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10 top tips for teaching creative writing

tes.com – Thursday December 12, 2019

Teaching creative writing is one of my favourite things. I love the imaginative and weird ideas pupils come up with. But it’s hard, no doubt about that, and students can struggle to trust their creativity.

Teaching creative writing

So, here are my 10 tips for creative essays:

1. Get story ideas from the world around you

Read the paper to see what weird things are going on. Listen to strangers’ conversations and steal them. If you love history, write historical fiction. If you love science, write about the moon. Make it your own.

2. There are no rules here

Creative writing is personal and individual. Nobody should tell anybody what they can or can’t do. Having said that, the following suggestions are tried and tested. They will give most stories a bit of a boost.

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Vicarious travels: On the travel writing genre

mancunion.com – Saturday December 7, 2019

Upon arriving at Waterstones there is one section we tend to flock to: fiction. We crave the idea of losing ourselves in others’ stories, travelling into our imagination. Whilst I’m an aficionado for the fictional, in recent months I’ve come across a new genre that allows us to explore the amazing and varied world we live in and follow the stories of real people’s adventures and experiences, of people’s subjective and varying experiences when travelling across the globe.

I’m now a strong advocate for the modern travel genre, and have a few recommendations for reading over the winter break.

Travel writing encompasses so many styles and sub-genres – the common characteristic is simply to give a new perspective on life, through stories of new places and cultures. It isn’t simply recommendations of where to go and what to see, like promotional travel magazines, but rather tales of real people going out and seeing the world.

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Point of View Quickly Brings a Story to Life

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Wednesday December 4, 2019

Intimacy with characters will hook your readers

A close point of view, whether first person or third, will supply the inner meaning to a story. Such an intimate point of view brings to any piece of fiction insight, warmth, understandable human foibles, and an empathetic reader attraction to the character. This “limited” point of view facilitates a direct transmission of emotion. Without such a specific character perspective, all the readers have to enlighten them is outer description—although externals can, of course, go a long way to pointing to feeling and shoring up emotional declarations.

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Why are great women writers still adopting male pseudonyms?

stylist.co.uk – Friday November 22, 2019

There are some interesting things you may or may not know about Nuneaton-born writer, George Eliot. In 2015, her landmark book, Middlemarch (1872), topped a BBC poll of the 100 greatest British novels and it’s been cited as one of the finest works ever written by such diverse writers as Virginia Woolf and Martin Amis. 

But as well as her literary prowess, Eliot was also steeped in scandal. First she was ostracised by polite society for living openly with a married man, George Lewes. And then, after his death, her reputation took a further tumble when she married a man 20 years her junior only for him to attempt suicide on their honeymoon balcony in Venice.

To put it succinctly, the woman born Mary Ann or Marian Evans in 1819 is one of Britain’s greatest writers, having also written the stone-cold classics Adam Bede (1859), The Mill On The Floss (1860) and Silas Marner (1861) to name just a few. Yet Eliot remains something of an enigma.

In part, it’s thanks to her image as a slightly dour Victorian writer (her novels fell out of favour in the early 20th century only to be reappraised in the 1950s), but also, and more importantly, because of her male pen name. But just why did she feel the need to write under this false identity?

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How do you write a novel? A draft in time saves nine

irishtimes.com – Thursday November 14, 2019

I’m often asked about the best way to write a novel’s first draft, and thank God for that, for otherwise I’d have no social life at all.

For some reason it generally seems to happen when I discover myself at the bottom of Dawson Street around lunchtime, waiting to cross over to the Trinity side.

“I say, Mr Burke!” bawls some aspiring scribe who, having recently perambulated around from College Green, has mistaken me for that prime hunk of literary boulevardier, Edmund Burke. “How does one go about writing a novel-length story?”

“Well,” I bawl back, which usually precipitates something of a conversational longueur, it being my accoster’s expectation that I have deployed same as a precursor to embarking on lengthy disquisition, whereas my advice in the matter of writing novel-length stories is as brief as it is simple, ie, that if they must be written at all, then they really ought to be written well.

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Five Things To Keep in Mind When Writing A Fantasy Series

winteriscoming.net – Wednesday November 13, 2019

Writing a fantasy series can feel a lot like going on a really long road trip. No matter how prepared you think you are, you’re probably still going to get lost a zillion times and realize that you didn’t pack half the things you need. But none of that will matter because you’ll have all kinds of adventures along the journey!

