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Building Good Rubble

Yesterday at 10:14 am I pronounced my novel DOA. The story had flawed, interesting characters, some humor, and a little bounce. I had spent a year thinking about the novel and six months in the writing. Starting out, I had

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Expert Tips and Free Consult from a Public Speaking Pro

Public speaking is an essential plank of a writer’s platform. It is also a scary proposition to get up in front of any audience. Today’s interview is with Lynne Magnavite, a professional trainer, consultant, and coach. Lynne is offering the

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Building a Sturdy Platform

When I started the Writer’s Digest October Platform Challenge, I had stepped out, albeit timidly, into social media. My platform was a little wobbly, perhaps not sturdy enough to support Marie Antoinette on her way to the guillotine. Did I

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Symbolism in the Novel, or What Would Cecil Say?

How do writers find the symbols they use? Every high school student remembers the A emblazoned on Hester Prynne’s bosom in the Scarlet Letter. Poets look out the window. Shakespeare compared his love to a summer’s day, while Robert Burns’

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Novel Ideas

A beta reader of my novels asked me, “Where do you get your ideas?” To answer her question, I thought of how each novel grew. Distracted Living came from seeing a woman running along the lakefront in Chicago while talking

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Writing Jazz

I write because I can’t be a jazz pianist. My grandfather, Jerry, who I never met, played piano in a band on the south side of Chicago in the 1920’s. To find him, I went to lunchtime jazz concerts at

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The Post Jon Stewart World

Two months until Jon Stewart signs off the Daily Show forever and we feel a song going out of our heart, or at least the goofy theme music that cheered us for 17 years. Your show was our ace in

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Take a Terrorist to Lunch

During the middle of a heated debate with a childhood friend who grew up to be a criminal lawyer, he threw up his hands and said, “Do you have an opinion on everything, Eileen?” His playful question stopped our argument

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Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Whether you live in a red state, blue state, favor the tea party, or a rainbow coalition, there is a label for every opinion on the spectrum. Labels are a convenient shorthand to separate your views from those who are

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