In Praise of Boring Stories: Our Desensitization to Conflict

I return today to a question that has arisen frequently on this blog, that nagging issue in fiction I've not yet been satisfied with my own answers to, that I feel like this week I've stumbled haphazard into a new idea about--today, let's circle back to that question of conflict. When I taught high school... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

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