Monday Quote: On Omitting

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for a story is to cut. It’s most easily done during revisions. First, get your story on the page. Later, as you edit, look for parts to strike. Doing this can make your story stronger. It’s especially true if you’ve

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Monday Quote: On Clarity

This week I’m revising a piece I wrote more than a year ago. Some passages seem less clear to me than they did on my last round of edits. This is true of everything I write. My words can always be more clear. As the French writer

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A New Vision

As a new decade takes shape, a new-and-better website will take shape here. My brilliant husband—a software architect by day, magician by night—is helping me re-imagine my online presence (I’m loathe to use this phrase, but as the experts say, even the literary world must adapt). Though

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From the Ground Up: Remembering 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was a Washingtonian, living near the Pentagon and working as an education reporter. As I darted to the subway, the sky glowed a crystalline blue. Later, everyone from D.C. to New York exchanged stories about the otherworldly brightness of that morning. How

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Book Review: Love and Ruin

When the Allies stormed five beaches in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944, 160,000 troops swung into action—along with one woman. Martha Gellhorn, a war correspondent, was the only female to join their ranks. She was the first journalist to reach the beaches and report on what

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Ten Things All Writers Must Do

Once I decided to write a book, I wanted help. My years as a journalist had taught me that any piece worth reading was the result of strong partnerships between writers and editors. So I launched a critique group. It was one of the best things I

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Big-City Reflections

It’s been almost a decade since I became a mom. I picked Chicago as the birthplace of my first-born, Noah. It was my first gift to him. The city is packed with years of memories and firsts for me. Now he can say the same. Though we’ve

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