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Jennie Nash
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Entries by Jennie Nash

The Making of a Novel: A Test Audience of One

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2011 | 5:21 PM

When I went off to college in the mid-eighties, I was assigned a college roommate from the opposite side of the country. I showed up in jeans and a "Haagen Dazs" T-shirt, which caused the roommate to think I spoke a strange and esoteric foreign language. Bridget showed up in...

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The Making of a Novel: Set Decoration

(5) Comments | Posted January 27, 2011 | 7:05 PM

I've been feeling lately as if some of the scenes I'm writing are too vague. I'm missing a tangible sense of the rooms my characters exist in, and the things they interact with on a daily basis. What I need is a little set decoration. So today, I spent my...

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The Making of a Novel: Considering Art and Commerce

(0) Comments | Posted January 19, 2011 | 8:24 PM

In last week's post, I talked about a friend who abandoned a novel at the 11th hour because she felt it wasn't quite right. It was interesting to read all the comments from people who felt that it wasn't necessarily courageous to abandon a book so close to...

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The Making of a Novel: Courage to Tell Your Best Story

(12) Comments | Posted January 13, 2011 | 11:15 AM

I had the pleasure of speaking at an author's luncheon today at the Huntington Beach public library. This is a big, beautiful library that is thriving in the midst of a cultural sea-change, and it was a delight to be among all the book-loving Friends of the Library.

My fellow...

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Making a Novel: The Allure of 100 Pages

(7) Comments | Posted January 6, 2011 | 3:35 PM

Last year, I started blogging about the making of a new novel, and I wrote in this space every day. It proved to take too big a toll on the progress of my story, so this year, I'm going to start out just writing on Wednesdays. I am, in other...

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The Making of a Novel: What Motivates

(6) Comments | Posted December 10, 2010 | 1:04 PM

I just had lunch with a student who has just completed a final polished draft of his memoir. He had it there on the table -- 251 pages, printed and bound and resting in a FedEx office box. (Alas, that just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Kinkos"...

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The Making of a Novel: Resurrecting Old Drafts

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2010 | 3:14 PM

I did some good work today, and one of the things I found myself doing was mining and old draft of my story for nuggets of gold. I had this particular draft because I recently cut 30 pages from the start of my story. Whenever I do something drastic like...

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The Making of a Novel: 5 Ways You Know You're on the Right Track

(5) Comments | Posted December 1, 2010 | 9:39 PM

I decided to make a change to the start of my novel, which means hacking out a lot of pages. I'm not sure how many will have to go yet, but I will cut as many as necessary in order to make the opening exciting, fun and engaging. I'm going...

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The Making of a Novel: When It Feels Like Work

(0) Comments | Posted November 29, 2010 | 10:32 AM

I sent 57 pages of my novel-in-progress to a friend for a critique, and last night I got back pages and pages of notes. I have some other work I have to do today -- critiquing someone else's story, getting organized for a class I'm teaching tomorrow, chipping away at...

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The Making of a Novel: Giving Thanks

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2010 | 11:44 PM

I just celebrated ten years being cancer-free, so giving thanks is fairly straightforward for me: I'm thankful just to be alive.

Still, I love that writers and editors all over the web are thankful for specific writer-related things, and I've gathered here a list of some of the best lists:

...
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The Making of a Novel: Polling the Experts

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 12:54 PM

Last week, I did a book signing at a Holiday Gift fair at a local school. A local bookseller had a table of great gift-giving books laid out, and I sat in front of a stack of my three novels, ready to personalize them for anyone who wanted one. We...

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The Making of a Novel: What Support Means to a Writer

(2) Comments | Posted November 22, 2010 | 4:41 PM

I was on a roll over the weekend. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and sorted through notes and books, and integrated ideas into my text, and basically couldn't keep my hands off my story. It's the best kind of obsession. My children were gone this weekend, and so it...

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The Making of a Novel: What Readers Skip

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2010 | 6:59 PM

Elmore Leonard famously said, "I try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip." I thought of this today, because I hacked some words out of my story.

How do you know what parts to throw away? I have a simple trick I use to suss them out:...

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The Making of a Novel: I Read It in the New York Times

(2) Comments | Posted November 17, 2010 | 10:33 AM

When you're writing a long story, you often labor for a long time in the dark. You're not exactly sure where your story is going (even if you've plotted the whole thing out) and you're not exactly sure how you're going to get there, and there are many days when...

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The Making of a Novel: Real Life Gets in the Way

(2) Comments | Posted November 16, 2010 | 7:41 PM

I had a big block of time set aside today to write, and had been looking forward to it -- but, alas, my 9th grader got sick in the middle of the night. She woke me up at 2 a.m., and stayed home from school for most of the day...

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The Making of a Novel: When Writing is an Emergency

(4) Comments | Posted November 12, 2010 | 4:02 PM

In her book Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints, writer Joan Aconcella makes the point that art is always an emergency. I loved that line when I read it, and it popped into my head today, because I feel desperate about needing to keep working on my book. Everything...

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The Making of a Novel: Meeting the Public

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 6:47 PM

I was part of an author's luncheon event today. There were about 500 people in the audience and five featured authors besides myself. Although my hosts were gracious and organized, and the venue was spectacular, and even the food was quite good, it was a strange event.

  • One woman...
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The Making of a Novel: The Lessons of a Bad Book

(2) Comments | Posted November 9, 2010 | 5:03 PM

I have to drive a relatively long way to teach my weekly class at UCLA, and I listen to books on tape while I drive. I find that I arrive in a much better mood if I listen to a story than if I listen to music or, heaven forbid,...

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The Making of a Novel: The Beauty of Paper

(2) Comments | Posted November 8, 2010 | 3:16 PM

This morning I printed out 60 pages of my new novel to read for the first time on paper. I sharpened a pencil, cleared some space at the kitchen table, made a cup of tea, sat down, and read what I have so far.

Why today? I'm not sure. It...

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The Making of a Novel: Serendipity

(1) Comments | Posted November 6, 2010 | 12:40 AM

I wrote four pages today and something thrilling happened in the midst of the work: I was adding a scene into a previous section, because I realized that I needed a scene that would show why this character -- Mary -- was terrified of writing. I went back to a...

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