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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.


Posted by Donna Levin on December 18, 2014 | Read More & Add Comments >>

        Help me.  Please, please help me.

        You: the pedestrian.  Me: the driver of a modest automobile.

        I don’t want to hurt you.  Partly because I’m a nice person, but mostly because I’m a selfish one.

        If I hurt you, you will sue me.

        If I hurt you badly, or G-d forbid kill you, I will never forgive myself.

        It is not easy driving in the city, in the dark, in the rain.  A surprising number of intersections remain unlit, even in high-density neighborhoods.

        After a couple of close calls with pedestrians approaching from my left, I trained myself to look in that direction, only to find Satan’s own hoard approaching from the right.

        And so, several times this rainy autumn I have rolled past outraged – outraged! – pedestrians, waving furious arms at me.  They are dressed entirely in black.  Sometimes I wonder if they’re angry that I missed them.

        Your anger at me isn’t fair.  A car is not human, but a driver is.  My eyes have a range of approximately 180 degrees, but they stick together, those eyes, and they can’t cover that entire width simultaneously.

        She who is a pedestrian today may be a driver tomorrow.  And tomorrow I will be the pedestrian.

        I’ll look out for you if you look out for me.

The Last Endangered Species

Posted by Donna Levin on April 12, 2014 | Read More & Add Comments >>

George Orwell, in 1984 (one of my favorite books, and I’ll leave you to wonder what that says about moi), predicted many horrors that have come to pass: government spying, “enhanced interrogation,” and strangling political correctness.  The prediction that hasn’t come true – yet – is factory-produced fiction (Winston Smith’s lover, Julia, repairs “the novel-writing machines”).  But when I saw how the auto-correct capability on my iPhone changed “cyxt” to “Hi there,” I realized that this final abomination cannot be far away.

The Latest & Greatest but still Fit to Print (NEWS)

Posted by Donna Levin on March 05, 2014 | Read More & Add Comments >>

No musings here, just updates: First, we are still filling the class at Rocketspace, the San Francisco tech incubator.  We'll meet Saturday mornings from 10am-1pm.  Our focus is capturing the experience of the emerging tech culture, which actually isn't the sign of the Apocalypse some fear.

Second: My new Novel Writing Workshop at UC Extension starts March 17th and some spaces remain.  I hate to brag, so I won't.  Let's just say you'll thank me later.

Finally, for now: I'll be part of the staff of long weekend writing retreat at Pema Osel Ling.  The place is beautiful, but not too rustic for a city girl such as I, or they'd never get me down there.  It's a time to reconnect with a project, or begin the one you've put off for too long.  (Did I mention that it's women only?)  Contact Elizabeth Pomada for more information.  Or...

For more information on any or all of the above, contact me directly at

Finishing Your Novel for Fun and Profit

Posted by Donna Levin on February 12, 2014 | Read More & Add Comments >>

 What follows is the handout for my break-out session at the 2014 San Francisco Writers' Conference


The Fiction Inside You

Posted by Donna Levin on January 28, 2014 | Read More & Add Comments >>

          I have the privilege of facilitating a fiction workshop at Rocket-Space starting Feb. 22 nd.  We’ll meet Saturday mornings from 10am-noon for six weeks.

          Somebody – possibly Henry James, although I confess I can’t get the Internet to confirm it for me – once said that most people have a novel in them, and for most of them that’s where it should stay.  (Henry James was kind of a jerk.  I find him nearly unreadable – and I’ve read Moby Dick. Honest, I have.)

          If you had good English teachers, they inspired you to express yourself in your own way.  If you had less-than-good English teachers, they tried to get you to write the way dead white men did.  I have nothing against dead white men; you miss a lot of Western culture if you don’t read a few of them.

          I believe in writing what is in you to write, and that in today’s world there’s not only no reason, but no excuse, for it to stay there.  With cheap self-publishing and blogging for the mere price of a domain name, you can leave you digital thumb print on the world.

          So if you have any interest in e-mail me at and we can discuss it further.

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