Friday, September 30, 2016

Jennifer Egan on the Dream State of Writing

This week's writing exercise is simply a link to a fabulous article, an interview in Brainpickings with the Pulitzer-winning author, Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad), about the weird and wonderful place we go when we write.  Check it out here.   You may relate!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Metaphors in Your Story--What Are They, How to Use Them, When to Use Them

I'll never forget the first year of my MFA.  I had a great adviser, a well-published writer, who was also a minimalist.  I am not.   I love lyrical prose.  So we were an odd match that turned out to be one of the best parts of my expensive education.

As my adviser, Rebecca required me to send her a packet of new writing every two weeks.  She would read the pages and mark them up, then return them to me.  her handwriting was atrocious but her comments were stellar.  She didn't hold back.  If she loved something, she raved.  If she hated it, she said that too.  She assumed, rightly so, that at this point in my writing career I was past coddling.  I just wanted the straight truth.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Can You Use Both First and Third Person Narrators in Your Novel?

A few of my private clients are playing with the idea of using both first person and third person narrators in their novels or memoirs.  It's a fairly radical approach to storytelling but not impossible.  I've gotten the question enough times in the past weeks--the idea must be trending!--that I wanted to address it in this blog.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Refresh Your Writing Brain (and Inspire Your Book) with an Image Board This Week

Writers gather around the big classroom conference table.  It's the first evening of my weeklong writing retreat.  I ask each writer to grab a stack of magazines and begin tearing out photos.  The room gets quiet as everyone moves into their image brains. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Finding Close Readers--How to Be Smart with Feedback on Your Manuscript

Feedback is a tricky process.  Lots of danger if you choose feedback partners that have something to prove--they're smart, literary, better than you could ever be.  Or if you exchange with readers who just don't put in the effort, time, attention.  Both extremes can wear a writer out, best case.  Worse case, they can cause you to lose faith in your book.