The Necessity of 'Willful Blindness' in Writing
theatlantic.com – Wednesday February 14, 2018
There’s nothing conventional about Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot’s debut. A little over 100 pages, it’s far short of the 80,000 words most memoirs need to be deemed viable. There’s barely any exposition: Major characters enter the narrative intimately and without fanfare, almost as though we know them already. A crucial scene might be just three lines of unsparing poetry. In short, the book does everything it technically shouldn’t, brushing off the familiar regimen prescribed by MFA programs, and slipping the strictures of commercial publishing. The thrilling part is, it works. Heart Berries is a reminder that, in the right hands, literature can do anything it wants.
8 Short Story Writing Tips from a Dean of Creative Writing
snhu.edu – Tuesday February 13, 2018
I love stories. It's safe to assume that applies to all fiction writers. Novels allow us to weave complex narratives that evoke authentic worlds and intriguing characters. The benefit of a novel is that it gives a writer the time and space to build a fictional, yet believable, world. It can also be argued that it gives writers too much time and space.
Short stories can also contain rich settings and compelling characters, but they force efficiency upon a writer. While this might seem frightening at first, I find that the confines of a short story often boil the work down to its most important, and compelling, parts.
So, where do you start? There is no magic formula, and each writer follows his or her own unique process, but I hold to eight general guidelines when sitting down to draft a short story.
John McPhee's writing advice, why you should go to a writing workshop and David Bowie's reading list
abc.net.au – Tuesday February 6, 2018
We sit down for a writing class with Pulitzer Prize winner and acclaimed non-fiction author John McPhee.
The New Yorker writer is best-known for his meticulously-researched and wonderfully evocative pieces about everything from conservation, to basketball, to one book all about oranges!
His latest book, Draft No. 4, details his writing process – including the strange maps and one-of-a-kind computer system that are integral to his process.
Romance fiction authors reveal their secrets to writing about love and sex
perthnow.com.au – Saturday February 3, 2018
THE age of the alpha hole — the brooding, brutish alpha male that would set hearts aflutter in the bodice-rippers of yore — is over. The nice guys have won.
These days, the men steaming up the pages of romantic fiction are single dads, emotionally vulnerable Regency lords and bikies yearning to swap guns for groceries.
The Many Joys of a Writing Workshop
nextavenue.org – Thursday February 1, 2018
For two years, I had the pleasure of guiding a writing workshop that involved women ranging in age from their 40s to their 70s. Only one of these women was a professional writer, and only a few aspired to seeing a piece through to publication. Yet all of them were devoted to the weekly workshop, which had existed for several years before they invited me to take the helm.
Dear younger writer self, can I give you some advice?
irishtimes.com – Thursday January 25, 2018
Joan Brady on taking the scenic route to write her novel, missing her deadline to go from journalist to author by a mere 20 years.
I often reward writing a thousand words with a latte and eight jammie dodgers
irishtimes.com – Wednesday January 24, 2018
Louise Beech: Writing without a deal, agent or audience means you can be the most honest you’ll probably ever be
Adversity is a great place for inspiration. It lends a sort of desperation, a need to create and make something good when the world seems against us. It’s not a great place to permanently live, but without experiencing it for at least a good period of time we don’t grow, survive, or scream to be heard. During adversity, we write hungry. I mean this in a spiritual way, not literally, though it can help to be physically hungry too. I often reward writing a thousand words with a latte and eight Jammie Dodgers.
Award-Winning Author Judy Blume Shares 6 Inspiring Tips From 50 Years of Writing (and 85 Million Books Sold)
inc.com – Sunday January 21, 2018
When I was a kid I loved to read Judy Blume books: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber, Deenie, Freckle Juice, Superfudge. They addressed themes and issues other books I was reading at the time didn't cover. Her stories spoke directly to me, as if she could see right into my curious, hyper-sensitive, insecure pre-teen head.
How to Keep Writing When Every Day Is a Blow to the Gut
huffingtonpost.com – Monday January 15, 2018
Most writers I know have put themselves on a news diet, but even if you’ve done that it’s impossible to escape the bad news altogether—nor do most of us want to be completely checked out. The s**tstorm we’re contending with in our country—#MeToo, our erratic weather, nuclear threats, a Twitter presidency—is leaving most of us feeling anxious at best. Few writers I know are able to wield their anxiety into well-crafted scenes. Most are distracted (for good reason!) and yet the new year is supposed to be about new beginnings, right?
Five Rules for Writers
nationalreview.com – Saturday January 13, 2018
As a professional writer, I’m always trying to improve. I’ve studied the work of the top writers. I’ve debated great opening sentences with colleagues. I’ve thought long and hard about things like serial commas, concluding that they are good and necessary (don’t @ me).
These days, I’m not only a professional writer, but also a teacher of writing: I run the journalism program at Hillsdale College. The best way to learn how to write is to write, because experience offers the soundest instruction. Yet my students and I also consult sources such as The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, whose best advice has become a famous dictum: “Omit needless words.”