Highlights from the Idaho Writers and Readers Rendezvous

Highlights from the Idaho Writers and Readers Rendezvous

Every spring, the Idaho Writers Guild hosts the Idaho Writers and Readers Rendezvous. I love this conference. It’s small and intimate–meaning you get to chat with pretty much anyone you want, including the presenters–is well organized, and has plenty to offer writers in the region. This is my second year attending the Rendezvous, this time as a presenter. I sat on an editor’s panel with

Don’t Tell Me What NOT to Read

Don't Tell Me What NOT to Read

(Note: I originally published this blog post on my author blog back in November of 2014. The topic was worth repeating here.) The highlight of my experience at the 2014 Tucson Festival of Books was two panels, both with Laurie Halse Anderson. The first was “Don’t Tell Me What NOT to Read: Teens and Censorship.” The second was “Edgy YA: Confronting Difficult Decisions.” Not surprisingly,

5 Ways to Banish Writer’s Block

5 Ways to Banish Writers Block

I don’t really believe in writer’s block. Perhaps it’s the words I quibble with. “Writer’s block” makes it sound like some unsolvable problem. Some uncontrollable thing that’s happened to us. Really, “writer’s block” is the term we tend to use if we’re feeling stuck, fearful, or uninspired. The key word in that sentence is “feeling.” There’s some emotion we’re letting get in the way of

Do You REALLY Have to Write Every Day?

Do You Really Have to Write Every Day 3

We’ve all heard the advice: write every day. Heck, I’ve repeated that advice. But I’ll be honest. I don’t write every single day. And I’m past thinking you need to. I know I’m not alone. I can affirm there are successful, accomplished writers who don’t write every day. If that’s the case why do we so often hear this advice? And why do I still

Stop Telling People to Write Strong Female Characters

Stop Telling People to Write Strong Female Characters 2

Kameron Hurley wrote an enjoyable and thought-provoking blog post about challenging the false narrative of women in history and literature and what we writers need to do about it.* I read articles like this with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it’s important to be educated about the false ideas created by narratives (both real and fictional) that portray women in a stereotypical and/or belittling

5 Great Quotes from an Evening with Markus Zusak

Book Thief Reading Event Donna Cook

I recently had the privilege of attending The Cabin’s Readings and Conversations with Markus Zusak. The Book Thief is one of my favorite novels. One of those rare books that’s brilliant AND tells a compelling story (versus the kind of novel so caught up in its own brilliance, it completely forgets to tell an actual story). Including Max’s illustrations in the book was a stroke

The Messy Middle – 6 Fixes When You’re Stuck Writing Your Novel

6 Fixes When You're Stuck Writing Your Novel 2

Ah, you’re chugging along at full speed. Your characters are interesting and compelling. Your plot is exciting and captivating. You’re the most brilliant writer of your day. Then, without warning, it all comes to a halt. Your mind draws a blank. You start wondering why on earth you’re trying to write a novel? What were you thinking? You have no idea what happens next in

Do You Make These Character Naming Mistakes?

Do You Make These Character Naming Mistakes 2

We authors have to work hard to make our stories transcend the words on the page and become tangible entities in the reader’s mind. There are, frankly, a lot of ways to screw this up. Today we’ll talk about one of them. Namely, naming characters. There are a few character naming mistakes I see over and over again. Fortunately, they’re easy to correct. Pitfalls to

Showing vs. Telling – When It’s Okay to Tell

Showing Vs Telling 2

We’ve all heard the rule: “Show Don’t Tell.” Sometimes newer writers get confused about this rule. They’ll read a novel and see an instance of telling. The new writer thinks, “But this author was telling. Why can she get away with it?” The answer is twofold. 1. There are no hard and fast rules of writing. You can do whatever you want so long as