Episode 10: The secret rules of writing

Greetings, writers! And friends! And kind people who listen to this podcast for no writing-related reason!

And now back to our regularly scheduled program. In this episode (ten! Double digits! What what!), we’re talking about what people (ahem, teachers and professors, also readers) expect in your writing but don’t always ask for. These are the two things I always taught in my classes at UNH and the two things that you can pretty much depend on being required of you whether you’re writing an email or a term paper or a novel. For serious!

They are clarity and concision.


Clarity means clearness. You want your writing to make sense to whoever’s reading it, and for that to happen, it has to be clear! Say what you mean to say, in other words.

Concision means shortness. In general, people want to read less, not more, if less is a possibility. This doesn’t *always* apply (see: this blog post introduction, the Internet, etc.), but it usually applies to paper-writing, essay-writing, story-writing, and novel-writing. It almost always applies at the sentence level. You would much rather read this sentence:

I walked the dog around the block.

Than this one:

I was able to take out my dog-friend, also known as a pet, on a series of steps, one in front of the other, around the vicinity of my home.

See? Writing has rules, and we follow them without thinking (sometimes).

Ok! Show notes!

Writing update:

  • Here’s a link to my (Kindle e-book) guide on writing retreats, DIY Writing Retreat.
  • Der Blokken Brewery is great.
  • I finished 1/3 of my revision of my manuscript, Finding Lucy! Woohoo!

Reading update:


What other writing “rules” are not spoken, but are expected to be followed? What genre do you write in–and does it have rules? Do you follow them, or not?

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Episode 9: An aside on social justice and activism in writing

Hi, all,

This is a bit of a somber episode. I recorded it after two Black men were shot by police, and then the next day a few police were shot. It was a sad week to be sure–and events have, unfortunately, continued to be heartbreaking. I fully support the Black Lives Matter movement and am so proud of my friends who are actively working to make our country a better, safer place for everyone to live and thrive in. Though I don’t write about these things directly in my novels and short stories, I believe fiction can be a force for good. I’d like to hear what you think.




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Episode 8: Researching your novel + thoughts on “Big Magic”

The last episode in this 5-part series on How to Get Started Writing a Novel (find all episodes here).


Writing update:

  • Here is something related to my manuscript Finding Lucy, which I am revising bit by bit.

Reading update:

  • A mini-review of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • I mentioned that I’m represented by DGLM
  • I’ve written two ebooks, DIY Chick Lit and DIY Writing Retreat. They are writing guides and they are short and resource-packed (i.e. lots of prompts and tables).

The lesson!

Would you be interested in a series on how to do research? What other questions do you have about getting started writing your novel? Please share in the comments!

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Episode 7: How to get started writing a novel, Part 4–Drafting!

AKA the actual writing part.

Welcome to Part 4 of a series on How to Get Started Writing a Novel. My original goal was for you to go from pen and paper to, say, 10 pages of a novel…and so far, I’ve talked about ways to brainstorm ideas using place as a starting point, more ways to brainstorm ideas, and how you might make an outline.


So! Now it’s time to actually write!

Quick writing and reading update:

  • I revised a chapter of my manuscript Finding Lucy twice, womp womp.
  • The Passing Bells is still pretty good, but losing a bit of steam.

Now! Onto the lesson.

Drafting resources…

Things to try:

  • Give yourself a word limit (I use 500-1000 words)
  • Give yourself a time limit (I use 20 minutes)
  • Try the Pomodoro Technique (I use this timer)
  • Send your work to someone else to read; take turns reading each others’ work
  • Remember that you like to do it–this is what you want to do (right??)
  • Write the next thing that happens

Do you have any resources that help you write your first draft? Or any special techniques that you use?

Come back next week to learn about RESEARCH!

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