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MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .

SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .

LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .

BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .

SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .

SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .

M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .

DARREN D. BEYER is an ex-NASA experiment engineer who has worked on every Space Shuttle orbiter but Challenger. In his sci-fi Anghazi Series, Beyer uses his scientific expertise to create a galaxy in which “space bridges” allow interstellar travel based upon the latest in real theoretical physics. Read more. . .

ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .

STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .

GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .

JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .

LISA MERCADO-FERNANDEZ writes literary novels of love, loss, and friendship set in the small coastal towns of New England. I edited Mercado-Fernandez’ debut novel The Shoebox and second novel The Eighth Summer. Read more. . .

JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .

LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .

ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .

ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .

In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    1. I will watch the world every day with the eyes of a fly.

    2. I’m assuming you know what flies’ eyes look like. But in case you don’t, think of disco balls with independent locomotion. You, personally, are walking through this incredibly vivid, visual, aural, tactile universe all day long every day with all the receptors you will ever need for brilliant fiction. USE THEM.

    3. I will record the world like an ADD stenographer, whether I think I can use what I’m recording or not.

    4. Writers are the last people to know if they’re ever going to need any particular bit of real life. Just because your head’s in the clouds doesn’t mean you never come back to earth. You have to. That’s where you catch your breath so you can bounce into the clouds again. And while you’re here, you need to stock up on random stuff, or else your stories are going to be made of very thin, very cliche, very boring material indeed.

      You don’t even have to listen to yourself record. Just be the stenographer. The sheer act of writing lodges it all in your head.

    5. I will write like Gertrude Stein on quaaludes and cut it like Edward Scissorhands on speed.

    6. Stein wrote everything about thirteen times in thirteen infintisimally-altered ways and then insisted Alice B. Toklas read it back to her to see if it made sense. It did not. But it was the one way to discover that writing is about words—the arrangement and order of words—and if you’re not a meticulous enough craftsperson to care about the arrangement of your words, then you’re not a writer, you’re just a debutante.

      Of course, Stein’s work is virtually unreadable the way it stands, so once you’ve given your system that gamma globulin shot of reality, you have to go back through and cull out every single thing that interferes between your vision and the reader’s imagination. That means 99% of it. Or 100%. Depending upon how meticulous you were.

    7. I will mentally plot a brief action scene every time I see anyone do anything.

    8. Everything anybody ever does is a miniature plot: it has a point at which it starts, development of detail, and a final purpose. You know why you always find what you’re looking for in the last place you look? Climax!

      Practice this on the most boring actions you see. Practice it on the most fascinating. Boring ones are simpler and more obvious, aren’t they? Ask yourself at which point you stop picking your nose.

    9. I will only write one line of dialog for everything three five I think I need.

    10. Actually, you can go ahead and write all five. But cut four of them. The rest are padding. And page-turning fiction has no room for padding.

      You think literary fiction gets a free pass? Read some Dickens. Austen. Bronte. Balzac. Graham Greene. Proust. Dostoyevsky. Great literary artists never pad.

    11. I will explore my characters like a wrecking ball in an aquarium.

    12. Everyone sees the shimmery, shiny reflection off their beloved characters’ faces first and foremost. That’s what you fall in love with. But there’s a tsunami inside every single individual roaming this planet, and if you can’t find that in your characters you can’t write anything interesting enough to hold a reader’s attention.

    13. I will delve into the hidden links between giraffes and ice floes, seashells and cell phones, shoelaces and aircraft carriers, vistas and thumbnails, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera every day before breakfast.

    14. Because this is what art is: finding the hidden links that hold the bizillions of disparate elements of our physical world together. . .and illuminating them. And the best time to see those things are while you’re still groggy, with one foot in the dream world where those links make total, bizarre, self-explanatory sense.

      Those are the knots we’re all so hungry to understand in this cosmic web of light in which we’re caught. You can’t describe the cosmic web. All you can describe are how the individual knots are tied.

    15. I will not write exposition for a year.

    16. White noise. Interference. Leave it out.

    17. I will not write internal dialog for a year.

    18. Seriously, guys. Exposition and internal dialog are just you getting between your story and the reader.

    19. I will make a habit of contradicting myself.

    20. Because life is paradox, and the depths of paradox are the layers that make up real, three-dimensional, fictional worlds.

    21. I will never, ever, ever be perfect.

    22. You think you’re going to squeak by this one, slip a little perfection in when nobody’s looking because, gosh darn it, sometimes you’re just that good? Sadness! You’re really not. So stop tying your thumbs together and let the infinity of possibilities teach you how to write.

    P.S. Thank you to Shane Arthur for suggesting I set up comment subscription. I should have done it for this blog ages ago, but I probably would never have gotten around to it if you hadn’t mentioned it.



    “The freshest and most relevant
    advice you’ll find.”

    —Helen Gallagher, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    The Art & Craft of Writing Fiction

    The Art & Craft of Writing Stories




14 Responses to “11 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers in 2011”

  1. This was clever and good advice to boot. Loved your resolutions!
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  2. I wrote a story that was all internal dialogue once. Just sayin’.

    (“That don’t mean it’s good,” I hear you saying. Yes, apparently you use incorrect grammar in my head. I’m ignoring you in my head, though, so I suppose it doesn’t matter.)

    Love your posts, as always, good lady! 🙂

  3. “I’m ignoring you in my head.” :))

  4. I’m all over #11.

  5. So glad I read this today.

    #1 made me think of how often I wonder if all the people driving down the road even notice the amazing sunsets above them.

    #4 made me cough on my carrot/orange juice. 😉

    #7 reminded of the book The Medici Effect.

    #11 is so true. If you respect the craft, you know you’ll never be good enough. (And if you were, what fun would that be knowing you’d never get any better?)

  6. What an insightful list! I appreciate the specifics as opposed to broader things like “write for an hour with no interruptions.” This is going on the bulletin board.

  7. I think I’ll make a poster of this list and hang it above my desk. Some of these are going to take some time . . .

  8. Ken Brand said on


  9. I love this post, especially the advice to write everything down “like an ADD stenographer” and to find the tsunami inside each of my characters — I needed the reminder. 🙂

  10. Another one to hang on my inspiration board, (broad category), Victoria – thank you!

    No internal dialogue? Really? Dang, I’m in Big Trouble! 🙂

  11. i *love* your fresh perspective, Victoria – excellent post, as always 🙂 You hooked me with the “eyes of a fly”

  12. […] 11 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers in 2011, by Victoria Mixon […]

  13. Ah… #1 – All I can say to my friends and family is: “I’m listening to everything you say and I’m making notes.” It must suck to be involved with a writer for this exact reason.

    Thanks for the list; good to be reminded of this stuff.

  14. Hi Victoria, Your New Years Resolution is very insightful, but 2011 is nearly ending.. I might use this for 2012.. =)