Research tip #5: Shop the catalogue

For more on researching for fiction, go to the main research page.  I’ve written about this before, but just to recap: Tom Franklin hates doing research. Yet his first two novels were historical fiction, which stuck Franklin doing the very thing he hates. Still, Franklin prefers to focus on the writing, to let the fictionContinue reading “Research tip #5: Shop the catalogue”

Research tip #4: Shoot the bullet

For more on researching for fiction, go to the main research page.  A few years ago, I was at the big national conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and a friend of mine, Tom Franklin, was on a panel discussing research in fiction. Franklin joined the panel by virtue of his historicalContinue reading “Research tip #4: Shoot the bullet”

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….”

Researching fiction (NaNoWriMo update #3)

For more on researching for fiction, go to the main research page.  Here I am at the end of day 8 of NaNoWriMo.  My current total word count is 25,504. I know that makes it seem I’ve spent every waking moment of the past week writing, but really, I’ve managed to work in more thanContinue reading “Researching fiction (NaNoWriMo update #3)”

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!”

Y’all is from where?: Texas regionalism

This is LONG overdue, but since my last post, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about regionalism and my identity as a writer. This has been an ongoing internal discussion for me, but lately, as my friends list expands in Facebook and I reconnect with old pals from across the state of Texas but especiallyContinue reading “Y’all is from where?: Texas regionalism”

The Hill Country Years

I’ve spent the last few days running around my old home town, taking pictures and scribbling notes, overtly to document scenes in some of my stories and to refresh memories I rely on for my fiction, but also, I admit, just to relive some of my childhood. It’s a weird feeling, really, because I spentContinue reading “The Hill Country Years”

On a life, our liberty, and the pursuit of reading: a reflection on the life and work of Judith Krug

Two years ago, I had the great privilege of eating dinner with Judith Krug. My wife was giving a two-hour presentation on librarians in film at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association, and as a member of WLA’s Intellectual Freedom Roundtable, she also got to meet and work briefly with Judith Krug, theContinue reading “On a life, our liberty, and the pursuit of reading: a reflection on the life and work of Judith Krug”

A writer is a writer: on understanding and humility

Today my university hosted a panel discussion with the six authors who were shortlisted for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). I’ve long hungered for the kind of “visiting writer” experiences I used to enjoy in grad school at University of North Texas, and with this I had a chance to meet andContinue reading “A writer is a writer: on understanding and humility”

Judy Blume

Last night I drove with my wife and another university librarian (our education librarian, who oversees our children and young-adult literature collection on campus) to Madison to attend a lecture by Judy Blume. Blume’s speech was part of the larger Wisconsin Literary Festival underway this week, but her specific appearance was at the invitation ofContinue reading “Judy Blume”