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Posts by accordingtohoyt

The Demons of Critique Groups – Addendum to Novel Workshop – A Blast From The Past From December 2014

*Sorry to do a blast from the past, but not only am I on the homestretch of an overdue novel, but I woke up really late and I have a doctor’s appointment.  But this is old enough you might not remember it, and it sort of ties in with Amanda’s thing. – SAH*

Now, these can be a problem in short stories too, but some of them are rather specific to novels, and if you’re a first time novel writer and find a writer group for guidance, they’ll eat you alive.

I could give you a list of ten, but I figure it will do nothing, because to counter the poison, you need to know why it’s a poison, and that it in fact has nothing to do with your novel. Read more


When I took art classes a few years ago — a project to be resumed when money and time meet again — my teacher used to joke that she could tell we were beginners because we were afraid of the dark. (Yes, this is when I said in a cartoon voice “Come to the dark side, we have cookies,” causing the whole class to burst out laughing. The teacher, btw, failed to understand it.)

At any rate she was right.  You can tell the beginning writers artists, even the accomplished ones, because they’re really afraid of the truly dark tints.  Even acknowledged dark denizens like myself tend to produce washed-out images for fear of the dark.

As suggested above, yes, that applies to writers as well as to visual artists. Read more

The ONE Book

I remember being twenty two (shuddup.  Yes, I DO have a good memory) and in awe of the idea of writing my first “real” book, i.e. the first book I intended to submit, I managed to block myself for almost an entire year, in fear of “ruining” it.

Fortunately, later in my career, when I HAD to do six books a year I had not time to consider each of them my precious, and also aware at least two of the houses I was working with at the time would kill them dead before they got to press, if not by bizarre editing (one of them) by refusing to publicize them or even distribute them.  So I just wrote them.  “It doesn’t have to be perfect. It has to be done by Wednesday.” Read more

That Time

There is a sense to this last week, as the year speeds to its end.  Most years, there is, of course, though it’s often submerged in the sense of rushing and getting things done for the end of the year.  Parties, friends, one last chance to see people and get gifts wrapped. That sort of thing.  This year, it feels like I’m getting things done, too, but there’s a sense of purpose to it.

I’m not — despite being a writer and therefore seeing plots and sense everywhere — in general given to seeing “It’s intended” or “meant to be” but these last two weeks might be the exception.

Read more

Going Home

There are places I’ve forgotten.  There are people I’ve forgotten.

What’s worse, these are people and places that never existed, but which lived, strongly, in detail, in my mind.

For most of my teen years and early twenties, I lived mostly inside my mind, in these places — future worlds and parallel worlds, and places I had no rational for — and hung out with these people. Read more

Stand By

I’ve been…. temporally dislocated all day and keep thinking it’s Tuesday.

I was just reminded for the fourth time today it’s Wednesday.

I’m doing a post, truly.

Words and the Lonely Writer, part 5 – Made Up Languages.

I don’t think there’s ever been a budding linguist — even those who aren’t writers — who hasn’t tried to make up their own language. I found attempts at this dating back to when I was eleven.  And maybe it’s not just linguists but weird kids.  My husband is a mathematician and he made up a language. Older son not only tried this, but then tried to teach it to us, and yelled about grammar errors.
The attempt is probably inevitable Budding Monster Hunters burn down buildings, budding Linguists (and weird kids) make up a language.  Well… languages don’t explode anything, but self-communication while important rarely justifies a whole new language.

But depending on how you go about it, as a writer, it can make your book more difficult to read. Read more