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Written by guest-contributor

Micro Lesson: Dig Deep into Character by Stephanie Kuehnert

Posted Thu, 7/11/2019 - 5:25pm by  |  Category: , ,

Characters are the reason I write.  Their voices lodge themselves in my brain. They tug on my sleeve and insist that I tell their stories. The greatest compliment that I can get as a writer is that my characters stay…

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What’s Your Romance Voice & Style? by Eilis Flynn

Posted Tue, 7/09/2019 - 9:34am by  |  Category: , ,

Have you ever picked up a book—a romance, one that the blurb promises to be a story that’s right up your alley—and found that it just doesn’t do it for you?  The story, the theme, even the author, they all…

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Micro Lesson: Detroit or Kansas? How to Hear the Voices Inside Your Head by Emily Warn and Nadia Imafidon

Posted Tue, 7/02/2019 - 9:44am by  |  Category: , ,

Emily’s take: When I say poem, it sounds like pome. I can easily mimic Frances McDormand when she says, “What’s in your BYAG, MA’AM?” (Fargo). My sharp “a’s” (grating to some) are sheep bya, byaing and not bah, bahing.  That’s…

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Micro Lesson: How to Write Yourself Home by Merna Ann Hecht

Posted Fri, 6/28/2019 - 9:43am by  |  Category: , , , ,

“To be an immigrant is to always live in some state of exile, even if its shadow seems to have grown faint inside us; you cannot forget your old homes, no matter how comfortingly familiar your new destination becomes, or…

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Micro-Lesson: Writing Travel by Carolyne Wright

Posted Thu, 6/27/2019 - 9:30am by  |  Category: , , ,

Elizabeth Bishop was the consummate American poet and writer of travel—born in Massachusetts, she was raised there and in Nova Scotia. As an adult she traveled extensively through France, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and North Africa, and she lived for fifteen…

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What is Speculative Nonfiction? by Kathleen Alcalá

Posted Tue, 6/18/2019 - 9:45am by  |  Category: ,

la·cu·na (ləˈk(y)o͞onə): n. (plural lacunae). 1. an unfilled space or interval; a gap. (“the journal has filled a lacuna in Middle Eastern studies”). 2. a missing portion in a book or manuscript. 3. (anatomy) a cavity or depression, especially in bone….

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9 Literary Agent Red Flags by Peter Mountford

Posted Fri, 5/31/2019 - 10:09am by  |  Category: ,

This Sunday, June 2, 2019, Peter Mountford, Karen Finneyfrock, and Theo Nestor will teach an all-day Publishing Intensive. This course will give students a comprehensive overview of the publishing business, from finding an agent to seeing your book arrive in the…

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How Writing My Story Helped Me Heal by Ingrid Ricks

Posted Tue, 5/28/2019 - 9:56am by  |  Category: , , , ,

It was my own struggle with the pain from my childhood—followed by my ultimate decision to write my story—that made me understand the life-changing power of personal narrative. I’d tried to write Hippie Boy for more than a decade. But…

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Micro Lesson: Researching and Writing True Crime by Rebecca Morris

Posted Tue, 5/14/2019 - 9:31am by  |  Category: , ,

Authors and their readers are drawn to reading true crime because, to be honest, sensationalism can make for a good book. My guiding principle comes from Agatha Christie, who said: “The crime is the end of the story.” True crime…

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Things to Consider When Searching for a Literary Agent by Joe Ponepinto

Posted Thu, 5/02/2019 - 9:32am by  |  Category: ,

I’ve been querying agents for a few years now, and although I’ve come close to being signed, I still don’t have one. But in that time I’ve learned quite a bit about approaching and communicating with agents, enough so that…

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Micro Lesson: Writing Short by Stephanie Hammer and Samantha Updegrave

Posted Tue, 4/30/2019 - 9:12am by  |  Category: , , ,

As MFA classmates, we had the fun and honor of learning how to write short forms with a master of both the prose poem and flash fiction: the speculative writer Bruce Holland Rogers. Bruce is famous for coming up with…

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The Difference Between Drama and Conflict (and Why You Need to Know It) by Eric McMillan

Posted Fri, 4/26/2019 - 9:32am by  |  Category: , , , ,

We’ve all struggled, at one point or another, to explain in conversation what, exactly, our stories are about. We hem and haw. “Well, you see…” And one of the reasons that we get in such a muddle is because sometimes…

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Seven Keys to Unlocking Your Story by Jennifer Haupt

Posted Tue, 4/23/2019 - 10:05am by  |  Category: , , , ,

Whether you’re just dipping a toe into the waters of your story (fiction or memoir) or you’re stuck rowing around in circles, there are seven basic steps for integrating character development, plot, and structure that will enable you to navigate…

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Micro Lesson: Back to the (Plastic) Well by Kevin O’Rourke

Posted Mon, 4/22/2019 - 10:00am by  |  Category: , , , , ,

Or: You Never Know When Research Will Prove Useful 1. Not all Navel-Gazing Is Bad A few weeks ago, I published a review of the electronic duo Matmos’s new album, Plastic Anniversary. At the risk of repeating myself, Plastic Anniversary—which…

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On Telling Life Stories by Susan Meyers

Posted Fri, 4/19/2019 - 10:08am by  |  Category: , , , ,

“To write one’s life is to live it twice.” So says my first memoir teacher, Patricia Hampl. Certainly, writing about your life has all kinds of benefits, from better understanding the past to capturing the essence of your memories in…

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