OPEN INK PERSPECTIVES

A Chance to Play by J.A. Rock

When I was a kid, I loved movies. I still love movies, but when I was younger I watched them obsessively. It was a discovery period—everything I watched seemed new and exciting; I wasn’t yet so jaded that every movie that came out felt like a rehash of something I’d just seen. And I could test my wannabe film-critic skills in the school paper, waxing snobby and pretending I was a critic for EW or the New York Times as I prattled on about cinematography and camera angles. I especially…

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Lessons Learned from Co-Writing: Getting Started by Joanna Chambers

I’ve just released my first co-written book, Enemies Like You, with Annika Martin so I thought I’d talk a little bit today about about some of the lessons learned from the co-writing process.   Prior to Enemies, I’d had no particular desire to co-write with anyone. Quite the opposite actually. I know what I’m like. I’m opinionated and controlling and I knew it would not be an easy thing for me. If I’m doing a team task (e.g. in my RL job) and someone in the team isn’t doing a…

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On Romance and Pre-Existing Conditions by Cat Sebastian

I know I’m not the only one watching in horror as millions of Americans stand to lose their healthcare. Pretty much everyone I know has some kind of pre-existing condition that could disqualify them from insurance coverage under the bill that recently passed the House. One of the unsettling aspects of this discussion is the term “pre-existing condition” because it presumes that there is such a thing as a human body that exists in a state of perpetual health, and that health care should only extend to those already-healthy bodies….

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“Real” life vs. “book” life by Daria Defore

Maintaining a balance between writing and socializing is one of those things that I find infinitely challenging. I’ve certainly been known to set aside a whole day for writing and then, because I have the whole day, after all, not start writing until night. Those of you who have done this know that those misspent hours are never productive. Most likely, you spent them experiencing varieties of guilt, browsing Twitter, and allowing yourself “just one episode” of That TV Show. Like many writers, I work a day job. But I…

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When Bad Things Happen to Good Characters by Annabeth Albert

There’s a trend right now towards low-angst stories where the greatest hurdle a couple faces is getting out of the way of their own feelings. And these stories are great—I have a number of them on my keeper shelf and sometimes it’s exactly what I’m in the mood to read.  It’s one of the cornerstones of what a romance should be—escapism and good feelings.  After all, real life, especially these days, is hard and uncertain and filled with tense emotions. And we all know all too well that sometimes horrible…

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Writing Your Way Out by Heidi Cullinan

Writers are often encouraged to write what they know, and this generally elicits passionate response, sometimes in defense of the maxim, sometimes against. I’ve always come down in the middle, writing from my experience most definitely, but always with a twist, because being direct too often results in something slightly misshapen, or dough too hot to touch. I’ll parse myself across seven or eight characters, giving one this memory, the other that odd tic, the next that professor from college. I always say the character most like me is a…

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Nonconforming Gender Expectations by Anna Zabo

I don’t like gender boxes. Maybe it’s because I’m non-binary and personally dislike having to act one way or another, but I don’t think so. I tend to see people as wholes, as totalities. Whatever gender they are, that shouldn’t affect how they act or dress or behave. It can, because we do live in a world where gender is coded by behavior and dress, but it shouldn’t. People are far more complex than anything binary. Pink is for boys and blue is for girls. Or is it the other…

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Dialect in Dialogue by Jude Sierra

When I was writing my third novel, Idlewild, I spent a lot of time pondering (agonizing) over speech patterns in dialogue for my characters. This story takes place in downtown Detroit; in it we have Tyler, a young, genderqueer black man coming out of college and into adulthood who grew up in the city. We also have Asher, a sort-of middle aged (I am struggling to reconcile 33 as middle aged, if only so I can avoid being called so myself, ha!) Jewish man from the suburbs who has become…

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