“It’s a real privilege to have talented friends”

Back in spring of 2015, I was looking for fresh material to bring into my composition classroom, and I happened to have a batch of students who were itching to break out of the essay rut and write in response to some literature. So I shared some widely-anthologized essays and some interesting editorials from major newspapers, butContinue reading ““It’s a real privilege to have talented friends””

Jesse Lee Kercheval sent me mail

Yes, what you’re looking at is a photo of two books, both by Jesse Lee Kercheval, that arrived in my mail today. And they weren’t in an Amazon box — they were in a thick manila envelope with my name and address handwritten by Kercheval herself. How, you ask? It pays to engage the writingContinue reading “Jesse Lee Kercheval sent me mail”

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”

A Writer’s Notebook: Revision checklist

Today’s exercise is going to be short and relatively uncreative. I’m polishing up a story collection I recently finished, and while most of the stories are published, finished, or well on their way, one is still very much an ugly draft, so I’ve decided to go over that weakest story and do some broad revision.Continue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Revision checklist”