general writing

Query-Go-Round

In 2013, I self-published my first novel, Hawser. I expected that I would sell a few of them and then get picked up by one of the traditional publishers who would doubtless be beating down my door. A large box arrived at my house containing five proof copies. Eagerly, I cracked them open and was appalled at the myriad

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Never Apologize, Never Explain.

In his 1970 Travis McGee novel The Long Lavender Look, John D. MacDonald wrote about taking a single object from childhood and fitting it into the context of its use. “You take an object. Roller skate. The kind from way back, that fastened to the shoes instead of coming with the shoes attached. Look and feel and

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The Cubs Win, But We Lose

Think about 1908 for a second. This is the year the Model T debuted, the year the Wrights finally unveiled their flying machine to the public. Theodore Roosevelt’s hand-picked successor William Howard Taft was elected as president. The Dow closed at 60.7296, a solid recovery after one of the many panics. In 1908, there were

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November Again

November already. Time to set aside the horror screenplay I’ve been working on the past week and get back to the matter at hand: word count. Fifteen hundred fresh words a day, every day until the 30th of November. When I first heard about National Novel Writing Month I thought it sounded 1. crazy and

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William Faulkner and the Nobel Prize for Literature

The poet James Galvin once told me this story about when Faulkner won the 1949 Nobel for literature:   There was a cub reporter in Oxford, Mississippi who was nuts about Faulkner, so his editor sent him to tell the great author that he had won the Nobel. The kid, delighted and nervous to meet

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Balzac, Coffee, Novels, Stories

Balzac was reputed to have drunk fifty cups of coffee a day. He worked continually, though not quickly, since he was obsessed with revision. He was known to rework particular passages many times as one would a poem, perpetually tinkering with individual words and phrases until he felt he could do no better. I’m sure

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Three Novels

In the late spring of of 2013, my father was stricken with a swift and sudden illness that took him from a reasonably healthy 76-year-old to a bottled oxygen-dependent invalid in a matter of a few hours. In a few weeks, he was dead. In his final days, he was unable even to speak. My father, a

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Reblog: The Working Parents’ Guide to Winning NaNoWriMo

Since tomorrow I embark on NaNoWriMo for the third time,  I thought I’d repost this hilarious gem. The Working Parents’ Guide to Winning NaNoWriMo Posted on November 26, 2014by k rawson It’s November 26th, do you know what your word count is? If you’re competing inNaNoWriMo you undoubtedly know what it is now, what it was yesterday

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At Your Peril

Every writer knows that it is unwise to show a first draft to anyone. They often learn this by bitter experience. But at some point you have to show it to someone. I mean, that is the reason for all of this. We want to connect with our readers, and the only way you can do that is by

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To Scrivener or not to Scrivener?

That is the question. Sure, we are used to Microsoft Word, but is it really all that great? Let’s take organization. If you halfway know what you’re doing you can create a style with chapter headings. Hell, you might even go down the rabbit hole of Microsoft formatting and set your margins, tabs and all

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