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Mary Frances Hill’s Blog

WHAT OUR US PRESIDENTS TAUGHT ME ABOUT WRITING AND PUBLISHING

I recently attended a talk by presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy at the Nixon Library. Although I’ve heard many political speeches on TV, I’d never been to a campaign event in person. As the audience sat, buffered between security and press, Kennedy spoke about the common goals and...

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SHOULD INDIE NOVELISTS AVOID TRIGGER SUBJECTS? Prior to having children, I worked as a counselor in the mental health field. Probably because of this, I’m comfortable discussing almost anything. As far as my writing goes, not only am I comfortable writing about trigger topics like...

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THE NOT-SO-OBVIOUS PROS OF PAYING IT FORWARD

I recently reconnected with an acquaintance I knew from a public pre-pandemic Barnes and Noble writers’ group. I hadn’t seen her in years and was excited when she invited me for coffee to catch up and discuss our latest writing projects. But when we started chatting after ordering our...

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To ReAD OR NOT TO READ

There have been times over the years when I’ve intentionally refrained from reading anything except manuscripts required for my critique groups. The reasoning behind my book boycott was simple. While I was in the thick of writing, I didn’t want to be swayed by other writers’ voices,...

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When is a novel truly done?

How do you know when you’ve finished your novel?  I’m not talking about a first draft, or a second, or even a fifth. I’m referring to ‘never changing another word’ finished. Ever. Answering this question can be tough, especially if you’re a perfectionist like me. There have been...

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are there “It” Books? Can I write one?

Last Saturday morning, I went to my niece’s show choir competition. My book had come out on Amazon two nights earlier, and I was spent from anticipation. As I drove to the performing arts high school in Placentia, California—the competition venue—I couldn't keep my eyes on the freeway. I...

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

WHY YOUR CHARACTERS’ NAMES MATTER. My mother taught for over forty years. She taught in public elementary schools outside New York City, in the Pennsylvania suburbs, and in an elite private school in Princeton. She also directed a New Jersey cooperative nursery school, and when she...

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COPING WITH A NEGATIVE CRITIQUE

After months or even years of work, you’ve finally finished a draft of your novel. You’re anxious but also super excited to get feedback on your story and the characters you’ve created. Maybe you submit your first chapter to your critique group, or perhaps you hire a professional editor,...

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IS GOOGLING ENOUGH?

SHOULD YOU ONLY WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW? Is googling enough? Should we only write about our own lives and what we know personally? This question was posed during a Zoom writing group I recently attended. To give context, a writer stated that he didn’t want to write about himself. A...

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About Mary Frances Hill

Mary Frances Hill is the author of two books, The Worm Man and The Heaven Spot. Mary is an avid dog walker and home renovator and loves binge-watching true crime documentaries and mysteries.