• Happy New Year

    Happy New Year

    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy start to a fresh new year. I know I am entering 2021 with renewed gratitude for the many things I took for granted, and renewed perspective on what is important. May 2021 be kind to you and may we all be kind to one another!

  • Fiction,  The Writing Life,  Writing prompts,  Writing quotes

    Writing: It’s Complicated

    Each September, I write a New Year post, because for me, the back -to-school schedule feels most like the start of a new year. Teaching for over 30 years will do that for you. This year, however, the landscape looks vastly different to everyone, school or no school, and I’m finding it hard to get motivated. It doesn’t feel like the usual fresh beginning of September. It feels like dragging my feet through yet another day of uncertainty. One bit of advice that has come in handy from time to time is fake it ‘till you make it, and perhaps this is one of those times. So, even though my…

  • 2020,  Fiction,  How To Write A Novel: Step by Step,  The Writing Life,  Writing prompts,  Writing quotes

    HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL: The Beginning

    The WRITER’S OATH I promise solemnly: 1. to write as often and as much as I can, 2. to respect my writing self and 3. to nurture the writing of others. I accept these responsibilities and shall honour them always. Gail Carson Levine – Writing Magic Starting a novel is a daunting task. If you have been following the How To Write a Novel series, you’ll know that we have done some preliminary work with ideas and characters, and outlines. But at some point, you need to begin actually crafting this work that will be at least a couple of hundred pages long. So, let’s get started! At the top…

  • The Writing Life,  Writing prompts,  Writing quotes

    Today, Something is Different

    Have you ever noticed that, even if you are calm and unflappable as a general rule, one day, someone will do something that annoys you and suddenly you become a crazed maniac, wanting revenge? Today, something is different. Your reaction is completely over-the-top and out of proportion to the crime. It happens. In a Writers’ Digest reference book I found on my shelf titled Crafting Novels and Short Stories, Elizabeth Simms talks about this very thing. Don’t Overlook Everyday Interactions “A chance encounter with a stranger can be powerful enough to transform a moment, a day, or even your life. Just think what you can do in your fiction with…

  • Fiction,  The Writing Life,  Writing prompts,  Writing quotes


    Honour the miraculousness of the ordinary. Andrew Motion Interviewing is a fun way to get to know your main character or yourself, for that matter, if you’re writing a memoir.  Don’t forget to record your answers in your writer’s notebook. TEN QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR TEEN CHARACTER What is your biggest fear? What was your most embarrassing moment? Who do you most admire and why? How is your upbringing different from that of your friends? What do you dream about? Who is your best friend and what makes that person special? If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? What do you like most about…