Posts

Some Resources to Get You Through This Bumbling Attempted Coup

U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann speaking to the only lawyer still willing to argue Trump's case in Pennsylvania, Rudolph Giuliani, on Tuesday: “You’re alleging that the two individual plaintiffs were denied the right to vote. But at bottom, you’re asking this court to invalidate more than 6.8 million votes, thereby disenfranchising every single voter in the commonwealth. Can you tell me how this result can possibly be justified?” Hello everyone. You might expect that while we are having to endure this comical yet terrifying attempted coup, my subconscious mind would be having a field day, giving me creative dreams as usual . But here's the dream I had Tuesday night, after that disgraceful show in Michigan : A Republican demagogue, anticipating his loss in the next election and wanting to prime public opinion, begins shouting as loud as he can about how the Democrats are going to steal the election. He loses the election. Then he tries to steal the election, again by accus

Online Event Tonight and Exclusive Map Giveaway

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A couple time-sensitive pieces of book news for those of you not on Twitter , where, among other things, I've been posting my sister's careful scrawled calculations of the vote count in Pennsylvania :o) . One, Flatiron Books invite me to chat with Melissa Albert, author of the gorgeous and chilling Tales from the Hinterland , tonight (Friday) at 8:30pm ET as part of  #yallwrite .   Info at @YALLFest and https://www.yallwrite.org/schedule#specialevents .  Come join us! I for one will be exhausted yet (I suspect) calm, and Mimi and I will have plenty of bookish stuff to talk about! Two, Penguin Teen has organized an exclusive map giveaway for anyone who preorders Winterkeep . Here's the entry form: http://bit.ly/ WinterkeepPreOrder Tag @PenguinTeen with any questions. And enjoy! :o)

Pictures to Distract You: A Snowy Day, and Tools of the Trade

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Hi, all. Waiting is hard. So here are some pretty pics to distract you.  Friday was the day I'd scheduled to take some time off, go for nice walk, and get some pictures of the fall foliage. In typical 2020 fashion, it didn't go quite as planned…  So I went with it. Everything is great. Here are some scenes... ...of October... ... in Massachusetts... ...just for you. Now for some pictures of inside things. I don't know about you, but this is a pretty stressful time for me, and I'm using every tool in my toolbox to stay healthy and well. One of those is — always — writing, and hardly anything gives me greater comfort than having fun with my writing tools. I've explained before that I write by hand. Then, when I've written a sufficient amount that I start to worry about the house burning down, I transcribe my writing into a Word document, using voice recognition software. If you're curious about the kind of notebooks I've written in previously and what my

Some WINTERKEEP Blather, Plus All Eight New Covers

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Hello, lovely people. I have another craft post planned for sometime soon… I'm hoping to write about The Housekeeper and the Professor , by Yoko Ogawa, if I can just figure out how to articulate what I want to say. It's such a beautiful book! One of those rare books I got out of the library, read, then decided I needed to own. Until then, I wanted to share a little bit of blather about Winterkeep (January 19, 2021), plus display all eight new covers — the new USA and UK covers for Graceling , Fire , Bitterblue , and Winterkeep — altogether in one place. If you don't care about the blather and just want to see pretty pictures, scroll down. So. The first few drafts of Winterkeep were written in many, many points of view. It was early days, and I was trying to figure out how to tell the story I wanted to tell. I pretty much allowed anyone a point of view, sort of as an experiment, to see how each character felt, and figure out whose feelings were most important. Then gradual

Covers, Q&A, and WINTERKEEP Excerpt!

Good morning everyone. I'm so pleased to direct you to BookPage , which has my cover revealed today for Winterkeep ! Also for the new covers of Graceling , Fire , and Bitterblue . Not to mention a Q&A about Winterkeep , and an excerpt. Thank you, BookPage, for helping me share all this. Enjoy, everyone! Click through for the Winterkeep cover reveal.

Writing Emotion: The Craft of H IS FOR HAWK, by Helen Macdonald

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Today in my craft post, I'm going to talk about a straightforward skill… while referencing a book that's wonderfully un-straightforward. H Is for Hawk is a memoir by Helen Macdonald that weaves together several threads, the three biggest of which are: her experience of training a northern goshawk; her analysis of T. H. White's memoir about training a northern goshawk; and her grief following the death of her father. In terms of balance and weaving, it's beautifully done. In terms of psychological insight, it feels searingly true. And in terms of the expression of emotion, it's stunning. It's also an uncomfortable book at times, in ways that recommend it. And it's a fascinating memoir for a fiction writer to read while thinking about how to write character. H Is for Hawk left me with a lot of questions, for the book and for myself. If you just want the straightforward writing lesson, which is on the topic of writing emotion, jump ahead to the *** b

To the Student Stuck in a Toxic Home during the Pandemic

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A number of friends and mental health professionals helped me with this post. You know who you are. Thank you. To the student for whom school is a safer place, but now you’re stuck at home in a toxic environment during the pandemic, I see you. You’re not invisible. In fact, a lot of people see you and are thinking about you. I can’t tell you how many of my friends and colleagues have brought you up in the past few months, and expressed worry for what you're going through. Hang in there. When schools started sending students home in March and April, I thought of you immediately. I waited with you to see if schools might open again in a few weeks, but of course that didn't happen. I waited with you hoping this country would get its shit together and start prioritizing realistic approaches to containing the pandemic, so that you'd be able to go back to school in the fall. And now it's clear that many of you won't be able to do that. It's also possible that th

A Book Is a Story — But Which Story Is It?: The Craft of THE CHANGELING, by Victor LaValle

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Before I start talking about Victor LaValle's beautiful book, a point of housekeeping: Now that an eon has passed, I've finally updated my praise and awards page for Jane, Unlimited . I have a bad habit of never getting around to this task until it's time to start clearing things out for the new book. The nice thing about it is that I get to revisit a book that's dear to me, years after I've stopped thinking about it. Jane is a book that divides readers for sure. I want to thank everyone who got that book and took it into your hearts and brains. If you don't know about Jane, Unlimited , here's a quick intro: An orphan named Jane arrives at an island mansion owned by a friend, then quickly starts to get the sense that strange things are afoot there. At a certain point, when Jane needs to make a decision, the book breaks off into five different decisions she could make — and each decision takes her into an adventure in a different genre. There's a mys

Checking in Again — Plus, Cognitive Dissonance and Restorative Justice

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Hi there everyone. This is such a challenging time. Every day we're having to sit and watch in disbelief as people lie to our faces about COVID-19 , how bad things are, and what to do about it. We watch in disbelief as nonviolent protesters are arrested and accused of violence — while the police use tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and batons against them . We watch in disbelief as white women pull guns on Black people after saying the actual words, "White people aren't racist… No one is racist." Our president lies so often, so willfully, childishly, self-centeredly, and so without compunction that FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics, has a Donald Trump archive that is 107 pages long . And now I read that we've started executing federal prisoners again — despite what we all know about how flawed our criminal justice system is. It can be hard to keep on top of how