My Coaching Staff
- The Lie that Tells the Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction by John Dufresne
- Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
- The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
- Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott
- The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner
- Finding Your Way in a Wild New World and The Joy Diet by Martha Beck
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies Writing courses – where I found the encouragement of editor and teacher Laurie Scheer
- Writer’s Relief – a literary journal and agent submission agency. Lifesavers. Timesavers. Cheerleaders. Reliable. Dependable. Nice.
- Beth Herman, coach extraordinaire, with more tricks up her sleeve than you could ever hope for to soothe your wounds and perk up your soul.
- Proofreader of brilliance, Natalie Karst.
Six Books That Blow My Mind
If these writers can manipulate your imagination and place you in Tahiti (Gilbert), Brahmpur (Seth), a walled town with beasts of gold (Murakami), a Toronto asylum for the insane (Atwood), the Cherokee Nation (Frazier) and playing piano in a Mississippi steamboat dance band (Gautreaux), all while taking liberties with time, love, class, fantasy and history, then I want to do that too.
This stack of novels leaves me quaking, ricocheting between profound pleasure and incredulity. I’m incredulous because I realize, while deep in the fictional universe these novels create, that this is allowed and that writers are allowed to do it to all of us.
So much of writing is about feeling that I have permission to make something from nothing; these books embolden my writing practice. These writers are brave, innovative, intense and possess such confident and bold storytelling acumen that the pages feel like a miracle.
It’s critical for writers to be reading as much as possible. If nothing else, the insights a writer gains by reading something so thrilling it sticks with you like a cold that just won’t go away, is invaluable. On top of that, reading is much cheaper than a writing course or a master’s degree in creative writing.
Click on the title to visit some of my favorite bookstores and purchase this stack. I’ve included reviews for your reading pleasure. But trust me. These novels are so mind-blowingly good they will slay your sense of what a book is supposed to do to you. Yes, a writer can do that.