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Monica M. Clark: Author, Bbp Participant
Member since August 13, 2013

Monica is a lawyer trying to knock out her first novel. She lives in D.C. but is still a New Yorker. You can follow her on her blog or on Twitter (@monicamclark).

Website: http://www.illegalwriting.com

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Stumped for Story Ideas? Try This One Tip
by Monica M. Clark in Stumped for Story Ideas? Try This One Tip
10:21 am on March 19, 2018

In a recent episode of Jane the Virgin, the main character, Jane, is stumped for story ideas. She already published one book, but that was inspired by her dramatic telenovela-like life. She’s convinced that she has no other story to tell.

When she shares her dilemma with her fellow writing-class students, they assure her that what she described is not a problem at all. Why?

How to Write a Good Villain: 4 Dangerous Tips From Black Panther
by Monica M. Clark in How to Write a Good Villain: 4 Dangerous Tips From Black Panther
11:12 am on March 5, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, I saw the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther. I’m not a big superhero movie person, but I hear that that they generally involve a hero who saves the world. So imagine my surprise when I left the theater still thinking about Erik Killmonger — the villain.

I was sad for the villain. I was moved by the villain. I wasn’t rooting for him, but could understand why someone might want to. It got me thinking — what made Killmonger such a good villain, and how can that be translated to writing?

President’s Day Writing Prompts
by Monica M. Clark in President’s Day Writing Prompts
10:46 am on February 19, 2018

It’s President’s Day! I have the day off and will be celebrating by going to brunch and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which has the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. I am also celebrating by drafting some President’s Day-inspired writing prompts.

2 Good Reasons to Break Writing Rules
by Monica M. Clark in 2 Good Reasons to Break Writing Rules
10:31 am on February 5, 2018

I have a friend who is both a writer and a visual artist. One day she entered a painting contest and won third place! All of the award-winning entries were put on display. And then, during the exhibition, she overheard some people talking about her piece, unaware that she was the artist.

They said she hadn’t followed all the rules.

And I’d argue that’s actually a good thing, because sometimes, rules are made to be broken.

The Writer’s Studio: 3 Artistic Truths Writers Can Find in a Miami Museum
by Monica M. Clark in The Writer’s Studio: 3 Artistic Truths Writers Can Find in a Miami Museum
11:40 am on January 8, 2018

Recently I visited a free exhibition in Miami called “The Everywhere Studio,” which is on display at the brand new Institute of Contemporary Art. During my visit, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own writer’s journey, The Write Practice, and all of you. Here’s why.

Writer Gifts: 12 Creative Ways Writers Can Give This Holiday Season
by Monica M. Clark in Writer Gifts: 12 Creative Ways Writers Can Give This Holiday Season
11:05 am on December 11, 2017

It’s the holidays, and that means we’re in the spirit of giving. For some, that means gifts for family members. For others, the holidays inspires them to serve their communities. Either way, giving is a great way to raise not just the receiver’s spirits, but your own (check out the documentary Happy). And as a writer, you have the skills to give writer gifts that will be uniquely special to the receivers.

Whether you’re caught up in the holiday spirit or in a writing slump, using your unique skills to offer writer gifts that benefit others is just what you need.

How to Finish a Novel in Three Days
by Monica M. Clark in How to Finish a Novel in Three Days
10:34 am on November 27, 2017

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) ends on Thursday. That means you have to figure out how to finish a novel . . . in three days.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first—you might not make it.

The good news is that it’s not impossible. With the right strategy and enough determination, you can finish writing your book and win NaNoWriMo.

3 Brilliant Writing Tips I Learned From a Genius
by Monica M. Clark in 3 Brilliant Writing Tips I Learned From a Genius
10:39 am on October 30, 2017

Currently I’m reading a collection of essays by the National Book Award winner and genius grant recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates. Many people view Coates, a writer for The Atlantic, as political, but I’ve heard him speak, and he repeatedly emphasizes that he is a writer above all else. He is an observer and he shares his observations with the world, and we can draw valuable writing tips from his work.

Coates’s book We Were Eight Years in Power consists of articles he wrote during the Obama years, each of which are preceded by Coates’s retrospective reflections on those essays. As a fellow writer, I was enthralled by those reflections. Here was an anointed “genius” expressing his doubts and self-critiques. There’s something fascinating about watching a successful writer still cringe at the very works that gave him that success.

Given all that, I had to share some of my takeaways, writing tips drawn from Coates’s self-reflections.

5 Writing Tips from Colson Whitehead
by Monica M. Clark in 5 Writing Tips from Colson Whitehead
10:00 am on October 16, 2017

A couple weeks ago, I attended an author talk with Colson Whitehead at Politics & Prose in D.C.

The author has been writing novels for 18 years, but recently he’s been getting a lot of attention because his new book, The Underground Railroad, was inducted into Oprah’s coveted Book Club. The book is about the escape from slavery to freedom in the antebellum south, but it also has fantastical elements—a literal underground railroad that exposes the protagonist to different worlds at each station.

Here are five tips I gleaned from his talk.