Author Archives: Karen Dionne

Faith and a Box Full of Clock Parts

I’m ten years old. My Big Ben-style alarm clock has stopped working. Maybe I wound it too tightly, maybe it’s just worn out. Whatever the reason, the alarm hasn’t gone off in days. I know I can fix it, if only I can get a look inside. When I tell my parents, they don’t laugh. Instead, my dad gives me a set of miniature screwdrivers, my mom gives me an empty shoebox, and on that day, my writing career is born. Okay, technically, I didn’t Continue reading →

The Secret to Writing Faster

Last summer I found myself jammed up against a deadline most novelists would have thought impossible to meet. My normal writing pace produced roughly one polished chapter per week. Now, in order to meet my deadline, I had to write a polished chapter every day. I had to learn how to write faster — fast. Previously, my writing process looked like this: Think about the chapter. Write a great first line. Write a solid first paragraph. Write one or two more decent paragraphs. Put xxx in the places Continue reading →

Extreme Research

I’m on a ferry, the Pincoya. It’s midnight, and we’re chugging along off the coast of Chile at the nautical equivalent of a blistering 8 miles per hour. The Pincoya is a working ferry. Passengers are an afterthought. I’m in a square-ish, wood-paneled room jammed with airplane seats set so close together, there’s less leg room than a commuter jet. The cabin is bright, noisy. A wall-mounted television blares 80s Spanish-language music videos. I don’t know the words, but I recognize the hair. It’s like a party. Everyone Continue reading →