Library Sales | Getting Books Into Readers’ Hands

You went to the library as a kid. When you were in junior high school, librarians helped you with your homework. Well, guess what? Libraries and librarians are still there, and a library is still a great place to connect with people who are passionate about books. Speaking at a library will help you connect […]

Kick Off Your Novel With a Great First Line

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers, For Writers Doing Revisions

The first line of your novel could be the most important sentence you write, but don’t worry about perfecting it until you’ve written all the way to the end. Your first and last lines are what connect the arc of the plot, and if you don’t yet know how the story ends, you can only […]

Does A Pen Name Protect An Author?

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Does the pen name Richard Bauchman mean anything to you? How about Robert Galbraith? Okay, here’s a third: Rosamond Smith. The true names of the authors above are Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Joyce Carol Oates. Unlike most new authors, these famous writers didn’t write under a pen name because they were afraid of getting […]

Could A Writing Getaway Improve Your Focus?

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

A writing getaway can inspire you to write your novel or finish it. I plan a getaway when I’m doing my final edits and don’t want a lot of distractions. You know the kind of distractions I mean. People hoping you’ll put a meal on the table table. Laundry in the dryer. Weeds in the […]

Literary Magazines: Where Writers Get Book-Jacket Credits

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers, For Readers

Literary magazines are a great way to build your resume. What? You didn’t know you needed a resume? Yes, you do, but not a resume of the traditional sort. You’ll need a cover letter to approach agents or publishers, and if that letter includes a strong record of publication, then it’s more likely the agent […]

Book Launch Jitters

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Ready to Publish

The “Book Launch Jitters” hit me big time this morning. My wonderful friends, Sapna Gupta and Steve Hillegeist, offered to host a book launch event to celebrate publication of Bonds of Love & Blood. The book made its official debut a couple of months ago, but scheduling an actual party proved complicated. If it is […]

Setting In Fiction – A Real Life Lesson | Marylee MacDonald

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers, Setting

Setting in fiction is inextricably bound up with character. On a cold winter day I learned this important lesson about the “relatedness” of character and setting from a young Navaho. Creighton Begay lived with his uncle in the most inaccessible part of Canyon de Chelly. Each fall he and his uncle brought in supplies by […]

Tension Skyrockets When You Tweak the Setting

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

Use setting to heighten tension in a story. Put a character in a place she or he doesn’t feel physically or psychologically comfortable, and you immediately inject tension into the scenes. Will she or won’t she figure out how to cope? In my story “Oregano,” Janice Dawkins comes in at the end of a long […]

Notebooks: The One Item Every Writer Needs

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Writing notebooks from other creative people can inspire us to keep track of our own creative thoughts. On the tab called Writing Notebooks, I lay out the general idea of keeping a writing notebook, but I want to go into a little more detail here. That’s because it’s so important for writers at any stage […]

What A Train Can Teach Us About Life

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers

      If life is a journey, The Millennial Trains Project is one train I’d like to board. This train brings together people from very different backgrounds and teaches them how to take charge of their own destinies. The Trains Project is happening all over the globe, and even celebrated at the White House. […]