Research tip #7: Check the map

So, I’ve finished a wholesale revision and final(ish) edit on my Civil War novel, the first draft of which started me on my whole “Researching for fiction” series a couple of years ago. And in the process of working over that text, I came across another aspect of research I’ve long been aware of butContinue reading “Research tip #7: Check the map”

11-11: Southern fiction (Christopher Cook)

I began my love affair with Southern fiction, as most of us do, with Faulkner, but I didn’t get serious about studying the genre until I started reading Tom Franklin. His then-distinctive blend of gritty blue-collar stories set in a modern but familiar American South, a style of writing Franklin likes to call “Industrial Gothic,”Continue reading “11-11: Southern fiction (Christopher Cook)”

A Writer’s Notebook: The great outdoors

This is a fairly old-school, simple exercise, but it’s one I keep returning to again and again.  But as usual, more on that below. I’ve never seen the skies in other vast states, like, say, Wyoming or Montana, but I’ve seen skies in California, skies in New York, skies in Wisconsin and Florida. And itContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: The great outdoors”

The good times are killing me

We writers and academics love to ask each other what books we’d want with us if ever we’re stranded on a desert island, and we love offering clever, literary answers: Jane Austen, Cormac McCarthy, the Oxford English Dictionary, the Dhammapada. But we’re lying to ourselves.

The Road

It’s been a long time coming. When I first heard Cormac McCarthy‘s brilliant novel The Road was being developed as a film, I noted the release date on my mental calendar and held my breath. That was back in early 2008. When the movie finally did get released more than a year and a halfContinue reading “The Road”

“Anybody can make history; only a great man can write it.”

Irish lit scholars, please don’t curse me for this. Because today is St. Paddy’s day, I thought I’d list — in no particular order and with deepest respect for anyone I’ve left off (and there will be a lot of those) — a few writers I have read and enjoyed who hail from the EmeraldContinue reading ““Anybody can make history; only a great man can write it.””

Research tip #6: Marbling

For more on researching for fiction, go to the main research page.  So now you have all your research done and you’re ready to get back to the writing. But you’re writing fiction here, not a research paper — so how do you use this research you’ve done? Sometimes the answer is easy: You wereContinue reading “Research tip #6: Marbling”

It was a dark and stormy writer’s block….

A long time ago, when I was a nerd in high school, I hung out with a bunch of other nerds in high school and we played role playing games. You know the bit Mike Myers did on his 2001 appearance on Inside the Actors Studio, with one eye crossed and speaking in a lisp asContinue reading “It was a dark and stormy writer’s block….”

Bleeding regions; plus, NaNoWriMo and happy holidays!

Still working on the Texas writers list, though it’s looking more and more impossible. Where do I put an author like Katherine Anne Porter, for instance? She was born in South Texas, lived a long time in Central Texas, and one of the major writing contests that bear her name is headquartered in North Texas.Continue reading “Bleeding regions; plus, NaNoWriMo and happy holidays!”