The Edge of Abstraction

trafficSometimes my writing takes me to a strange place where the normal world drops away and I’m dealing with an abstract, dream-like landscape. Artistically, it should be intriguing, but honestly, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be. I fear my readers will be confused, or that I’m cheating by letting images stand in place of more conventional explanations. I have to hold my own hand for courage and dip my toe off the cliff into gray, weightless space.


Writing in the Classroom

img_7513A new teacher friend of mine recently asked for some practical steps to increase writing in her classroom. She said she was experienced with teaching essays of the “academic” sort, but her students weren’t naturally engaged, and the curriculum didn’t provide much room for creative writing. She also wasn’t confident about how to begin.

It’s my belief that students need to do far more writing than their teachers can ever read, and we’re cheating them out of some real fun and growth if we don’t provide them with chances to… Continue reading

My House is Quiet

Autumn in New England

Autumn in New England

My house is so quiet, my ears feel empty. The click of my keyboard is the loudest sound, and when I stop to idly scratch my face, the brushing sound of my sleeve is followed by the fainter brushing of my fingertip against my cheek. It’s a deep and steady quiet, made for concentrating.

I’m happy to be writing. Have I said that lately? Some days, I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have this work.

Otherworldly Other Worlds

The Apple Portal

The Apple Portal

A young writer asked me the other day why I liked to write, and I told her I liked the ability to slip into another world whenever I wanted. I can be in a room at a table with half a dozen other people, and as soon as I set my pen to my paper, I’m gone to somewhere else entirely. The writing of the words pulls me away from the present and into my mind and out some back door to a deeper, different, wilder place… Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Writing

A writing guideline: try not to get distracted.

A handy writing guideline: try not to get distracted by animals on your keboard.

I’m visiting the East Granby Public Library at 24 Center Street in East Granby, CT, this Thursday at 7 p.m. for a talk about writing and the process of creating a novel, with examples from how I wrote the Birthmarked trilogy and my latest YA series, The Vault of Dreamers. Where do ideas come from? How does one get published? Should you quit your day job? What are young adult novels and who reads… Continue reading

Where the Tracks Run Out

Train tracks lead into grass.

I have a decent novel. I’m sure of that. My current draft of The Keep of Ages shapes up and smells like a real book, with the right characters, some surprising twists, and theme concepts that intrigue me. Yet something’s missing. I feel it between the lines, part promise and part absence. I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I know I need to look.

So I’m stepping off the tracks into the wild grass. This is an unnerving place, where the only guide is questions, and they aren’t… Continue reading