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Posts about “Writing Advice”

Happy Divorce! How to separate sound from meaning in poetry by Erica Sklar

Posted Fri, 2/28/2020 - 10:37am by  |  Category: , , ,

Divorcing ourselves from meaning in writing can feel impossible. We get lost in our narratives and our characters, in the metaphors we’re creating and the incredible dialogue that we just can’t seem to fit into the story. But the freedom…

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Behind Closed Doors: An Exclusive Q&A with Anthony Swofford and Charles D’Ambrosio

Posted Tue, 2/18/2020 - 9:53am by  |  Category: , ,

On February 28, Anthony Swofford, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Charles D’Ambrosio will kick off the second half of the 2019–20 Hugo Literary Series with new works on the theme of “Behind Closed Doors.” In a recent email exchange, Anthony and…

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Read Like a Writer: Henry James and Sally Rooney by Liza Birnbaum

Posted Fri, 2/07/2020 - 11:57am by  |  Category: , , ,

Sally Rooney’s novels Conversations with Friends and Normal People have been two of the most talked-about books of the past five years. Profiles of Rooney tend to feature her age (she’s not yet thirty) and to deploy descriptions like “phenomenon”…

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Outsmarting the Algorithm: Dissecting Your Favorite Song to Build a Personalized Playlist by Catherine Harris-White / SassyBlack

Posted Wed, 2/05/2020 - 9:17am by  |  Category: , ,

There are many reasons music resonates with us. Most times it’s because that music has prompted a bit of nostalgia. Maybe it reminds you of your childhood or of a loved one or even a lover. Sometimes music can remind…

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How to Keep a “Long Story Short” by Margot Leitman

Posted Tue, 2/04/2020 - 9:00am by  |  Category: , ,

As the author of Long Story Short, the Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need and What’s Your Story? A Workbook for the Storyteller in All of Us, I get asked a lot about how long a story for the stage…

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“I Was Ready to Head Out for Parts Unknown”: An Exclusive Q&A with Gish Jen

Posted Wed, 1/29/2020 - 9:00am by  |  Category: , ,

Gish Jen is the author of five works of fiction, including Typical American, Mona in the Promised Land, and World and Town, as well as two books of nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories four…

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Hearing Voices: Breaking Writer’s Block through Radical Listening by Matt Trease

Posted Tue, 1/21/2020 - 8:58am by  |  Category: , , ,

In the many years since I decided to become a writer and teacher, I’ve heard numerous students, and even established writers, bemoan what they call writer’s block with some variation of the lament “I just don’t feel I have anything…

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Micro Lesson: Writing the Dead and Other Magical Inclinations by Michele Bombardier

Posted Fri, 1/17/2020 - 9:53am by  |  Category: , , ,

One of the best parts of being a poet is the outrageousness of it.  “Out here I can say anything” Larry Levis famously wrote, and we understand viscerally what he meant. On the page, we get to say anything, go…

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Micro-Lesson: Graphic Writing for Comic Characters by Greg Stump

Posted Tue, 1/14/2020 - 12:00pm by  |  Category: , , ,

When it comes to emphasizing, setting off, and differentiating bits of dialogue, cartoonists and comic artists have a wide range of graphic techniques at their disposal. Used in moderation, these approaches to visual writing can really add to your characters’…

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How to Start Your Story (or Novel) with Its Best Foot Forward by Raymond Fleischmann

Posted Mon, 12/30/2019 - 9:42am by  |  Category: , , ,

“If I can get that first paragraph right,” Stephen King once told The Atlantic, “I’ll know I can do the book.” Starting a story—or novel—can feel pretty intimidating. And to be sure, a compelling start can do more than encourage…

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Micro Lesson: Writing From Nature by John Farnsworth

Posted Tue, 12/17/2019 - 9:22am by  |  Category: , , , , , ,

When people learn that I’m a nature writer, there’s a natural assumption that what I spend most of my time doing is writing about nature. While it would not be unkind or even inaccurate to characterize my work this way,…

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“You Have to Let Your Obsessions Guide You”: An Exclusive Q&A with Tom Perrotta

Posted Mon, 11/04/2019 - 9:52am by  |  Category: , , ,

Tom Perrotta is the author of nine works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated films, and The Leftovers, which was adapted into a critically acclaimed, Peabody Award-winning HBO series. His other books include Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Joe College, The…

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Three Strategies for Reclaiming Your Writing Time by Liza Birnbaum

Posted Tue, 10/29/2019 - 9:35am by  |  Category: , , , , ,

At the top of every slippery slope is a spot that feels like solid, level ground.  For me, the top of one such slope came around mid-May of this year. After holding out for over 10 years, I’d gotten a…

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Writing Architecture through Fiction by Ayad Rahmani

Posted Tue, 10/22/2019 - 8:46am by  |  Category: , , , ,

The objective of this workshop is to practice architectural criticism through the lens of insight. Where most architectural criticism is evaluatory, leveling judgment on a given project, this form of feedback is not.  It assumes that the world is complex…

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Widening the Scope of Your Personal Essay by Santi Elijah Holley

Posted Fri, 10/11/2019 - 12:01pm by  |  Category: , , ,

Personal essays can do many things. They can help us navigate our experiences, our grief, our trauma, or our joy. They can help show others how to navigate these for themselves. And they can unite us—author and reader—in a shared,…

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