Avoid the Easy Resolution

When we write, if we tape our feelings down to the page, if we do it with any thoroughness and honesty, they become rapidly an artifact. Later, we return to them like reading history. Those were the things in my mind that day. We can see the way seas of our thoughts change, and yet... Continue Reading →

How Much Should I Research?

In the story I have been drafting these last weeks, I've hit up against real edges in my knowledge. I have dived on into research, poring over academic articles, newspapers, and of course Wikipedia. I have taken awful volumes down of notes. I have learned much, and I've asked questions. I am generally not a... Continue Reading →

Dialogue #3: Dialect

This post comes third in our series on dialogue. To read the first post about the dialogue's three basic forms or last week's discussion of realistic dialogue, click these links. This week, we'll look at how characters' spoken dialects might be rendered in fiction, the effects these different portrayals might have on readers, and the... Continue Reading →

Every-colored flowers

In the eastern parts of Umbria, the land lofts up from fertile valleys into rich-forested mountains. These are the Apennines, a range I'd heard mentioned before but knew nothing of, a string of low mountains stretching the full length of the Italian peninsula. Yesterday, on a recommendation from our Italian language teacher, we drove out... Continue Reading →

Authenticity–what is it really?

My husband's and my goal for this summer was to settle: to root ourselves in a place for a length of time, to get to know it well, to accustom ourselves to some new surroundings, to avoid the pellmell back and forth of place-to-place travel, to focus, to breathe, to find some deeper sense of... Continue Reading →

Conflict a copout?

I've been working on a short story recently. Unlike most of what I've been writing the last few years, it's solid realism. I didn't expect this to make it a particular challenge for me, but as I have been slogging my way through outlines, a first draft of one-and-a-quarter scenes, doubt has besieged me of... Continue Reading →

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