistake a professionally written paper from that of a freshman in college? It’s because, to them, they cannot sense the difference, but an expert can tell in the first sentence. That’s what Rob is trying to teach audiences, to sense the difference between good and great, to be able to understand what the composer and the arranger and the musicians were trying to communicate in the intricate and complex language of music.

And that’s what makes the difference between good and great in writing: hundreds of small but inspired choices. First you have to be able to tell that difference ~ which is where reading voraciously and commenting on peers’ work and mimicking the greats comes in. Then you have to implement it in your own work. (This is why I don’t understand people who want it to remain a mystery and can’t explain how they do things. Aren’t our tools words, and if you can’t explain what you’re doing, how can you possibly hope to explain the delicate colors of contaminated water or that look your partner gives you when you’ve broken his heart for the final time?)

He goes on and says many other great things. You should immediately go and watch it all the way through. But in the meantime, I wanted to make your Friday lovely with this ~ if nothing else, go to 17:50 on the video and listen to him playing the piano.

June 15, 2011

A Kickass Exploration of Metaphor

Over at Gotham, James Geary has this great piece on metaphor, "Metaphor and Pleasure: Experience is a comb that nature give to bald men."  I love the exploration, the sussing out of the ligamen, the exploration of metaphor's history.  A must-read for writers.  I can't wait to read I is an Other, his new book.  (Because, you know, you and I are geeks about this kind of stuff.)

Catch his TED talk here.

June 14, 2011

Mary Beth Baptiste

I ran into an old writing friend yesterday ~ Mary Beth Baptiste. It sure was great to see her. She’s a thoughtful woman, very petite, who has such a zest for life. We used to work together at an environmental consulting firm, and we were also in a writers group together for a bit. She’s been working a memoir for a long time, and apparently ~ thrilling news! ~ she was able to get a great agent for it! I am so stoked for her.

Mary Beth, if you are reading this, please comment or send me an email and give me the lowdown on the memoir. I’ll post it here.

A little bit more about Mary Beth (via Permanent Vacation).

Excerpt from "The Weight of a Harlequin"

"Back in Massachusetts, where I came from, I tiptoed through life in fussy clothes and impractical shoes. Like everyone I knew, I lived life with much to spare. I held back, saved it for storms. This was the approach to life I’d been raised with: 'It’s too hot to ride your bike to the library,' my mother would say, setting her soft chin primly over her eyelet collar. 'It would tax your heart.' My grandmother would nod in agreement as she reached into her pocketbook for the keys to her sky-blue Ford."

Mary Beth’s bio:

For her master’s degree in wildlife biology, Mary Beth Baptiste researched human-bear interaction at Shenandoah National Park. She later worked at Cumberland Gap and Grand Teton National Parks. After seven years at Grand Teton, she moved to Laramie, Wyoming, where she now lives with her husband, Richard. Her employment history, while suspect, provides fertile ground for writing material: soda jerk, fire-tower lookout, lab technician, land steward, school counselor, substance-abuse counselor, yoga teacher, wildlife biologist, technical writer, bookstore clerk, environmental scientist, and nonprofit development director. When she’s not writing, Mary Beth enjoys hiking, cross-country skiing, dancing, and spending time with friends, especially when chocolate is involved. She was a 2009 resident at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner, Wyoming, and has won several writing awards, including the Doubleday Award for Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in Vermont Literary Review, Copper Nickel, Newsweek, Wyoming Wildlife, Stonehill Alumni Magazine, and two other anthologies.

She also did a great piece for Newsweek for the My Turn column about how to have a wedding on $150. Catch that here.

Great job, Mary Beth! I’m pulling for you. (And I can’t wait to order my copy of the memoir.)

June 13, 2011

War Horse and The Book of Mormon

Watched part of the Tony’s last night. The Book of Mormon and War Horse took much of it ~ from what I’ve seen, very well deserved.

Regarding War Horse, have you seen this fabulous TED talk by the puppeteers of the Handspring Puppet Company? The horse puppets are so real, so very real. They act like horses. The most amazing thing.

And then there’s The Book of Mormon. I don’t know much about the show, only the bit they showed last night. It looks really good. It seems like it might be the year of the Mormon, what with it in the news all the time. I was raised in a Mormon community, though my family is not Mormon. (My grandpa settled in northern Wyoming in 1894 and liked to say he “saw ‘em come over the hill.”)

I won’t get in a discussion of theology here, but I did want to say: Meeting someone of the Mormon faith is like meeting a better version of yourself. They come across as happier, healthier, more optimistic, and cleaner than you or I. It’s as if you were transported to an idealized version of the 1950s. It’s a good lesson for me because I tend to focus on the dark side and to wonder what goes on behind closed doors. I give credence to the bad things people do to each other, when I should also emphasize the good in people.

