Monthly Archives: May 2012

No One Will See Your First Draft

If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels with writing and you need a dose of inspiration, read these quotes from author Neil Gaiman, listen to the podcast interview with him, and/or watch the commencement speech below that he gave to the 2012 graduating class of the University of the Arts. I especially recommend that […]

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You Might Not Know What’s Good for You

This is a post about taking advice from other writers, particularly published writers. But before I get into that, I want to share a quick personal anecdote. Recently, I started going to a fitness trainer who is trained as a functional movement specialist. After listening to my goals and then assessing my flexibility and balance, […]

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Do You Have Talent?

Recently a writing friend asked me, “How do you know if you’re any good?” It’s funny that she mentioned this because that same week I was talking with another friend about writing and I told him that I wondered if I was smart enough to write fiction. How would I know? How does anyone know? […]

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The Best Training

“The best training is to read and write, no matter what. Don’t live with a lover or roommate who doesn’t respect your work. Don’t lie, buy time, borrow to buy time. Write what will stop your breath if you don’t write.” — Grace Paley Photo: Daehyun Park / Flickr Creative Commons

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A Character Is What She Does

In Ron Carlson Writes a Story, Carlson says, “A character is what he or she does.” He writes, “Action is narrative evidence. It proves as it goes, whereas adjectival telling (she was careless, manipulative, compulsive, willful) alerts us to how a character might be, but doesn’t prove it with the force good drama requires.” This […]

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The Ending Is an Invitation

Recently, I attended the Muse & the Marketplace writers conference sponsored by Grub Street. I wrote a piece last week about how I came away from one of the sessions with a new sense of what makes a great story beginning. Another session focused on story endings. The speaker for that session was Robin Black. […]

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To See the World in a Grain of Sand

It seems that I have been living under a rock. I’m only now just discovering the fabulous Steven Millhauser. I did read his piece, “Phantoms” in the the Best American Short Stories for 2011. But I hadn’t read anything else from him. Then this weekend, my boyfriend brought home Millhauser’s collection, Dangerous Laughter, which was […]

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What Are the Stakes?

This past Friday, we watched the movie In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. It only got 3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, so we weren’t expecting much. I was mildly entertained, but I’m still glad I watched the movie, because I came away with a stronger sense of what makes a good […]

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What’s Your O.Q.?

Everyone’s heard of I.Q., or intelligence quotient, which is a score based on a test that a person can take to measure her intelligence. And then there’s E.Q., the emotional quotient, which refers to a person’s ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. There’s a test you can take for that, too. I’d like to […]

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Summer Workshop in P-Town With Pam Houston

Exciting news. I found out this week that I got the very last available spot for Pam Houston’s Advanced Fiction Workshop at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. A week of talking about structure, narrative tension, voice, point of view, dialogue, beginnings and endings. I’m psyched. I’ll let you know how it goes. And […]

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