A Writer’s Notebook: Revision

I’m chest deep in a revision of my novel right now, but I’m also reading Alice Munro, who makes me want to work on short fiction. So I figured this week, I’d put my hands together and do a revision exercise on one of my long-problematic short stories. Because this is slightly complicated, I’m goingContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Revision”

A Writer’s Notebook: Introduction

My friend Lori Ann Bloomfield and I have been swapping e-mails about writing exercises lately (from which exchanges I’ve cribbed some of this post).  We were talking about first lines, and I mentioned that my story “Bathe in the Doggone Sin” started out as a first-line exercise.  Which got me thinking about writing exercises inContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Introduction”

Writing as work; or, a new literary daydream

Wish I could claim this idea as my own, but I can’t.  In fact, it’s a kind of convoluted web of connection, appropriate to the Internet but a bit confusing.  I was reading a recent entry in the terrific little blog Literary Rejections on Display, which was in turn a reference to an e-mail commentingContinue reading “Writing as work; or, a new literary daydream”

Patrons of writing and teaching: St. Francis de Sales and St. John the Apostle

I’ve been writing off and on about my “patrons of writing,” but I feel I need to acknowledge that, for me, the term I chose comes from Christianity, specifically Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and the Christian notion of “patron saints.” So I figure it’s about time I mention a couple of my Christian patrons. According toContinue reading “Patrons of writing and teaching: St. Francis de Sales and St. John the Apostle”

Patrons of writing and teaching: Anansi

Since February is Black History month in the US, I thought I’d write about another of my writing patrons, Anansi the Spider, King of Stories.  I first learned of Anansi from my college friend Moses Elango, who is from Cameroon, but many people encounter Anansi long before their college years: Anansi is a common figureContinue reading “Patrons of writing and teaching: Anansi”

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place*

Just about every book on writing you’re likely to ever pick up will begin with this advice: Find a place to write. It’s strange advice, in some ways, because the most important thing about writing should always be the writing — the words themselves — which means it shouldn’t matter where you write or even howContinue reading “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place*”

Patrons of writing and teaching: Thoth

Among the many, many files on my computer, I have a collection of seemingly frivolous notes and scribbles related to writing, which I insist are vital to what I do and will someday, surely, come in handy.  Mostly, I’m wrong.  But every now and then, as I’m cleaning out my files and tossing the listsContinue reading “Patrons of writing and teaching: Thoth”

Compassion in action

My friend Lori Ann Bloomfield, over on her blog First Line, has posted an excellent comment on how writers can help not only Haitians but all human beings, simply through the act of writing.  By writing more human characters, she says, we come to understand our fellow human beings better, and it’s a very smallContinue reading “Compassion in action”

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”