That’s what ideals are for, aren’t they? To remind us to be better, less self-involved, more kind and caring.

Question of the Day:  Why do we tend to be snarky rather than simply strive to be a better person?

June 10, 2011

The Band Sorry, No Sympathy

I was talking with my great friend Kim, who is a fabulous artist, yesterday. She mentioned that her son had a band and showed me their Facebook and Myspace pages. I have to say, I was totally blown away.

The band is called Sorry, No Sympathy, and they play hardcore metal/screamo. Wow. Their music just rocks. The band members are Chase Corrigan on voice, Trevor Kuma on guitar and voice, Jesse Riter on guitar, Sean McGee on bass, and Blaise Turcato on drums. Blaise is Kim’s son.

Their bio:

Since their inception in January 2010, Sorry, No Sympathy has been writing and playing music focusing in the genres of metal and hardcore. Be on the look out for their EP release of "Give a Boy a Gun", due out in May of 2011.

You know how it is when you hear so and so has a fairly new band. You think, ah, that’s nice, I bet they sound a little rough. But these guys DO NOT. They’re music is so pulled together and blood-pumpingly raw (in the good way). They write their own songs, and their latest have been based on a book called Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser. It’s about a Columbine incident, and what little I read was horrible and great, if you get my meaning.

My favorite of their songs so far is “The Cave You Fear.” I particularly like the rif starting at about 2:45.

I’m sorry ~ I don’t know much about all the bandmates, and only a little about Blaise. He created the posters and the album cover himself (without the assistance of his mom the kickass artist). The album cover has a haunting image of a boy standing by a window, blank wall at his back, lace-curtained window at his side, toys around his feet, a semi-auto in his hands. The model is another of Kim’s sons, Reece.

I am so totally blown away by people who follow their passion and create art. Art is damn hard. Whether it’s music or writing or drawing or graphic design or whatever, it takes so much effort to put it all together, to pull it out of yourself and present it to the indifferent world. You can tell when something comes from a person’s deepest emotions and fears and self ~ it hums with authenticity and moves you, when all around there are things that try to move you in a surficial way and merely serve to numb you further. I love art that takes me out of myself and my complacency. Sorry, no sympathy does that.

So, music producers, take note. And everyone else too. Fan them on Facebook, fan them on Myspace, check them out on YouTube, listen to their music, and wait with baited breath for their first self-produced album, Give a Boy a Gun, hopefully out soon.

In the meantime, enjoy their show at the Gothic Theatre in Denver.

June 9, 2011

Ebony Apples Rolling Downhill, by Red Shuttleworth

Today, I wanted to highlight the work of Red Shuttleworth.  He is not only a kickass poet, but also he's a great friend to and advocate for poets and writer.  Red, you rock! 

Ebony Apples Rolling Downhill
by Red Shuttleworth

Who's to blame for a jealous mouth?
Days of awkward blood. I scramble
up out of bed and run until I fall:
abandoned copper mines, barren coulees,
tiny bars of paper-wrapped soap
liberated from 3rd rate motels, you
weeping snot onto rock concert T-shirts....

You're like some hairless steer....
always needin' shade.

They issued a week's worth of gauze
at the county hospital. On that somber note,
you thought a gold nose stud was an answer.
The question of rust is as difficult to deliver
as it is to grasp. Yet... you do have
lovely peach skin and a beautiful
I-Sure-Am-Stumped smile.

Dusk... clumps of asphalt where
the AAA map indicates a road.
We're out of ice cubes, sugar.
It gets muggy once the car is loaded.
One method of cooling down
is to wander a small town,
saying, turn-by-turn,
Good lawn... Bad lawn.

Parked on Cemetery Road:
sunflower seeds and small talk.
Rattlers don't carry much blubber.
You either feel lukewarm or hinge-busted.
Wild Turkey ought to be in soda pop machines.
How many cadavers go into making the Northern Lights?
We stare at a dark pasture...
sold on the tactic of never opening
first class mail from out of town.


Red and Kate Shuttleworth, and their Irish Wolfhound, Wolfie, live in Washington in the Columbia Basin, not too close to Moses Lake. Their daughter Ciara is also a great poet.

June 8, 2011

Obsessive, Me?

Yes, I’ll admit I’m a little obsessive. Not the wash-your-hands-till-they-bleed kind of obsessive. Not the check-the-lock-on-the-door-three-times obsessive. More when I get a problem or a task in front of me, especially when I’m in a certain mood, I can’t let it go and I worry it and obsess about it.

