how to write

I’m incubating …

Incubating.  What does that mean, someone recently asked.  This person had first asked if I was taking a break, now that my new book is finished and in production.  Lord, no, I said.  Writing is what I do.  It’s what I think about when I’m up the creek without a paddle – e.g., in the dentist’s waiting room, in the supermarket checkout line, or lying awake at two in the [...]

By | 2018-01-28T07:50:02+00:00 2017|Blog|15 Comments

The art of the apology

“I’m sorry,” she said in horror. Embarrassed, she said, “I’m really sorry.” “I am so, so sorry,” she said with heartfelt regret. I write these words in my books all the time.  In fact, I’m about to write a pivotal scene in Making Up in which apologies are key.  It’s between mother and daughter, Margaret and Mackenzie, ages 60 and 38 respectively, and they’ve been estranged for nearly five years.  [...]

By | 2017-03-30T05:00:00+00:00 2017|Blog|3 Comments

Word Revolution, Part 2: YOU

You wordsmiths, you!  Thanks so much for reading last month’s blog and jumping in with your own suggestions.  I was thrilled with the words you posted – and dismayed at not having thought of them myself!  In an attempt to rectify the latter, I hereby revisit the word revolution issue.  Just to refresh your memory, last month I listed words that have taken on new and previously unimagined meanings.  This [...]

By | 2016-11-30T12:00:40+00:00 2016|Blog|1 Comment

Word revolution

Here's a fun exercise. But first, a bit of philosophy.  Contrary to many people in the news who use words to destroy, writers use them to create.  I love words – love putting them together in a way that paints an action, a sentiment, a hope or a dream.  I play with them endlessly when I write, modifying, exchanging, and reordering them until I read them a final time and [...]

By | 2016-10-26T03:00:42+00:00 2016|Blog|8 Comments

How to pick the right title for a book?

If I knew the answer to that, I'd save myself a lot of angst.  Picking a title is easy.  Picking the right one, not necessarily so. Who picks the title?  Sometimes it's me.  From my initial conception, Flirting with Pete was Flirting with Pete.  Same with Lake News, Heart of the Night, Not My Daughter, and The Vineyard.  My publisher picked other titles, like Coast Road and Family Tree.  My agent came [...]

By | 2016-07-28T05:00:36+00:00 2016|Blog|8 Comments

Why I included what I did in BLUEPRINTS

With Blueprints going on sale in paperback this week, I just reread it to refresh my memory.  Does it surprise you that I would need to do that?  But consider this.  I've written and published more than 80 books.  No human mind can keep straight all the details of 80 books.  Moreover, it's been two years since I finished writing Blueprints, and since then, I've been immersed in writing The [...]

By | 2016-05-29T05:00:53+00:00 2016|Blog|6 Comments

Why I'm not retiring

A reader just wrote that she heard I was retiring.  Who said that? No.  I'm not retiring.  Let's be clear about it.  I.  Am.  Not.  Retiring. Not that I haven't considered it in moments of frustration.  Life for a writer has changed.  When I started – more than 30 years ago – all I had to do was write.  Ha ha.  That's funny.  I was a full-time mother of three [...]

By | 2016-05-04T16:00:03+00:00 2016|Blog|15 Comments

To what are we most committed?

Commitments is my 42nd child – but every single child of mine is special to me. Their birthdays are cause for celebration, which is what I'm doing today. I'm celebrating the birth of Commitments as an eBook. It's about time! Commitments was first published in 1988 and has been issued in every other format but digital. Why? For one thing, because eBooks didn't exist in 1988, when "electronic rights" weren't [...]

By | 2015-09-08T05:00:11+00:00 2015|Blog|4 Comments

Does the ending suit you?

I've done a lot of reading this summer. I've also spent a lot of time studying reader reviews on Amazon, as well as taking part in discussion groups on Goodreads. Two of the books I've read, in particular – Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman and Lisa Genova’s Inside the O'Briens – had endings with which readers took issue. And I don't just mean readers saying they didn't like the ending. I [...]

By | 2015-07-28T18:00:05+00:00 2015|Blog|8 Comments

BD and the Big Apple

I used to go to New York a lot. The first time was when I was eleven, when my dad introduced my sisters and me to the place. We stayed at the Commodore Hotel over Grand Central Station, and he took us to the Empire State Building, the Broadway production of "Peter Pan," Rockefeller Center, and the Flatiron Building. Little did I know at the time that the Flatiron Building [...]

By | 2015-05-20T05:00:49+00:00 2015|Blog|0 Comments