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General

Good-bye, and One Final Tip

I lied. To myself. I thought I could keep up a constant and frequent posting rate here at this blog, and it turned out to be impossible. I wasn't doing my real writing. So I'm taking this opportunity to wish my readers here farewell. To thank you for your generous comments.

And to offer one final bit of advice.
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General

Two Ways NOT to Get Your Nonfiction Book Published

I have two writing clients at the moment, both of whom are working on nonfiction books.  They both crave publication, and I believe they both have a good chance or I wouldn't have taken them on or stuck with them this long.  Yet they may each be sabotaging themselves.  I'll explain.

Lex (names and other minor details have been changed to protect my clients' privacy) is writing a book about a way to increase high performance in...
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Book Reviews

Can Fiction Be an Antidote to Loneliness?

When David Foster Wallace, a brilliant writer of both fiction and nonfiction, killed himself less than two years ago, I was as taken aback as many of his fans.  I hadn't read all of his work yet, and perhaps I'd missed what in retrospect seem strong hints of irremediable depression.  I always figured he was a realist who was in touch with life's darker, more absurd side, as I see myself.  But his unhappiness was deeper...
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Creativity

To Write? Play!

Play is anything but pointless for the unloosing of creativity.  Some writers swear by its value.  According to romance novelist Phoebe Conn, "Writing is just fun for me, wonderful fun.  It isn't like work, it's never drudgery."

And this is how novelist Phyllis Gebauer describes her thought processes before and after sitting down to write: "Yippee! Now I can work on my book, get out of here, 'play' with my people."
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Creativity

Are You Afraid to Befriend Your Shadow?

How fearful are you of your own fantasies?  Imagine doing anything you want. Anything!

For some people, especially women, it can be incredibly difficult to imagine breaking the normal boundaries of niceness.  In Getting Unstuck, a guide to unblocking your creativity, it's suggested that you talk to your shadow side to learn what's holding you back.
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Book Reviews

An Engineer's Thriller and How It Finally Got Published

The world may not end with a bang, but with a bioweapon. A new thriller, The Ark, posits a bad guy who heads a cult and wants to end the world as we know it. His method: a highly contagious disease that was found on Noah's Ark. The Biblical elements seem incidental to much of the action (to me, anyway). The scientists are the good guys.

The hero of this debut thriller is an engineer, much like...
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Creativity

8 Kinds of Awful Writing Advice

Every piece of writing advice you've been taught could be wrong – for you.

Always think of such rules as mere suggestions, knowing that the opposite of each one may be even more worthy.

When I interviewed 76 successful novelists and poets, I discovered how silly some of the usual instructions can be.  My advice, then, is that you seriously consider avoiding the following 8 types of advice:
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Creativity

Fresh Ways to Get Your Writing Rejected

When novelist Helen Simonson (Major Pettigrew's Last Stand) was asked to "help select work for short story contests, writing workshops and literary reviews," she made the shift from a desperate seeker of signs of approval for her own writing to a "callous discarder of manuscripts."  As she puts it:
Having spent many years putting hours of effort and creativity into my own work - sending off brown envelopes filled with still-warm pages, to various editors and judges...
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