This makes me good at computer problem-solving, and in every job I’ve held I’ve ended up by default becoming a computer go-to person. Those engineering classes help, but it’s more about the fact that I’m a bulldog when it comes to these things and won’t unclench until I’ve figured it out.

This is not always a good trait ~ just ask my husband. I’ll sink my teeth into something and I let other things go until I’ve solved the damn thing. I once spent two nonconsecutive weeks straight trying to get an online backup to work. (Grrrrrr.)

Puzzles like Sudoku and Scrabble and crosswords don’t strike me the same way. I don’t know why. I’ve never gotten into them. They seem surficial, while the puzzle of putting together fiction or tracking down your ancestors for family history is fascinating to me. I guess it’s something about the level of complexity. I would venture that one reason people like puzzles like Sudoku is that they are a pleasant diversion and it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. I guess I need the complexity and engagement of the bigger problems.

But it also means I lay in bed at night and obsess sometimes, my mind whirring and whirling. It’s not as bad as it used to be when I drank a lot of coffee and kept really irregular hours, but it still happens sometimes where my mind fixates on something and I can’t let it go. It’ll often be something I’m writing or about to write. Say I’ve got a letter or email on an important topic that I know I need to write. I’ll lay there and start composing it in my head, and it’ll go round and round. I think it’s a good thing in that my mind works over the problem and fixes it and the writing comes easier, but at the time I have a heck of time falling asleep. Part of it too is I hate unresolved conflict, and that will get me going.

Can you tell it happened to me last night?

Question of the Day: So, you got an quaint mental ticks?

June 7, 2011

Writing Is Like Running

Today, I thought I’d spin out a metaphor. Writing is like running because …

First of all, both writing and running are hard, damn hard. You know that old saw, you have to push yourself harder than you ever imagined when exercising? It’s so true. I didn’t know how true until I started running regularly. I try for three miles, and at first I kept expecting it to get easier. It never did. That’s because the hard part isn’t the physical part. Certainly at first it is, but soon your body gets used to it, and it’s the mental toughness that counts. Pushing yourself to run ~ er, jog ~ for 35 minutes, which is what it takes me to go three miles, takes a lot of internal pep talk.

I tell myself, you can do it! I tell myself, you’re paying it forward, and tomorrow will be easier (lies, all lies!). I tell myself, just the next lap. I count down my laps, and my favorite one is the second to last one ~ not because it’s the second to last but because on the last one I push myself as hard as I can and after the grindingly slow pace of before it’s fabulous to be flying but the anticipation of the lap before is delicious.

Writing is like this. You have to push yourself harder than you ever imagined. You have to face your inner slacker and stare him down. It’s all up to you, just like in running, and the world does not care a whit if you finish something. In fact, it works actively against you, as it would rather you were serving its needs, rather than your own. As you work those laps, those pages, you have to find little justifications and tricks to get yourself going and around the next bend. “It’s just one page” and “I’m just having fun ~ nobody will ever see it” and “if you don’t write today, it’ll be that much harder tomorrow.” It’s a combination of carrot and stick, but bottom line you have to push yourself to write every day, to get better, to try harder, to go those places emotionally that might scare you out of your wits.

Running and writing are the same because you have to practice every day if you’re going to be any good or complete any body of work. Because each day you lay off makes it that much harder to get into it. You lose muscle, both body and mind, and you get flabby. The discipline’s the thing. This is particularly important when writing a novel. It’s takes a sustained effort, like a marathon, to finish a novel, and it’s easy to get discouraged. By writing every day, you stay in the story, in the world, and it helps to pull you along, just as by running every day you’re in the habit and it’s not so hard to push yourself to do it. So developing the habit is important.

It’s good to have rituals for both. For running, I like to go about 2:30 in the afternoon. There’s hardly anyone at the gym, and I like solitude. I run on an indoor track at our university gym. I change into my clothes and I always pop in a stick of Trident green apple and pineapple gum ~ it keeps my mouth moist. I go to the alcove with the padding by the track and I stretch, the same series of stretches, and then I start right in. I count my laps on my fingers as I go, single laps on my right, groups of five laps on my left. It’s 10 laps per mile. I don’t listen to music, but I think through things as I run and often obsess about my writing. When I’m done, I walk one lap to cool down and then I stretch and do crunches, pushups, and work my arms. Then I change back.

For writing, if at all possible, I do it first thing in the morning. I try not to check my email more than a glance and do not go on the internet. I start a little free timer on my desktop for 1 hour or 2 hours. I may not look at it again, but it helps to remind myself I can’t switch to anything else unless absolutely necessary while that is running. (I even use this trick for productivity at work.) Then I edit through a chapter or portion of what I wrote the day before up to the point I stopped and then I try to write four new pages. I try to complete a scene or a chapter or something, but some days I only get through the editing part. Then, sometimes in the evening if I’m going strong I’ll try to edit through stuff, but that doesn’t happen very often.

