Fox With Quill

“Writers live twice.” —Natalie Goldberg


April 2016

First Rule of Novel Writing: Don’t Write a Novel

“Creative writing doesn’t want to be worked at, just as cakes don’t want you opening the oven door on them all the time, or animals don’t want you harassing them into submission, or children don’t want you to force feed them the rules for growth. You can bake a cake or tame an animal or raise a child under these circumstances, but it will emerge tragically deflated, a poor approximation of what it might have been.”

Continue reading “First Rule of Novel Writing: Don’t Write a Novel”


(Z)oning Out

“A writer is working when he/she’s staring out of the window.”

Continue reading “(Z)oning Out”

(X)enophobia: Why Do We Fear Writing What’s Foreign?

How do we as writer’s incorporate something foreign into our work? Write from the point of view of a different race? Portray a scene that we have never experienced? Describe the layout of a city, state or country we have never been to? Some of this can be achieved through research, the first draft of a story being a draft or placeholder until we have enough money to travel to that state. I know one day I want to travel to what remains of Topaz, the Japanese internment camp in Utah or to China to see a Chinese opera.

But what about the things we cannot change? I’m an African American woman who could bleach my skin but would still identify as black. So how do I go about writing White, Asian, Latino or Biracial characters? Continue reading “(X)enophobia: Why Do We Fear Writing What’s Foreign?”

(Y)ou: The Writer

I am a writer.

It took me years to admit this to myself partly because I am afraid of what being a writer entails. A lot of people don’t want to be writers under the assumption that it means a life of poverty. But the idea of being a part of a career where you are constantly alone with only a notebook, pencil, pen, erasure and computer? Sounds perfect to me!

I am an introvert. I am a nerd. I am African American. I am a writer. Continue reading “(Y)ou: The Writer”

(W)orkshop: Is that…blood on my manuscript?

Ah Workshop, the moment in every writers life where they sit surrounded by their peers waiting for judgement. From that awkward silence at the beginning, going around the room and introducing yourselves and then returning to your rooms to re-read everyone’s story now being able to put a face with the writing. Honestly, workshop is my favorite part of my entire educational career. In that moment, I feel like people care about what the one thing I want to do, write. That, under the supervision of the workshop leader, they provide me with praise and suggestions one the moments in my piece that either worked or slowed the pacing.

Or, in blunt terms, this is where I stopped reading and why.

Hey, not everyone is nice and trust me, writers never share what they are really thinking in workshop! We are taught to talk in circles, be nice about our critiques to not discourage the writer. However, there are other ways to discourage your fellow, vulnerable writers in workshop.

Here are the people to look out for: Continue reading “(W)orkshop: Is that…blood on my manuscript?”

(V)exing Interruptions

I enjoy my quiet time because I am a quiet person. My favorite thing to do is curl up on my couch cushion and listen to the silence settle in around me.

But then that silence is interrupted by the sound of the microwave turning on, plates clattering together, the sink running, someone singing or talking to themselves, the refrigerator door slamming, a phone going off, that person then talking on their phone while sucking the food out of their teeth, smacking, snapping, sniffing, coughing, scratching and cracking their knuckles.

Then they stand over me and see that I’m trying to write, nap or just be alone for a few moments out of the day and ask:

“Am I being too loud?”

If you are making any type of noise then yes, you are being too loud. Continue reading “(V)exing Interruptions”


I get a lot of questions.

Sometimes dealing with my height, race and age. Others focusing on what I plan to do with my life, job, do you want kids and what genre do you write in? All these questions are overwhelming, especially when there is a deluge of them. My mind starts swimming, my eyes bouncing from one person to the next. Or, I tune out the one person sitting across the table from me, trying to pry into my life so much so that their words just fade into the background.

I’m normally snapped out of my alternate reality when their hand slams against the table and they ask “Are you listening?”

Um….no. Continue reading “(U)mmmm………”


There is always that spot that lingers between the header and the first line of a story. Its not a smudge and its not something that should be ignored. I want to fill it with something, something that will catch my reader’s eye. Draw them in and provide them with questions about what the story is going to be about, make them ask what will happen to my characters or set the overall tone of the story that is about to unfold. But that blank space just keeps staring at me, its the first thing I see when I sit down to begin a new story and the last thing that shines in my face as I click the red X to close the document.

The Title. Continue reading “(T)itles”


Submittable, like many tools in any writer’s survival kit, is a necessity. Without Submittable how else are we writers supposed to check on the status of our submissions? Okay, so its not a required tool but several literary magazines and competitions require their writers to submit through this wonderful, FREE, system. Right now, Submittable and I are frenemies because I cannot openly berate to the unresponsive places I’ve chosen to submit to.

Just know, submitting through Submittable is an emotional journey. One that will begin with excitement but ultimately halt in the land of waiting and wonder. Continue reading “(S)ubmittable”

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