Deborah J. Ross




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Deborah J. Ross

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Deborah J. Ross writes and edits fantasy and science fiction. She's a member of the secret cabala of former SFWA Secretaries and also of Book View Café. Her short fiction has appeared in F & SF, Asimov's, Star Wars: Tales From Jabba's Palace, Realms of Fantasy, Sword & Sorceress, and various other anthologies and magazines. Her most recent books include Lambda Literary Award Finalist Collaborators (as Deborah Wheeler); and The Seven-Petaled Shield, an epic fantasy trilogy in which everyone gets insulted.

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Deborah J. Ross This year I'm on the jury for the Philip K. Dick Award for original paperback science fiction. So I'll be buried in submissions! Look for the award…moreThis year I'm on the jury for the Philip K. Dick Award for original paperback science fiction. So I'll be buried in submissions! Look for the award nominations early in 2018 to see what we picked.(less)
Deborah J. Ross From INK DANCE: ESSAYS ON THE WRITING LIFE.

Strategies for Dealing With Writer’s Block

One of the ways I pace myself in my writing day is to pace. I get…more
From INK DANCE: ESSAYS ON THE WRITING LIFE.

Strategies for Dealing With Writer’s Block

One of the ways I pace myself in my writing day is to pace. I get up, move around the house, make a desultory attempt at some housework, take the dog around the block. If I’m really worked up about how a story isn’t coming together or I’ve written myself into the black hole of all black holes, then I may dive into a cleaning project with a vengeance. Part of what’s going on is I’m so frustrated, I need a constructive outlet for all that energy. I suspect that most of the time, I simply need some corner of the universe where I actually can create order, since the Work In Progress has temporary abdicated that role.

As it usually happens, just when I’ve got my sleeves rolled up, literally or metaphorically, the creative logjam un-jams itself and then I’m presented with a dilemma—do I drop what I’m doing and rush off to the computer (or at least a notepad and pen)? Or do I finish the d@#$%^ed task while I have some momentum? There’s no right answer. I do different things at different times. Most of the time, I can’t tell if the idea that hits me is The Exactly Right Idea or if it’s only an opening sally and if I stay with what I’m doing (vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms, sweeping the endless piles of oak leaves and acorns, weeding the garden, whatever) that More Will Be Revealed.

I used to believe quite fervently that there were such things as The Exactly Right Idea or The Ultimate Best Piece of Prose. I don’t anymore. I’ve had too many instances where I haven’t written down that idea or have lost that piece of writing (usually through my own idiocy in not backing things up properly/promptly, but from other causes as well), raged and stormed and grieved, and then came up with something even better. Whatever it was to begin with was only a draft, a preliminary to the main event. So in that sense, it doesn’t matter what I do when I feel stuck and how long I do it for. The important thing is that it be an activity that gets my mind working in a different way, preferably one that does not demand all my mental faculties. Working on taxes won’t do it, but washing dishes will.

This reminds me of how I used to write when my children were small. I’d use scraps of time, odds and ends, like the dishwashing I mentioned above, or the brief time before I fell asleep, to “pre-write” the next scene so that it would be so vivid in my mind that when I actually got 10 or 15 minutes to sit down at the typewriter (this was before I had a computer), I’d be primed to write like mad. I used to joke that I couldn’t afford writer’s block, I had so little time. Now I understand that I was using this same “un-sticking” technique before I was actually stuck.
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Average rating: 3.89 · 8,536 ratings · 464 reviews · 67 distinct works · Similar authors
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More books by Deborah J. Ross…
My editorial career began a decade ago when Vera Nazarian, having founded Norilana Books (in 2006) asked me if I'd ever considered editing. Like many other writers, I often wondered what it was like "on the other side of the desk," both in terms of the choice of stories and their evolution into final form. I have had the honor to work with many fine editors; I knew just how helpful a sympathet... Read more of this blog post »
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My editorial career began a decade ago when Vera Nazarian, having founded Norilana Books (in 2006) asked me if I'd ever considered editing. Like ma... Read more of this blog post »
Deborah Ross made a comment on BayCon 2017 Report
" I used to attend LosCon when I lived in LA (over Thanksgiving weekend) and also ConDor down in San Diego. Both are wonderful small regional convention ...more "
" Alas, that is often true. I think gofers and other volunteers get either free or reduced memberships, but then there's the hotel and hotel food. Adds ...more "
Deborah Ross rated a book it was amazing
Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
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Juliet Marillier is a marvel; she makes deep, complex, compelling stories read in an effortless fashion. And it doesn’t matter where in a series you pick up a book; they all read as if they are stand-alone novels, with the story being part of a large ...more
Deborah Ross rated a book really liked it
The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni
The 7th Canon
by Robert Dugoni (Goodreads Author)
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The Seventh Canon of the title refers to a principle in the practice of law: that an attorney shall do his utmost to represent the best interests of his clients. In this case, that leads to attorney Peter Donley becoming a detective to solve the murd ...more
Deborah Ross rated a book liked it
Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis
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Game of Shadows begins brilliantly. Ethan, a sympathetic adolescent hero who can see ghosts, stands up to a school bully. It’s the first time he’s escaped from his mother’s close supervision, something he’s struggled against for as long as he can rem ...more
Deborah Ross made a comment on Tuesday Cat Blog
" Gayatri extends her grateful thanks for your understanding. "
" I hope to have more Evey Brett stories in future anthologies. With or without white horses! "
More of Deborah's books…
“Everything that she valued had come to her through change, and through change she would one day lose everything. All except honor.”
Deborah J. Ross, Shannivar

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
Edward Abbey, The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West

5530 Book View Cafe — 35 members — last activity Jul 12, 2016 01:39PM
A place to discuss and share information about books written by the authors at Book View Cafe, which opened September 2008. The co-op contains writers ...more
202096 The Signed Page — 227 members — last activity Jun 13, 2017 04:51PM
The Signed Page is an online bookseller established in 2001 that has helped people all over the world acquire signed sci-fi/fantasy books at an afford ...more
152257 Escape Club YA Bookclub — 198 members — last activity Nov 14, 2016 03:53AM
Australian author Marianne de Pierres started this young adult book club in 2012 at www.burnbright.com.au. We've only just moved to GoodReads. Join Kr ...more



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