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I'm a San Francisco author and writing teacher here to provide resources for writers of any level of experience. I am the author of the novels Extraordinary Means (William Morrow) and California Street (Simon & Schuster), as well as two books on writing: Get that Novel Started and Get that Novel Written, both published by Writer's Digest Books. Visit often for updates about newly released books and trends in publishing. Send me a message--and be sure to read and add your comments on my new blog, below.

Take the ME out of "Me"moir

Posted by Donna Levin on June 09, 2015 | Read More & Add Comments >>

            According to Wikipedia, the lazy researcher’s friend, the first known memoir is Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bellico Gallico,( Commentaries on the Gallic Wars,in case your Latin is rusty), his account of “the nine years that he spent fighting local armies in the Gallic Wars.”

            Fast forward about two thousand years.  An Irishman writes a little book called Angela’s Ashes. It’s a triumph both of writing and storytelling and fortunately—because too often this is not the case—it gets the attention it deserves. 

How to Write a Novel in 30 Days (or a Lot More)

Posted by Donna Levin on May 26, 2015 | Read More & Add Comments >>
     The main reason I have never signed up for National Novel Writing Month is that I’m not a joiner.  I don’t like to be identified with a group, unless it’s a very large, amorphous one.  So: I am a writer, yes, and Jewish, bien sur,and I definitely enjoy being a girl, sorry, woman.  That’s pretty much it for me.

Full Inclusion: Twenty Years in the Making

Posted by Donna Levin on May 01, 2015 | Read More & Add Comments >>

         This piece first appeared as a guest blog in Laura Shumaker's column at on April 15, 2015.

          In the fall of 1995, my son Will started kindergarten at Claire Lilienthal Alternative K-8 here in San Francisco.  It was only the second year of their full-inclusion program and there were only a handful of students so included. 

          Will was first diagnosed as PDD-NOS, but by then, just around the time of his sixth birthday, he had grown into the more readily identifiable symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome: echolalia, perseverative scripting, and a preoccupation with certain narrow interests.  (Actually one: Power Rangers.)

Role Models I Don't Want to Emulate

Posted by Donna Levin on April 15, 2015 | Read More & Add Comments >>

            There are many stories of writers overcoming great obstacles in order to find the time, the place ad even the raw material to write. 

            The French poet, playwright and novelist Jean Genet did time in a French prison (because he was French, and also because he stole, and did a couple of other things that would be indelicate to mention here).  The inmates were put to work making paper bags and Genet stole, no, let’s say he liberated, some of the paper to write on.   He worked on his first novel Our Lady of the Flowers,hiding the pages under his mattress, until a guard tossed his cell and threw the manuscript away.

            He started again.

The Deadline Dilemma

Posted by Donna Levin on March 04, 2015 | Read More & Add Comments >>

            I can sit at my laptop for three hours and have virtually nothing to show for it besides a wastebasket full of Geotze’s caramel wrappers.   

            Then my husband calls and says he’ll be home in an hour but can I please pick up his laundry before they close, because otherwise he won’t have a clean shirt for tomorrow.

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