The First 15 Pages

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If you’re writing a novel or a memoir, the following exercise might be helpful. It came up recently while I was working with a Fresh Pond writer on his memoir. This writer was really trying to nail the opening chapter, and so I suggested that he select five of his favorite memoirs (published by others) and analyze the first 15 pages.

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Shiva and the Art of Revision

I’ve had a pretty good year so far with writing. Some of the pieces I’m churning out, I’m proud of, other stuff, well….not so much. The time has come for me to review several rough, first drafts I wrote earlier this year and turn them into polished stories. But how? Continue reading

A Year Without Revision

My writing life has changed quite a bit in the last couple of years. Just a few years ago, I wasn’t writing at all. I had gotten to a point, after quitting an MFA program I didn’t like, where I thought my writing was the worst it had ever been. It was a combination of not only producing ghastly stuff but having enough knowledge to realize it. I put away my drafts, packed them into a box, moved to another town and put the box in the basement. Over the course of four years or so, I embraced the satisfactory notion that I wasn’t a writer.

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