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 →

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 →

A Plotter Pantsing: what I’ve learned, and what I’m still trying to figure out

In Twitter's #WritingCommunity, the discussion of plotting and pantsing our stories is a common thread. Plotting, the careful outlining of a story before writing, and pantsing, the seat-of-our-pants, unplanned, accepting-what-comes creation of a story, each draws a crowd of strong adherents. Out foraging for mushrooms this week, we came across this beautiful chanterelle, late for... 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 →

Short Stories in Naples

On Thursday morning, at the patisserie Poppella, I wrote this in my journal: I'm so overwhelmed by Naples. It's so busy. I feel like I'll be trampled when I walk on the street. Everything is dirty. Garbage is all over the streets. I'm afraid to take out my computer. I'm afraid someone will take it.... Continue Reading →

A quick note from Naples

It's 10:30pm, and I'm just sitting down to write. I'll have to keep it a quick one. A long and sweaty, beautiful and adventurous day of travel now at an end, I'll recount a bit and reflect, see if I can tease out a few details to remember. Naples has a reputation. I think everyone... Continue Reading →

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