Tag Archives: advice

Creating a Character Template

Dr. Johnson called remarriage “the triumph of hope over experience.” The same might be said of writing a second novel before selling the first. Yet here I stand at the altar again, veiled, clutching a bouquet, arrayed in the sleek second-wedding ivory suit, tuning … Continue reading

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“Mom, What’s the Right Age to Start Having Sex?”

“Mom, what’s the right age to start having sex?” That was exactly the question I wasn’t expecting, sitting with my 13-year-old son and my husband in a restaurant overlooking the Hudson, sipping a cocktail, waiting for our food to arrive. I … Continue reading

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What Are We Preparing Our Students For?

Today on Perfect Whole we have a guest post by my colleague, Richard Smith. A longer version of this essay was published in our school newspaper. Rich and I work in an extremely high-achieving school district in which nearly all … Continue reading

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Querying is Like Hell, Except Your Friends Aren’t There, Part I

In February of 2013, I rejoiced to type “The End” on the manuscript I’d been writing on and off for over twenty years. I spent the next two months editing, proofreading, and preparing the manuscript for the querying ordeal. Querying, … Continue reading

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A Terminal Curable Disease

I’ve been brewing an essay on the illness that is perfectionism for a long time now. It’s not quite cooked yet. But this morning, after a terrible loss in our community, the thought came out  like this: Be a beautiful … Continue reading

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Bigger

(The following is a version of the speech I gave at my son Isaac’s bar mitzvah last weekend. To illustrate the point before I began, I took off my high-heeled shoes and stood next to him in front of the … Continue reading

Posted in Motherhood, Volta | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

What Would Dashiell Hammett Do?

In its 2013 summer fiction issue, The New Yorker magazine ran a Dashiell Hammett story called “An Inch and a Half of Glory” written in the 1920s, but previously unpublished. Parked at the station, waiting for my daughter’s train, I … Continue reading

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A New Year Every Day

I paid more attention than usual this year to people’s New Year’s resolutions and to the obligatory articles in the media about the most common resolutions and how long people keep them. Unsurprisingly, people want to improve their health, financial … Continue reading

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Lobbing Nerf Rocks

At a workshop I attended recently, Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 series, shared a rule, well-known among screenwriters, that I had never heard before: “Chase your character up a tree and throw rocks at him.” It’s smart advice: … Continue reading

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Improvised Emergency Oil Candles

(Just for a change, a practical post.) Several people asked me about the oil candles I referred to in Perfect Whole, Superstorm Sandy Edition, so I thought I would post some pictures and directions for anyone who also finds herself … Continue reading

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