Total Character Makeover

After much anticipation, I finally received some valuable feedback on my first novel, three things. Of course, the optimistic compartment in my brain was hoping for only a few minor suggestions, so I could finally send my digital baby out into the world. I am so naive. What a rollercoaster. In general, the feedback was…

Validation, Motivation, Elation.

One week ago, I received some great news. The funny thing is, I was in the middle of teaching my ESL students, and the unit topic we were studying was “Good News, Bad News”. I just happened to check my email during the ten minute break, and there it was: a notification that my short…

Two Novels, Both Alike in Dignity…

Lately, I’ve been working on my second novel, and I can’t help but to be amazed at how different it is from my previous one, in so many ways. The reason I’m so staggered by this fact, is that when I first began it (maybe two months ago), my number one concern was making sure…

Sending Letters to Strangers with Cancer

A few months ago, I discovered this amazing nonprofit organization, From Me To You Letters, which allows people to write uplifting, anonymous letters to people suffering from cancer in England. I heard about them from one of my all time favorite podcasts, The Allusionist, hosted by the amazingly witty Helen Zaltzman. (It’s no secret, I…

Start with this…

Not sure where to begin writing? Here are some random sentences to get you started… The beast lunged, straining at the chain around his neck. I can’t believe you forgot the egg… Do you know how much it’s worth? There I was, standing in front of the vault. Time was running out… I racked my…

The Real Final First Draft

I’m a couple of months late to the party, but it’s my party, so I make the rules. Which party? The “I finally finished my first draft” party! I know I’m still nowhere close to actually sending my novel out to agents, but this is definitely a milestone! It felt pretty darn amazing typing those…

The Benefits of Feedback

When writing something you really care about, it’s easy to want to keep it to yourself, lest someone tries to steal it. Personally, I’m wary about posting creative work online, and with good reason. After all, I know people who have had their work plagiarized, and it doesn’t exactly sound like a barrel of laughs. My…

In Defense of Noncommittal Planning

Many of my writer friends are extreme planners. Just the thought of starting anything without at least an inkling of where it’s will eventually lead is out of the question. On the other hand, I have other writer friends who relish the ambiguity of starting something, without knowing what will come of it. Personally, I…

Second Drafts: Twice as Drafty

Recently, I met up with an old friend from high school, whom I hadn’t seen in nine years. Chatting over crepes, we caught up on all the expected subjects, from family to mutual friends, before the topic shifted to writing. My friend, it turns out, is a monstrously productive writer. Since I last saw her,…

Slaying the Beast

About once a year I say to myself, “Lara, it’s about time you started a blog.” After being struck by this thunderbolt of (probably) divine inspiration, I then proceed to bang out a long “first post” filled with residual teenage angst. I commit wholeheartedly to it, saying I will update it once a week without…