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recent news from Jennifer Dwight

Book Review: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul (She Writes Press 2015)

Painting by Laurel Derry Brandstetter, 2008 This wry, wise novel about coming to terms with conflicting family obligations in middle age also addresses the roles that pain and loss can play in awakening people, and in healing dysfunctional family patterns. Told in the third person, the protagonist is Jules, the oldest of three offspring of

May 17th, 2016|Book Review|

The Birth of a Novel, Part 6: Charm School for the Debut Novelist

You’re well on the way toward ushering your first novel into the world. It’s been critiqued by early readers, you’ve rewritten and proofread meticulously, and you feel good about the result. Congratulations! So what is your goal for this manuscript? If it’s publication, you’ll need to learn about the wide array of publishing methods available,

April 13th, 2016|Writing|

From the Lion’s Den: A Fight for Veterans’ Rights

Despite the late hour, paralegals occupied every computer and scurried about, loading boxes to be delivered early in the morning for the first day of trial. Others worked in the hallways, wrapping large, colorful demonstrative exhibit graphs: the abhorrent neglect of wounded veterans reduced to numbers and plotted on vivid trajectories for the Court and

The Birth of a Novel: Part 5, Polishing the Manuscript

Because you want to submit only your very best work for publication, your journey will now venture through the steps of polishing the manuscript of your first novel. So far you have completed the first draft, edited it carefully, and distributed copies, with a questionnaire, to your early readers. It will be very helpful for

March 30th, 2016|Writing|

These Electric Moments

You struggle against the entropy that wants you to stay put. You feel the weight of expectations. Your hope is not always intact, and sometimes you lose sight of it altogether. A lot of your time is eaten up by trivia or unavoidable responsibilities. Survival, the common struggle of all living beings, brings out the

The Birth of a Novel, Part 4: Rewriting

The first draft of your first novel is done! Congratulations! But before you let anyone read your masterpiece, please take a break. Your first rewrite awaits, and a little distance will help your patience and perspective. The second half of the novel may be better written than the first half, owing to the development of

February 9th, 2016|Writing|

The Birth of A Novel, Part 3: Letting the Story Out

The story which snuck up on you, and now occupies your daily thoughts, has bloomed into a detailed outline. It may be ten or a hundred pages long, but you’re eager to move on to the next stage of your adventure. The outline writing process helped you in several ways. First, you squirreled away pockets

February 3rd, 2016|Writing|

The Birth of a Novel, Part 2: Creating Structure

Your nascent story is just a smattering of paragraphs, ideas that are evolving. You don’t see how you’ll possibly have time to take on a serious writing project, but you set that consideration aside. You may have a demanding day job, a family, no special training, or a charming garret in which to stare dreamily

January 9th, 2016|Writing|

The Birth of a Novel – Part 1: Conception

  You have an itch. You’ve had it for a while, but perhaps you ignore it. To give into it might upend your life. Your life isn’t perfect, of course, but you’re used to it the way it is. And your day job takes so much of your energy. Besides, the itch is only an

December 31st, 2015|Writing|

You Can Be Right

An old saying in my household is that you can be “right” or you can love somebody. Translation: You can seek dominion (in a disagreement) or you can agree to disagree, and move on. You can place a higher value on getting along and honoring the other person’s position than on being “the winner.” If

December 30th, 2015|Love, Personal Growth|