Category: Writing

I Need A Laugh

With a manuscript due at the end of the month, I need a laugh. And no one makes me laugh like the Scottish cartoonist Tom Gauld.

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When the ground is frozen, hard, dry, and brown, I try to imagine them as they were in their majesty the previous April. I pass by day after day, shaking my head over the improbability that they will rise again. My pessimism is reinforced by the winter grey and brown thicket of branches that serve as their backdrop. They are all dead. There is no hope.             But I am a mere human fool. I cannot give up on the daffodils. I am tortured at my own hands, forcing myself to search for any sign of life. What would have the audacity to spring out of this deadly mess?             And then on a frigid afternoon, I see a barely perceptible sign of life. A little green point is poking through the dirt. My heart quickens, not daring to believe or hope. When I return several days later, I am excited to see the green point has become an inch of emerald showing off to its jealous surrounding thicket. The daffodils have survived.             My gratitude is short-lived. I am an impatient human. I scold the daffodils about how long it is taking for them to grow. “Come on, show […]

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Any Excuse to Party

Today, Tuesday, April 27, is National Little Pampered Dog Day in the United States. Now that’s an excuse to party if I ever heard one. Her name is Emmie, and she is eight months and one week old today.

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Growing a Writer

We might not all write what we know, but we are all shaped by our upbringing and this bleeds into our writing whether we’re aware of it or not. I once heard an author say he believed his fans knew him better than his wife because they had read all his books and witnessed all of his little peculiarities made real in his stories.

Read on to find out how the Miss Demeanors were forged.

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I Came, I Hosted, I Laughed

Thanks to ProWritingAid’s Crime Writers’ Week conference, I can check panel moderator off the list of things I’ve never done. I hosted a Thriller Panel Discussion with Karin Slaughter, Jennifer Hillier, Lisa Gardner, Ian Rankin, and Steve Berry. Was I nervous? Heck, yeah. Should I have been? Nope. All of the panelists were charming and witty and graceful, and a fabulous time was had by all.

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Why We Write and Read about Crime

While I share online event fatigue with many of you, there is no denying Zoom has saved the day or now, the year. This was evident to me during the fabulous MURDER AND MAYEM online conference, the brainchild of Dana Kaye and Lori Rader-Day, which was on Crowdcast this past weekend, when a single comment created value for me that transcended all else on the schedule. One advantage of an online event comes in the form of a sidebar that appears next to the main presentation, where a contemporaneous conversation among attendees takes place. Among the chatter about how much we all miss one another, little gems will sparkle. Brilliant comments or provocative questions appear that never would be available to everyone who attended an in-person conference. Someone (forgive me for not remembering who, but the scroll fires as rapidly as the synapses in the attendees’ brain cells) posed the question about whether writers who write about crime, most often murder, are ever troubled that they are essentially entertaining people with tales at the expense of the pain that real crimes bring. People chimed in, revealing they also had been troubled by the question. The fascination with crime can feel […]

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What I learned from George Saunders

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of getting an M.F.A. Spending a year or two focusing on my writing. Discussing writing with great minds. The push and pull of other students. It’s all so appealing, but unfortunately, when I had time, I didn’t have money. When I had money, I didn’t have time. And now I’m not entirely sure I have my wits about me. Why did I walk into that room?

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To Cut or Not to Cut #amediting

I’ve been rolling through the first revision of my WIP (work in progress) for a week or so, tweaking forty pages a day, when I hit a problem. I had a couple of sequential scenes that, when written, felt intrinsic to the story and quite plausible but on this pass weren’t working. I didn’t know what the problem was. Should I cut them? I didn’t want to but I couldn’t articulate a reason why. Should I revise them? How? I didn’t know what was wrong with them. So I decided to sleep on it. My reward was weird dreams. In one dream, I’m watching a man being dragged down a river by a sea bass that he had hooked. It was a thing he liked to do, like sea bass charioting. Eventually the fish got away and he had to trudge back up the river, which was only waist-deep, to stake out his favorite sea-bass catching spot. In another dream, I deftly revised a scene in a thrilling chase story, like North by Northwest, and just before I was to send it out to the betas, I realized there was no McGuffin – no reason for the bad guys to […]

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A (Writing) Room of Her Own

Who won a copy of The Empty Chair, Murder in the Caribbean, the giveaway from Penny Goetjen’s appearance on Miss Demeanors last week. The winner is Nancy Novacek.

The Question of the week for my fellow Miss Demeanors is the question readers never seem to tire of, which is When and Where do You Write? What is your daily writing process and where does that magic take place? You are in for a real treat!

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