“Because Covid” and Other Things: Knowing Your Characters’ Language

Image credit: Tumisu on Pixabay.com

How many of the following have you heard, read, or said in the past year?

“We couldn’t go to Florida this year because covid.”

“I have a Zoom meeting at 3.”

“My kids are doing remote today.”

“Senior shopping hours start at 6 a.m.”

“My church has in-person worship, but you have to register.”

“I got my vaccine appointment!”

“Can’t believe the hospitals are low on PPE again.”

“Our state’s positivity rate is down to 2.5%.”

“We do curbside pickup!”

“I’d love to go to the U.K., but they’re in lockdown.”

“I missed Thanksgiving because I had to quarantine.”

“Did you get Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J?”

“Mask up.”

Two years ago, none of these lines would have made sense. Now, we’re fluent in the language of the pandemic. Statements like these brand us as the people who have spent the past year battling the deadliest virus any of us could ever have imagined.

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The Lemon Meringue Pie Approach to Writing Fiction

For some writers, stories spring into being, fully-formed and populated with fascinating, well-rounded characters. The act of writing is little more than taking dictation from the Muse, with perhaps a bit of sprucing up here and there to ensure that the foreshadowing is properly balanced with the revelation and the metaphors sparkle.

We do not like these people. Continue reading

Writing to Cope

writing through the storm

Back then, when it was all happening, I didn’t know about Barbara Abercrombie’s book, Writing Out the Storm. But somehow, that’s what I did. It was the summer of 2007, the storm was cancer, and I wrote through it.

Rewind to May, 2006. A dear friend—we’ll call her Sarah—called me at 10:00 on a Saturday morning and upended my world with the news that had already upended hers: she had ovarian cancer. Stage 3. Metastatic. She’d found out the day before. She knew ten o’clock was early for me, but she didn’t want me hearing it from anyone else.

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