A Writer’s Notebook: story cycles

Today’s exercise is visual. And it’s a mess. But I’ll just share with you what I’ve done, and then I’ll explain how and why I did it. All you need to know up front is that these are stories, mostly in collections, and the names of characters. I do this kind of thing all theContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: story cycles”

A Writer’s Notebook: a scene from a story

So, I’m working on a new short story. I’ve already finished the first draft and am working on the first read-through, so this isn’t technically a “rough” exercise in the raw here. But I won’t know if this is how the final version will look until I set the whole thing aside for a whileContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: a scene from a story”

A Writer’s Notebook: prompts from a writing group

I belong to a super-secret writing group online (for real — don’t bother looking, you won’t find us), and lately I’ve been working on little exercises with them. These are some of the things I’ve done. She was shopping for her own engagement ring in a mall kiosk. I told her I wouldn’t make herContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: prompts from a writing group”

A Writer’s Notebook: a dream (Retro #4)

This has been a heavy writing week for me, and it’s about to get heavier: in addition to final novel revisions, synopses, queries, and excerpt submissions — which have taken up the bulk of my week — I am today beginning work on a collaborative piece a friend of mine solicited me for. So I’mContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: a dream (Retro #4)”

A Writer’s Notebook: Kevin Sampsell and Chloe Caldwell’s nonfiction workshop

So, as I promised yesterday, here are (some of) my notes from Kevin Sampsell and Chloe Caldwell‘s excellent nonfiction workshop at Crow Arts Manor today. I’ll include a couple of quick headings in the notes so you know what you’re reading, but I’ll write more about some of the things we talked about afterward. For now,Continue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Kevin Sampsell and Chloe Caldwell’s nonfiction workshop”

A Writer’s Notebook: on hold till Saturday (for awesomeness)

I’m putting the Writer’s Notebook on hold until tomorrow, because tomorrow, I’m attending a killer personal essay workshop here in Portland, led by the inimitable Kevin Sampsell (of Future Tense Books) and Chloe Caldwell (of Legs Get Led Astray). So tomorrow, I’ll post whatever I get up to in the workshop. Stay tuned! The workshop, byContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: on hold till Saturday (for awesomeness)”

A Writer’s Notebook: more of Beth Locke’s “A Louisiana Girl”

This is more of my grandmother’s story. The year is 1945. My grandmother, Beth Locke, has just turned 20, and she works at the nearby Navy base, where troops are returning from the war. (I think you see where this is headed….) Along about this time, my social life was at a complete standstill. I hadContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: more of Beth Locke’s “A Louisiana Girl””

A Writer’s Notebook: Beth Locke: “A Louisiana Girl”

This is another exercise drawn from my tutoring, this time from a high school junior who’s been studying The Grapes of Wrath. I’ll explain more below, but before you start reading, a little context: What appears in the Notebook is not my own work but an edit of something my maternal grandmother, Beth Locke (néeContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Beth Locke: “A Louisiana Girl””

A Writer’s Notebook: revision (Civil War novel)

As some of you know (or as a lot of you know — for some reason I racked up more then 400 visitors yesterday!), I’ve had the 19th century American South on the brain lately, partly because I was so wrapped up in watching the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries on the History Channel and partlyContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: revision (Civil War novel)”

A Writer’s Notebook: literary retrospective

This week, another post based on a tutee’s assignment — this time for a high school student writing a final term paper. I’ll explain the assignment below (it’s an awesome one — this tutee of mine has a very cool high school English teacher!), but I ought to explain up front that I’m short-cutting myContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: literary retrospective”