Life is Like a Box Of Chocolates (so are anthologies)

While continuing our read of Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story, I just wanted to share a bit of commentary on the subject of writers reading short stories. It’s been several weeks since I...

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Sure Growth and the Psychology of Practice

How to Become a Great Writer (no, seriously, this is how) This post is directly inspired by a recent Freakonomics podcast titled How to Become Great at Just About Anything. Tantalizing premise, isn’t it? Most of us have heard of...

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Object Lessons: Learning from Literary Short Fiction

I’ve recently picked up Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story and the first few stories got me thinking. This isn’t just any anthology. It’s geared toward writing instruction, marketed to aspiring writers looking...

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Podcast Alert! Writing Excuses

This is a busy time of year! As you know, I’m an advocate of writers having day jobs if the situation fits for them, and I follow that path myself. At this point, it’s not a choice so much as a...

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Know Your Enemy – Procrastination

Procrastination blocks productivity. Still, procrastination is better tackled when it’s understood. By definition, procrastination means “the act of delaying or postponing something”, more specifically “putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention”. You are technically only procrastinating in...

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Creative Writing Tools: Maps

Maps support a story. This doesn’t necessarily mean providing readers with a map of your world will make it better, but maps are a powerful tool for consistency and inspiration during the writing and revision process. Fantasy writers often aspire...

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Feed Inspiration with Sources for Random Knowledge

Reading is wonderful. Writing wouldn’t be an industry without people for whom reading is a large part of their mental input. Fabulous as reading is, a well-rounded diet of information is critical for creativity and developing healthy intelligence. Stories, facts, history,...

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Demons of Writing: The First Draft

First pages aren’t as big of an issue, these days. More people are putting their feelings into words than ever before with social media. Content and quality aren’t so important in that venue, but the virtue is in more...

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5 Questions for Tackling Big Issues

"Write about something you feel strongly about." "Write about what disturbs you." "Don't shy away from writing something difficult." This common piece of advice appears phrased dozens of ways. The first time I heard it was from a middle school English teacher in...

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Plot Twists: Expanding Your World

Story structures require control of perception and the element of surprise. Plotting is all about retaining and releasing information to create dramatic and purposeful connections between the elements of the story. Plot twists (here simply defined as revelatory moments that...

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