“We need to have a talk,” I told my husband soon after I found out I was pregnant. I could immediately see the panic in his eyes.

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Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

“About…?” he asked.

“Depression. I need you to be aware of the signs.”

He looked at me as if I’d been telling him what to do in case I spontaneously combusted. And I know why he was surprised that this was a concern of mine — I’m generally a happy, optimistic person. I’d never shown any signs of depression before. …


It really is that simple, and there’s no other way to say it. You either don’t know the danger or don’t care about the potential of hurting others.

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Handy table made by the author, using Canva & free stock images

With the exception of people suffering from serious diseases who have spoken to their physician about options and are likely being advised to isolate for their own protection, every single argument you can possibly have against wearing a mask in public comes down to one of these two simple answers: you’re either ignorant or cruel…and at a certain point, willful ignorance is no different from cruelty.

Ignorance by itself is not that bad — as long as you’re willing to remedy it — despite most people’s knee-jerk reaction to the word. But to move past ignorance, one must be open to education, knowledge, and facts. Cruelty, on the other hand, is bad — and as author Lauren Morrill once said, “I don’t know how to explain to you why you should care about other people.” …


All it took was a global pandemic to shift my perspective on powdered coffee.

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Photo by Robert Shunev on Unsplash

My journey with coffee began, like many people’s, at Starbucks. In college, I tried one of those frothy, sugary drinks, loved it, and started carving out space in my morning for a daily latte. Soon, between the bloated calories and the bloated price tag, I started making my own coffee at home. I acquired a taste for the real stuff, not the syrups designed to mask the actual coffee beans, and went from an old hand-me-down percolator (that I wish I still had!) …


How I learned to love the books I actually love.

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Photo by Aung Soe Min on Unsplash

Born in October, there was a debate when I was four on whether I should start kindergarten early, or wait it out and start when I was five. I would either be the youngest kid in the class or the oldest. My parents decided to let me try school early, figuring that I could always just repeat kindergarten if needed.

I thrived in school. I was an early lover of books, which meant I was an early reader, which meant that teachers assumed I was intelligent. I was placed in academically gifted programs in elementary school, early high school programs in middle school, and AP programs in high school. When I was old enough to understand my family’s finances — and that I would not get to go to college if I couldn’t pay for it myself — I became even more studious, throwing myself into academics as a way to save myself from small town life and escape on the wings of a scholarship. …


I’m in awe of just how bad this book was — but at least I got something out of it.

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Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash

Before you read any further, let me assure you: I will not be naming what the book is. It’s probably not the one you’re thinking of. No, not that one, either. I’m not going to drag this book through the mud because while I, personally, really didn’t like this book, I also know that others do like it, and I don’t want to dim their shine or discourage anyone from reading.

That said, oof, I hated this book. It was a book club pick, though, and I started the book club (although didn’t select the book), so I wanted to make sure I read it all the way through. And as a result, I really started to examine just what made me cringe so hard at it. …


If you want to write a novel or short story, you need these six things.

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Photo by Jade Stephens on Unsplash

I often think about a passage in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. In it, the main character, Meg, is being given a lesson about life and poetry. Meg is reminded that a sonnet has a very strict structure, but the poet can write anything within that structure.

“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.”

— Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

This particular passage has stuck with me since I first read the book as a kid, crouched under the stairs of the local public library, where I found all my favorite stories. There are all kinds of boxes in life, but how we fill the box is up to us. …


Feedback from others helps improve your work — if you do it right.

A worn down red pencil over top a scribbled “x” mark
A worn down red pencil over top a scribbled “x” mark
Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

I had a long (long, long) road to a successful career in publishing. The first novel I wrote was dashed off to agents after nothing more than a spell check and a quick read-through.

Such an amateur mistake.

After that book was soundly rejected by every agent in my genre, I quickly realized that one of the greatest resources available to writers and artists is peer critique. …


What to do when the work before writing seems insurmountable.

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Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

I’m no stranger to research. In fact…I kind of love it. After all, unlike many school assignments, research for your novel tends to be research on something that you actually are deeply interested in.

But it can certainly be intimidating. When I first started writing Across the Universe, my debut novel, I felt grossly inadequate. What right did I have to write a science fiction novel? I’d hated science in school! …


It has nothing to do with how or even why they were successful…

A person with short, dark hair in front of dual monitors
A person with short, dark hair in front of dual monitors
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

When I first started as a writer, my only goal was publication. I knew exactly what I wanted, and it was a book deal with a major NYC publisher. It didn’t occur to me that there were other levels of success. That some book deals were better than others; some come with marketing plans, some came with movie deals, some actually had movies get made.

The longer I was in the business, the more goals I had to set my eyes on. I achieved my initial goal of a major book deal at a major house, but that meant my goal posts shifted. And, as with all fields in the arts, one of the ways I defined success quickly came to mean (a) steady work and (b) steady pay. I love traditional publishing, but I wanted to explore more options, so I researched self publishing on the side. I threw myself into learning about all sides of publishing, believing that diversity was the key to longevity in my career. …


As I enter my fourth month of lockdown during the global pandemic, I find that what I miss the most right now…are stray cats.

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Credit: Author, on a trip to Malta, from a physical photo album, back when those were a thing.

I was a somewhat unusual child. Even as a kid, I was enamored of Europe, stemming, probably, from my fascination with fairytales and Disney, but that quickly grew into a love of real history, architecture, art, and my own genealogy. When my speech class in high school had to give a presentation on something we were passionate about, most of the kids spoke on musicians or movies; I did a detailed presentation on the wives of Henry VIII. …

About

Beth Revis

Beth is the NY Times bestselling author of multiple fantasy and science fiction novels for teens. You can find her at bethrevis.com or wordsmithworkshops.com

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