Or … your characters will at least.

As the author? You’re mostly going to consume a lot of caffeine.

I’ll be honest: I had no idea how to write a book when I first got the idea for Keeper of the Lost Cities. And I knew right away that the story would need to be told throughout the course of a series, so it felt extra daunting. I tried studying the craft of writing, but it was all a bit too abstract to be useful for me. What helped me so much more was devouring as many fantasy series as I could get my hands on—which brings me to the first thing to keep in mind if you’re writing a fantasy series.

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When rejection isn’t failure

dailyprincetonian.com – Thursday November 7, 2019

This year, I had only one New Year’s resolution: to receive a rejection letter from a literary agent. This wasn’t because I didn’t want to succeed. It was because rejection isn’t the opposite of success, but a necessary step on the road to accomplishment.

Rejection sucks. It’s inevitable, but still — it sucks. This problem is especially prevalent here at Princeton, where students who were their high school’s star athlete or lead actor or first chair find themselves suddenly surrounded by people who are, let’s face it, more talented than them. So often, Princeton students will go through audition after interview after application and face rejection after rejection after rejection. I’ve certainly had my fair share here, and I won’t pretend that it didn’t shatter my self-esteem a little.

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Agents Do Drop You

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Monday November 4, 2019

When they stop communicating with you, you know you’re toast.

So should you negotiate without an agent?

Writers are often eager to have time-limited contracts with their agents—as well they might be (you want to get out when you’re ready to go)—but some agents have time-limited contracts for their own protection. One popular authors’ representative gives a contract for a six-month period and says if he can’t sell your book within that time, you’re free to go.

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Thought poetry was dead? The 'Instapoets' raking it in online would beg to differ

theage.com.au – Saturday November 2, 2019

Paterson, Poe, Plath – would they have resisted plugging their work on Instagram? Meet the Millennials sending their pop verse viral – and generating sales that prove poetry’s demise has been exaggerated.

Standing on a Persian carpet before a crowd in Bankstown in Sydney’s west, swaying to the rhythm of her own words, Canadian performance poet Rupi Kaur recited Broken English. It’s a poem about the shame she once felt over her Sikh mother’s inability to speak the language. The 300 mainly immigrant Australian women at this, the Bankstown Poetry Slam, were mesmerised. Borrowing from the 1950s beatnik poetry tradition, the audience snapped their fingers in appreciation, then hollered and cheered as Kaur’s performance came to a close. “You can go on forever,” someone from the floor proclaimed, transfixed as much by the cadence of Kaur’s voice as by her verse.

It was May 2017, and the then 25-year-old Canadian dubbed the “queen of the Instapoets” and the “Oprah of her generation” was in town as a keynote speaker at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Accompanying her on the visit was her publisher Kirsty Melville, whose American company is credited with a global revival of interest in poetry through the publication of books by young women like Kaur, now 27, who have both a way with words and a big social media presence. In Kaur’s case that means 3.8 million Instagram followers, who feast on a feed that alternates between selfies and sparse but digestible poetry.

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Tyler Hayes Guest Post–"Rescued From the Trunk"

locusmag.com – Thursday October 31, 2019

The week before I got an offer on my debut novel, I made the decision to give up on it.

The Imaginary Corpse was a labor of love: a noir-flavored fantasy cobbled together from childhood memories, my experiences in therapy, and a million literary and ludological ancestors. Writing it felt right in a way that no other manuscript had before. I built this world in a matter of hours, the outline in a matter of days. Rarely did I have to stop and think during the drafting process (editing, of course, was another story). It’s the book of my heart. Writing it required years of working on myself, finding my real voice under all the received wisdom about writing, and trying very, very hard not to be afraid.

I also couldn’t seem to sell it for the longest time.

Out of all the books I’ve written, the queries and pitches for The Imaginary Corpse were by far the best-received, but all that means is that I finally got partial manuscript requests. I also got partial manuscript rejections, and all of them said essentially the same thing as the rejections of my initial query packet, just in more detail: This is good. But I, a literary agent, have no idea where I’d sell it.

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