Daily Archives for: February 19th, 2017

What goes through your mind when you feel blocked?

Dear Literary Ladies,
You seem like such a prolific author, but like the rest of us who live by our pen, you likely feel blocked from time to time. How does this uncomfortable and sometimes scary feeling play out in your mind?

The dark times that came to me as a writer, those sterile periods when it seemed that not only the inkwell but the wells within had dried, were suffered alone. There doubtless have been and are creative writers who have not encountered this dark experience. The sense of aridity, the mind a desert, that usually follows the completion of a book. That sudden panic when every theme or plot your brain has cradled no longer so much as stirs. Read More→


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“My Head is My Study”: On Developing Plots and Characters

On the subject of developing plots and characters, one of my favorite quotes on writing is from Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women and numerous other classics. She said:

“My methods of work are very simple and soon told. My head is my study, & there I keep the various plans of stories for years sometimes, letting them grow as they will till I am ready to put them on paper … While a story is under way I lie in it, see the people, more plainly than the real ones, round me, hear them talk, & am much interested, surprised, or provoked at their actions.” (from a letter to a journalist, 1887)

During the writing of my first ten or eleven novels, I always had from one to four babies, toddlers, and preschoolers underfoot. I desperately loved writing fiction, and I longed for the day when I could sit down at the typewriter, take a deep breath, close my eyes in solitude, and think about what I wanted to say. Developing plots and characters is challenging when time is at a premium. Read More→


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