Author Archives: Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

Robert Olen Butler and Caitlin Doughty on Writers on Writing

Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler joins Marrie Stone to talk about his latest Christopher Marlow Cobb novel, The Empire of Night, and how to utilize the “compost of the imagination” to create art. 

Licensed mortician Caitlin Doughty joins in the second half to discuss her memoir, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory.  Caitlin gives advice on how to talk to children about death, what attracted her to mortuary science, and options for after-life care most people don’t know exist. 

Download audio. 

(Broadcast date: November 12, 2014)

J.K. Rowling’s keeping track/plot chart

I don’t much believe in traditional outlines, but I do believe in devising methods to keep track of the goings on in your novel. Here’s the link to what Rowling did. You’re going to have to copy and past since I can’t get it to link up within this post. And if that doesn’t work, google “JK Rowling plot” or visit and it’s there, somewhere.

Another way to make progress

This morning I remembered something my friend and colleague Neal Shusterman, who writes YA novels and does quite well at it, said some years back.  It was either when we were in Fictionaires together (an Orange County-based writing group where I also got to know T. Jefferson Parker, Elizabeth George, Jo-Ann Mapson, Maureen Taylor Smith, and Don Stanwood), or during an interview when he was on Writers on Writing, or for an article I wrote for Poets & Writers, but he said rather than writing a number of words or pages during any given day, he had a number he had to reach for the week. So if one day he wrote one, and another day, two, the next day he might write eight, to make up for not writing much previous days. Lately I’ve been doing just that.

For me, the number per day, five days a week, is four pages.  So every week, I need to write 20 pages of the novel I started a little more than two months ago.  I’m up to page 200.  I’m aiming for 240.

If you’re having trouble with a certain number of words or pages a day, give this a try.  A certain number every week offers a certain flexibility and latitude that works for writers like me, and maybe

Local writers’ group seeking new members

A friend asked me to post this. I haven’t visited the group yet, so I can’t vouch for it, but I can vouch for my friend, Glenda Brown Rynn, who asked me to post it. A lovely woman and serious writer. Here you are:

Interested in the creative process of writers? On Thursday, May 8, from 7-9:30 PM, at Kean Coffee in Tustin, join other OC readers and writers for LIT UP, a lively reciprocal discussion over coffee of what works in stories by four writers from Pure Fiction League. Other OC writers who attend can learn about the selection process of this free monthly event. To RSVP and receive a dollar off your favorite hot beverage on event night, click here.

Deena Goldstone and Lydia Denworth on Writers on Writing

Lydia Denworth, journalist and author of I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey through the Science of Sound and Language, and screenwriter Deena Goldstone, author of the short story collection, Tell Me One Thing,talk with guest host Nicole Nelson.

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We are in our semi-anual fund drive until May 2, 2014, and possibly till May 4, depending on how it goes. Every donation helps; please consider contributing: (949) 824-5824, (949) UCI-KUCI or  Indicate that you’re donating in the name of Writers on Writing.  The university has cut back 20% of their support and the station needs your help to keep the lights on.   Thank you so much for your support.

(Broadcast date: April 23, 2014)