Who Is Your WRITING Heroine?
Written by
She Writes Fridays
September 2010
Written by
She Writes Fridays
September 2010
Deborah Siegel reveals her writing heroine--and asks you to share yours. In anticipation and celebration of the Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Heroines panel She Writes will be co-hosting with author Teri Coyne on September 30 at Women and Children First bookstore in Chicago, I offer a fresh take on an old meme that fell dead in the water when I attempted it last spring. This time, I invite you to share your writing heroine with me. Who inspires you to get butt in chair? Who keeps you going when life seems to be working against your heartfelt intention to write? Your writing heroine can be dead or living, fictional or real. Mine visited me yesterday morning for a quick stroll in the park with my babes. Her name is Daphne Uviller. She’s a novelist, a SW Advisory Board member, and the creator of the 864-member strong Fiction Writers group here on the site. And she’s my writing heroine. Here’s why: Daphne is the mother of two young kids. She and I co-edited what became both of our first book. Since then, she’s made room in her busy life for two new novels. And yesterday, as we walked and talked about our lives, she shared the glimmer of an idea for her third (novel, not child). But she’s not my writing heroine because she’s prolific. I know a lot of prolific people (the subways alone here in NYC are filled with them). She’s my writing heroine because she’s committed. I’ve watched her fill notebooks and create systems over the years. Writing consistently gets her up in the morning and out the door. And so as I recommit to a little bit of writing this fall, I call upon Daphne’s muse. Tell me SWers, who is YOUR writing heroine? Share a bit about her in comments. And perhaps even dedicate your pages to her today. And of course, if in Chicago next week, join me for a panel discussion with five other SWers -- The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry author Audrey Niffenegger, Amina Gautier, Zoe Zolbrod, Emily Gray Tedrowe, and co-host extraordinaire Teri Coyne. It's FREE! RSVP here.

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  • Karen Scott

    Today...I think my writing heroines are the women I've written with in writer's groups. The Quills and, more recently, the NoveLists -- who provided not only safe environments in which to play with words without the worry of being judged, but also provided support in the form of coffee (always!), hugs (often!), and chocolate (well...lots of the time!).
    As for a woman author who has recently inspired me -- I'd name Melina Marchetta, author of the amazingly realistic and truthful Jellicoe Road. Her dialog is so real it feels like I'm easvesdropping...and her characters make me want to hang out under the huge oak trees in the quad between brick campus buildings and just be with them. Not to mention the mother-drama. Really good stuff.

  • Pam Parker

    Judy Bridges
    She founded RedBird Studios in Milwaukee and inspired me and bazillions of other writers with her fabulous, "Shut Up and Write" course. Her book with the same title will be out in November so she will spread her wisdom even farther. She is encouraging, supportive and has positively influenced and motivated so many of us to show up to the pages and keep at it.

  • Melanie Sweeney

    Carole Maso.
    She is not afraid to break the rules of narrative, and she is the only writer I've read who authentically captures the specific details of loneliness and loss. Her book AVA was the first I read, and now I'm studying all her works by choice because it changed my life as a person and as a writer. She's criminally unknown in most circles, but her broken narrative form and lyricism are more skillfully crafted than any other writer I know of. Her first book, Ghost Dance, is a good start for anyone who shies from the experimental, but AVA is a masterpiece that asks you to FEEL your way through rather than simply read. It is life-changing.

  • Nina Weber

    Kelley Armstrong.
    For her strong heroines. Her wit in writing. Her style. Not flinching from taking her stories into uncomfortable territories. For being Canadian (like many Germans, I dream of moving there).
    And for being a mom who writes. :)

  • Teri Coyne

    Masha Hamilton is my writing heroine. As a teacher she opened me up to new ways of seeing my writing and helped me enjoy editing and get excited about the process. As a writer, Masha's work embodies the lives and hearts of amazing women who struggle to make their place in a world that often overlooks them. As a woman and journalist, Masha fights for the rights of all women, an most notably Afghan Women to have a voice and to tell their stories. To put it bluntly...she rocks.

  • Tania Pryputniewicz

    Fun, Deborah--Joyce Renwick, author of In Praise of What Persists (short stories), without a doubt; I lived in her basement when I first graduated with my MFA—I was young, clueless, depressed, but she took me in and—without calling it that--mentored me. Along with two other women, we formed a support group, meeting to talk about how to materialize our goals. Joyce pulled books off her shelf for me for the classes I was trying to teach, helped me redefine success as a writer (writing! can be enough!), and she let me interview her. We taped her interview, unaware that we’d lose her to a car accident that summer. The interview’s parked here, about her life as a writer, and how she worked her way through grad school as a nurse: http://www.gargoylemagazine.com/books/paycock/renwickinterview.htm

  • Elen Ghulam

    Carol Shields

  • Daphne Uviller

    Well, of course, I knew Friday was Deborah's day to post and so I came to read and lo, what a surprise and gift. Thank you. Wiping away tears of gratitude. Especially amazing to read on a day when I'm having a lot of trouble getting rolling. Right back at you.

  • Patricia A. McGoldrick

    How fortunate that you have been able to visit and speak with your writing heroine!

    Ironically, I just wrote a bit of a blog tribute yesterday to someone who made a great difference to me--Canadian author, Margaret Laurence. She struggled against a lot of issues in her life, sometimes drove people away, but she did have a knack of putting words and stories together. She inspired me, especially, when my two children were young and I wasn't sure if I could fit writing into my life!

  • Kevin Camp

    So many. I suppose it depends on my mood of the moment. The poet Catherine Davis comes to mind first.