When Good Authors Write Bad Sentences

A 5-hour plane ride with a two-and-a-half-year-old, if you’ve never tried it, is kind of an Olympics-level parenting event, and I’m still recovering. So forgive me if this post lacks the normal verve and panache due to mental and physical exhaustion. The orgy of cultural consumption has continued unabated since my last post. I readContinue reading “When Good Authors Write Bad Sentences”

Not Sucking Is Hard

Before I get into the subject of this post, a couple of news items. First, I’ve had another essay accepted for publication, this time in a literary magazine called Hotel Amerika. This is a really exciting place to get published, because although they’re a relatively young journal, launched in 2002, they’ve already had something likeContinue reading “Not Sucking Is Hard”

Done (But Really Only Just Getting Started)

My first draft of the new novel is done, at a little over 84,000 words. *pats self on back* Now I’m typing it all up from my handwritten manuscript (as I explained the other day, I write first drafts out longhand so as to keep my writerly loins girded up against the temptations of internetContinue reading “Done (But Really Only Just Getting Started)”

Contemplating Dark Visions of Revisions with Aid of Macarons

Starting to see a light at the end of the long, dark first draft tunnel. My heroine is still struggling with despair, but she’s traveling, seeing the world, and having epiphanies right and left. Things are looking up for both of us. I’m at 72,o00 words, and I really don’t want my first draft toContinue reading “Contemplating Dark Visions of Revisions with Aid of Macarons”

The Great (Ex)Mormon Novel

Apparently this summer there was a mini-brouhaha over the question of whether “The Great Mormon Novel” would ever be written, and if so who would write it. A non-Mormon writer named Wallace Stegner said he thought it hadn’t been written yet, and it would probably be written by someone who’d left the Church and thenContinue reading “The Great (Ex)Mormon Novel”

Story Vs. Language

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, if you celebrated it.  The highlight of ours was the food – along with all kind of roasted things (turkey, potatoes, carrots), we had a Quebecois theme going, with homemade doughnuts (beignes) for brunch, “sugar pie” for dessert at dinner, and poutine for lunch the next day. I’d neverContinue reading “Story Vs. Language”

Orchids and Dandelions

I really enjoyed the piece in this week’s Atlantic about the orchid and dandelion children. Oversimplifyingly summarized: Certain genes can predispose people to conditions that make them more fragile, like depression, attention deficit, or being restless and risk-prone. New genetic research shows that these genes can be as helpful as they hurtful; much depends onContinue reading “Orchids and Dandelions”

Ups, Downs, and Qualifiers All Around

I’ll start with the bad news. I’ve now come to the part in the novel I’m currently working on where my heroine gets her heart broken. Up to now, the book has been mostly ironic philosophical humor mixed with giddy teenage infatuation, and it has been really fun to write. But now it’s going toContinue reading “Ups, Downs, and Qualifiers All Around”