Black Friday Book Magic

Susan DeFDetailed Assessment, fiction, Professional Review, Writing ConsultationLeave a Comment

When I was younger, we used to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving as “Buy Nothing Day”–a protest against the mindless consumerism of the Christmas season. These days, I do my best to practice conscious consumerism, purchasing secondhand whenever possible, and from ethical companies when it’s not–and though I don’t believe conscious consumerism will save the world (if only it were … Read More

This is Your Brain on Books

Susan DeFcraft, fictionLeave a Comment

We all know that reading helps us gain skills and knowledge, and maybe even become better people (though of course, you can’t believe everything you read in the self-help aisle). Which is to say, reading helps us grow new synapses, and become brainier. So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at the degree to which writing has taught me about the … Read More

When one door shuts…

Susan DeFfiction, ReflectionsLeave a Comment

Two painted doors face the viewer. The one on the left is red with a tree and the one on the right is blue.

We all know the saying: When one door closes, another one opens. Last month, I shared that I’d received some tough news from a colleague on my new novel–news that it wasn’t nearly as far along as I’d thought. Many of you wrote to share your appreciation for my honesty in sharing this, for the vulnerability in it. Some of … Read More

Why Complex Characters Aren’t Optional

Susan DeFcraft, fictionLeave a Comment

Image of faces carved in stone with various expressions, some of anger, happiness, sadness

There are two issues with character that I see over and over again in the course of my First 50 assessments: protagonists who are too good, and antagonists who are too bad. Protagonists who are too good have no clear internal issue. They might have gone through something hard in the past, but whatever that something is, it doesn’t seem to be … Read More