The Other Side of the Screen

The Other Side of the Screen

My wife and I have run The Maine Review for the last three years and had a wonderful time doing it, publishing some great work and learning a ton. One of our editors has stepped up to take over the magazine, making it her own, and we’re thrilled for the transition. I’m in the middle …

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Shifting Gears

Shifting Gears

I’d posted on Instagram two months ago after I finished the final draft of my novel and was re-shelving my books. At the moment it felt great; I was entering the next phase of my writing life, floating the little messages in a bottle that are query letters. And I got to return to research, …

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Research and Avoiding the Rabbit Hole

Research and Avoiding the Rabbit Hole

I absolutely love research. But reflecting back on how much time I spent on it for The Halting Problem, I now feel like I have a better sense of how much is enough to get the job done. No question, research is an excellent inspiration for a novel, especially one set 30 years in the …

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An Ode to Beta Readers

An Ode to Beta Readers

How shall I thank thee, let me count the ways. OK, horrible pun/misquote, but this was the first major work of mine in which I used beta readers, and I’m so grateful. I know there are a ton of different opinions on how to best leverage them and when in your writing process they are …

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The “When” of Your Novel

The “When” of Your Novel

I recounted in my last post a comment from an agent about the historical setting of my novel. She didn’t understand why it was set in 1990 rather than the present day. As with much of her other critique, although I didn’t agree, it did make me examine the “why” of my creative decisions. When …

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Submission, or Learning to Love Critique

Submission, or Learning to Love Critique

I had the opportunity to attend Grub Street‘s wonderful yearly writing conference, Muse and the Marketplace, last week. I participated in their Manuscript Mart program, in which you provide your query letter, synopsis and first 20 pages to an agent or editor. It’s a great program, one I’ve participated in both in 2018 and 2017 …

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Write it Down

Write it Down

There’s a scene in an early season of Mad Men in which the character Kinsey, staying all night in the office, has a great idea while drinking, then wakes to find the idea gone and nothing for his pitch to Don Draper. “I had an idea and I lost it,” he admits. In a moment …

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Women in Coding

Women in Coding

The protagonist of my novel The Halting Problem is a woman programmer at MIT in 1990. My own career has been in IT, and I was a programmer myself early on (albeit a mediocre one, so I went into management!). And as a person in the field I was aware of the change that happened …

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Down in the Weeds

Down in the Weeds

Awesome author friend Brenda Buchanan was shocked that I didn’t have Crime Bake, the yearly Massachusetts crime and thriller conference, on my schedule. I just went to my first one, and wow, what an experience. What really hit home for me was thinking about editing, the process, the outcome, the skills. I’m in heavy edit …

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Gasoline on the Fire

Gasoline on the Fire

I’ve been working on techniques to improve the tension in my narrative, and was thinking back to the point of view techniques of two different authors: Stephen King in Mr. Mercedes and Jo Nesbø in The Snowman. As he builds to the climax in Mr. Mercedes, he gives us a series of vignettes, each from …

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