Posts

A Book Is a Web: The Craft of MONDAY'S NOT COMING, by Tiffany D. Jackson

I've decided to write some essays on the craft of fiction writing, each focusing on a particular and specific skill, and each referring to a stupendous book that serves as an example of that skill. That way, I get to dive into some nitty-gritty craft topics while also recommending good books.

This post contains some spoilers — though not the biggest spoilers! — for Monday's Not Coming, by Tiffany D. Jackson.

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Today I want to talk about a particular writing skill that, when done well, is often invisible to the reader who isn't looking for it. That's because it's a skill that prevents the reader from being pulled out of the book. It's a little hard to sum up in a few words, which is why I plan to write several paragraphs about it :o), but my first attempt at summing it up is this: in a masterful book, most building blocks — most aspects of character, most events, most settings, most every single thing that matters — serve multiple narrative purposes at once.

Y…

Messy Writing, Mean Cowbirds, and More

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Hey there everybody. Here's a little bit of pandemic distraction for your day. If you're not interested in messy writing or mean cowbirds, skip to the end for a beautiful piece of interdisciplinary art from Juilliard!

First, I have a project (of questionable success) to share. I'm a left-hander who spends a gigantic proportion of my time writing by hand. In the past few years, as I grow older, the toll on my body grows worse. Arm pain! Hand pain! Shoulder pain!

In hopes of giving my left side a break now and then, I'm finally doing something I've meant to do for a long time: teaching myself to write right-handed. I did a little research online, I watched a couple videos (because right-handers hold their pens VERY differently from left-handers!), and then I commenced muddling through.


Every day, with my right hand, I print one entire page of writing on the topic of whatever crap is in my head, using both pen and pencil.

Then I do a page of doodles, based on a penman…

On Coping

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Hi again, everyone. This is really hard, isn't it?

First, I want to plug two services that are working harder than ever right now to save independent bookstores felled by the pandemic. As an alternative to Audible (which is owned by Amazon), please, please consider buying audiobooks from Libro.fm. And as an alternative to Amazon for hard copies of books, please, please check out Bookshop.

So, on the topic of coping. I thought I might describe what my days are like right now, the challenges that arise for me, and how I've been trying to meet them. As it happens, I have some special qualifications for meeting some of our current emotional challenges... because I've spent the last 25+ years living with and recovering from PTSD, which means that I have a lot of tools and perspectives that are helpful in traumatic times. All around us today, people are experiencing not just physical but emotional anguish that may be traumatic, whether directly from COVID-19 or from the ef…

Just Checking In

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Well, hi there, everyone.

It's hard to know where to begin, isn't it? I'm just going to dive in, because I want to reach out, share some pictures, be distracting for a few minutes, and hopefully make some of you feel less alone.

I am thinking of all of you, every one of you, and hoping you are okay. Knowing that a lot of you aren't, and wishing that weren't the case. I am okay. Or rather, in the words of the immortal Anne (of Green Gables), "I am well in body although considerably rumpled up in spirit." The people of my life are also okay. Tonight I am dashing off this blog post before disappearing into the kitchen to make some banana bread. Two weeks ago (it feels like months ago), Kevin and I were simultaneously hit with a dreadful and violent bout of food poisoning, and for a week afterwards, all I could eat was applesauce, rice, broth, and bananas. Then suddenly, my appetite returned, and since generally I am not a human who voluntarily eats a banana,…

The Dreams I Dream

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I have, and have always had, the wildest, most vivid dreams when I'm sleeping. Some of them are hilarious in retrospect and I wake up laughing, then laugh at them all day long. Some of them are terrifying and horrible. I might share my dreams with a few people, but for the most part, I keep them to myself, because dream reports can be tedious.

BUT. I need to share the dream I had last night.

Last night, I had a dream that I had a dream that I had a very dramatic dream I somehow figured out how to record on my phone like a movie, then text to Kevin (my husband), so that he could see my dramatic dream.

Hang on. Let me start over. I'm going to start with the dream inside the dream inside the dream. (I think?)

I have a dream. While dreaming, I record the dream and text it to Kevin. He'll be amazed! But wait! Won't he also be confused? It's impossible to record dreams! Kevin will think this is a movie I filmed, with me as the main character and with clearly expensive pro…

In Which the Author Knits a Winter Blanket

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About a year ago, I finished knitting a blanket that was a gift for someone else and realized I missed its pieces piled up in my lap. I decided it was time to knit a blanket for myself :o). Wanting something cheerful for the cold, dark months, I chose this free pattern at Lion Brand.... and got started.

First I collected my colors.

This blanket is knitted in three parts: the reds and oranges in one big triangular corner; the yellows and greens in a stripe across the center; and the blues and purples in another triangular corner.


The pieces are worked in intarsia colorwork. This means that most of the time, I was actively knitting with more than one color, which I admit can become a bit of a tangled headache. Below, I'm knitting the center stripe in three different greens and one yellow, and I have all four colors attached to my needle at the same time.


When I went to a writing retreat last February, half my suitcase was full of my blanket :o)

Below, I've knitted the red/oran…

In Which a Zebra Unicorn Is Creepier Than Anticipated!

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This year's Halloween costume involved less preparation than usual. I'll be honest, I'm still recovering from the year I dressed up as a library. My goal this year was something creative yet simple to assemble.
I glitter-striped a unicorn horn and made myself some ears...

Then attached them to a Cruella deVil style black-and-white wig.

I figured a zebra unicorn wears something sparkly and striped, right?

Nothing odd about this dress... *cough*

And this is when things got intense. The plan all along was to study the way stripes sit on a zebra's face, then paint that pattern on my own face to create something magical. But it turned out SO CREEPY!

 Creepy's okay with me, though.

Click on any picture to embiggen/get a more focused view.
Till next year! :o)

Come to BostonFIG Fest This Weekend!

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The Boston Festival of Independent Games, BostonFIG Fest, is on Saturday, at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston.

Local people, if you're interested in the best new indie games, whether tabletop or digital, you should come! And when you do, stop by Kevin's booth to visit Kevin and his indie game, Starcom: Nexus. I'll be there too, being Helpful. Come say hi! :o)


The Arctic Circle: Arctic Critters

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We also saw a lot of animals that were impossible to photograph, in particular, an Arctic fox. The animal sightings were frequent and always special. Most of the time, I tried to take a few pictures, but then I reminded myself to put my camera down and enjoy. Consequently, this is only a hint of what we saw, but I hope it gives a nice sense of things.

If you're coming late to my report from my

Guess Where I Just Was

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