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Holly Robinson
Holly Robinson writes about pop culture, parenting, health, science and psychology for national magazines. She is the author of the novels Chance Harbor, Haven Lake, Beach Plum Island, and The Wishing Hill, as well as The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir. Read excerpts of her books as well as some of her recent articles and essays at

Entries by Holly Robinson

Should You Track Word Count While Writing a Novel? Yes, No, and Maybe So

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2016 | 8:40 AM


If you eavesdrop on a conversation between writers, it's easy to mistake talk about craft for something else. Marathons, maybe.

"I had such a slow day. Only 500 in two hours!"

"Mine went well. I topped 2000 before lunch!"


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On Horses, My New Book Cover, and Coming Full Circle

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2016 | 5:46 PM

My dad was a Navy officer, yet he was sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas when I was eleven years old. Yes, Kansas: not exactly a seafaring state.

Dad's assignment was a teaching job at the Army's Command and General Staff College. It...

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An Ode to Great Coaches: How One Out-of-Shape Older Mom Ran Her First 5K

(2) Comments | Posted May 9, 2016 | 1:21 PM


On Mother's Day, I ran my first 5K. After two decades of cheering on my kids at sports events, I wasn't on the sidelines. I was an athlete.

I couldn't have done it without my coach.

I've never had a real coach before....

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I Wrote for 17 Minutes Yesterday!

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2016 | 9:06 AM


Last weekend, I participated on two different author panels during the 2016 Newburyport Literary Festival, an event packed with over 70 different authors that drew 2,000 people to our tiny seaside town.

The panels were very...

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Everything Is Fine, Until It's Not

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2016 | 10:36 AM


You know how it is: you get up in the morning and grumble because there's too much to do. The dog wants a walk. You have to crowbar the kids off to school despite their whining. The breakfast dishes need to...

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Author Jennifer Brown Talks About How to Research a Novel, Conquering Rejection, and Writing Even When It Hurts

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2016 | 7:50 AM


I'm addicted to book review porn the way some people ogle real estate ads, vacation brochures, or the latest iPhone gadgets. When I first read the advance reviews of Jennifer Brown's debut novel, Modern Girls, I knew this...

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How One Coach Got Me Off the Couch--and Inspired My Writing

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2016 | 11:13 AM


I'm the mother of three champion long distance runners. I honestly don't know how that happened, since I was never a runner. But I showed up at almost every race, bellowing, "Go, go, go!" in the best imitation of my days...

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You Can't Write Without a Leap of Faith

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2016 | 10:28 AM


The most important thing every writer has to do is take a leap of faith.

What does that mean, exactly? That, no matter how stuck you are at the start of a book, or how unwieldy your manuscript becomes as...

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For Novelist Marin Thomas, Playing Basketball Prepared Her for the Writing Life

(2) Comments | Posted March 7, 2016 | 8:44 AM


Author Marin Thomas has had an enviable career as a writer by any stretch, having published twenty-five romance novels with Harlequin before venturing into women's fiction with her newest book, The Promise of Forgiveness. Here, she talks about everything from...

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The 6 Biggest Surprises of the Writing Life

(0) Comments | Posted March 2, 2016 | 8:47 AM


When a friend asked recently what I was working on, I was excited to share my publishing news: I had just delivered my new novel to my editor at Penguin, and now I'm deep into a fascinating ghostwriting project.


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Confessions of a Ghost Writer: Pay No Attention To That Woman Behind the Curtain

(1) Comments | Posted February 24, 2016 | 12:30 PM


Recently, I appeared on a radio show to promote a literary event. We were talking about my latest novel, but inevitably the host asked, "So you're a ghostwriter, too? Who have you written for?"

I laughed and gave my standard answer:...

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What Is Your Purpose?

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 10:15 AM


I often wake up in the middle of the night. Our children are scattered around the world now, so my typical insomnia starts when I wake and start wondering whether they're safe. You know: the usual helpless parent's rabbit hole...

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Author Yona Zeldis McDonough on Lucky Breaks and Following Your Writing Instincts

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 6:37 AM

Yona Zeldis McDonough is the author of seven novels for adults. She is also an award-winning children's book author with 26 children's books to her credit, a journalist, an essayist, and a fiction editor who helps aspiring writers polish their manuscripts. This week, she took time out from...

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How to Kill a Main Character Without Murdering Your Book

(3) Comments | Posted January 28, 2016 | 10:00 AM


One of the worst mistakes I ever made as a green novelist was to ignore the advice of editors and friends who told me certain manuscripts needed overhauling.

I simply refused. I had put the plot on the page and given birth to...

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Author Laura Drake on Indie v.s. Traditional Publishing, Cowboys and Why She Loves Her Motorcycle

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2016 | 10:01 AM

Author Laura Drake is in an enviable position as a writer, having sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series to Grand Central, winning a 2014 Romance Writers of America RITA© award in the "Best First Book" category, and then...
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Vow to Write Better, Not Faster in 2016, Despite Our Binge-Loving Culture

(4) Comments | Posted January 9, 2016 | 12:14 PM


Recently, I was skimming the front pages of the New York Times book review when I caught this item: Jonathan Safran Foer's new novel, "Here I Am," is coming out next fall. I'm looking forward to reading it--I...

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Why the Joyful Season Leaves Us So Blue

(0) Comments | Posted December 28, 2015 | 12:44 PM


I had nothing to be blue about this season. Not really. True, only two of our five children could come home because the other three were going to be far away, and that made me sad. But everyone in our blended...

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Who's Telling the Story? A Crash Course on Writing Points of View

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2015 | 3:00 PM

I've been writing fiction for many years now. Each book poses new stumbling blocks. Inevitably, though, the question that always plagues me at the start is this one: Whose story is it, anyway?

This question became imperative last month. I was supposed to be finishing my new novel, Folly...

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What Happened When My Characters Hijacked My Novel

(3) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 11:03 AM

I write emotional family mysteries, the sort of fiction where the characters suffer through freakin' horrible crises: abandoned children, missing parents, wandering husbands, suicidal wives, etc. Give me some characters, and I'll show you how to torture them.

When I wrote the synopsis for Folly Cove, a novel about...

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The 5 Worst Things a Writer Can Say

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2015 | 9:34 PM


This past week, I launched my fifth novel, Chance Harbor, provoking a friend to exclaim, "Wow, you're popping out books like Tic Tacs, aren't you?"

She has a point. Six years ago, I hadn't even published one book. It took...

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