Neither writing nor running was something I was raised to do. No one “exercised” as I was growing up because on a ranch or as a waitress you get all the exercise you need. In fact, it was slightly looked down upon as the inferior lifestyle. I mean, if you did “real work” you didn’t need to exercise. No one wrote either. Many read, but no one was a writer. To arrive at the point of running and writing, I had a long way to go. I had to get over a lot of ingrained notions. Plus, exercising and writing are sort of higher level activities. You know Maslow’s Hierarchy? They are at the self-actualization level, and when you’re poor and live on a ranch, you’re just trying to figure out how to pay the bills, and self-actualization is not something you particularly worry about.

And that’s another thing. Writing and running are about self. Some people are very self-ish, and by that I mean more than simply lacking consideration of others. I mean it in a broader sense, that they are comfortable with self and self-referentiality and being the center of things. Their orientation and life is centered on self. While there are others who spend their whole lives running away from self. I have a great friend who’s working on a memoir, and we just had a long conversation yesterday about putting self on the page and how that’s hard for those who come from a Lutheran/Scandinavian/abjure all self culture. I much admire this person’s bravery at trying to claim self by writing a memoir (and a kickass one at that). My wonderful in-laws are like this. They are anti-self and are so giving ~ to the point that they don’t allow themselves to be creative or anything that’s at all self-referential. I think there’s a balance to be struck here. If you deny self, you can become so miserly and angry that you are never happy. Likewise, if you have too much self, you’re also miserable and solipsistic and hard to live with. In order to be creative or to look after your health, you have to balance both ends.

Finally, both writing and running force you to live your life, to be in your life. I know some argue that writing is secondary and derivative, but I do not believe that at all. You have to be present in your life in order to write about it, and you have to inhabit your experiences, even if they are not spectacular, in order to write about it. You have to process them and think deeply about them. Same with running ~ you have to physically be in your body and experience the world around you. And both writing and running are essential for (my) health, emotional and physical.

Questions of the Day: What activities do you compare your writing to?

June 6, 2011

Good News

You know, this publishing game runs so hot and cold. Half the time, you believe you are the worst writer on the planet and all you get back from the wide world is the sound of crickets. But sometimes ~ ah, yes, sometimes ~ some intrepid person sends back news that they accept you, that they love you, that what you write isn’t utter and total crap.

The writing game part is different and almost totally separate from the publishing part. Though it has its own exquisite pleasures and tortures.

So, I have good news! In addition to finishing the novel rewrite, I was accepted to go to Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in August, and just today I received word that a short story of mine, “Dammed,” was accepted for publication by the lovely Lee Ann Roripaugh at the South Dakota Review. (If you don’t know Lee Ann’s poetry, you should definitely check it out!)

So, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my day, my week, my year!

Question of the Day: How do you feel when you get an acceptance?

PS  The New Yorker Fiction Issue!!

June 3, 2011

Waving on the Internet

I was thinking this morning about the infinite good will of people. How people bring to their dealings such patience and forgiveness and hope and camaraderie. I was thinking about the web and how it’s this huge cocktail party and all that entails. In the best sense of the word (but also in the worst I suppose). Some will scoff at it all and say it’s very shallow and meaningless, but that’s because that what it is to them.

I think that’s often what my writing is about ~ people reaching out into the void and trying to make connection. Because really, what’s the internet if not an extension of the air around us, another void through which we send out signals, trying to find a receiver?

So in the spirit of offering our gestures to the void, here’s one of the all-time greats.

Not Waving But Drowning
by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

PS I'm here, listening. Send out your signals.

Questions of the Day: Do you believe in the inherent goodness of the internet? Or that it’s inherently evil?

June 1, 2011

Anticipating Your Reader’s World

Once thing I’ve really realized in this revision of the novel is that some of the best writing anticipates how people view the world. By that, I mean, when you come into a room, often it’s the smells and the sounds that you register first. Then you see the big picture as a whole. Then you focus in on movement or on what you’re looking for or what you’re most interested in, often the people in the room.

Since this is the way that people sense the world, then that’s how best to structure a paragraph, I’ve discovered. One of the errors I was constantly making in my last version of this novel was to jump around on this order and sometimes repeating myself.

The closer you can get to mirroring the way people see the world, the less they’re aware of your story as being a construct, and the more seamlessly and insidiously ~ MWA HA ~ you can reel them in.

Questions of the Day: Any recent epiphanies on how to structure a paragraph?