Why fiction, and why stories?―#AuthorToolboxBlogHop

This post is part of the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Read more great posts about writing here! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams--not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. The Great Gatsby, Chapter 5 I'm teaching The Great Gatsby this term,... Continue Reading →

Choose the Right Point of View for Your Story: Beyond the Basics

First, third, omniscient, limited—point of view (POV) is a global decision we make in every writing project. Like our choice of present or past tense, selecting the right point of view for a story has a powerful impact on the final effect, and it’s worth considering different options before jumping to one choice. Many of... Continue Reading →

Foraging for stories

I spent a bit of time researching MFA programs yesterday. Just a bit. It's still a ways in the future for me, but I began with a survey of the pros and cons of formally studying creative writing at all. Jennifer Ellis has assembled a helpful list of cons, and the first item she included... Continue Reading →

Anatomy of a cliffhanger

They're page-turning. They're nail-biting. They're infuriating. They're everywhere. Cliffhangers, those endings to scenes, chapters, or whole works that create anticipation in the audience, sometimes feel like the bread and butter of modern storytelling televised and written, and as a literary tool they have a long history. Today, let's step back and take their measure. What... Continue Reading →

The Slump: how to start writing again

Today is, I think, the sixth or seventh day I haven't done significant writing work. As in, I have pulled up the Word tab languishing at the bottom of my taskbar, stared at the winding sea of paragraphs, contemplated the next, set my fingers on the keys--and then it was too much. Something I didn't... Continue Reading →

Put your descriptive writing to work!

A few years ago I found myself in a one-day writing workshop, examining all fiction in terms of three elements: character, conflict, and description. The idea that every sentence we write is primarily serving one of these functions is perhaps reductive, but it can also help us tease out why a passage is not working,... Continue Reading →

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