When to break a chapter

Yesterday morning, over on my Facebook page, I got an interesting question from my first, longest-time fan (hi, Mom!). I’d been commenting on Facebook the past few days about the progress I’ve been making on my new novel and, in the space of two posts and a comment, I had declared that I’d finished a chapter after addingContinue reading “When to break a chapter”

Miscellaneous storytelling

A couple of years ago, while undertaking a heavy revision of Hagridden, I used the funds from my Oregon Literary Fellowship to take a research trip to the Louisiana bayou. While I was there, I also spent some time with my family down there, and my uncle Brad, who had recently been clearing out hisContinue reading “Miscellaneous storytelling”

Out of office: Sewanee 2015 and a new novel excerpt

So, I’m packing up and preparing for my trip to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. It’s an odd feeling, a bit of nerves and a bit of excitement, like going away for summer camp. Which, in many ways, I suppose this is: it’s camp for writers, where instead of crafts we have workshops and instead of smores we have alcoholContinue reading “Out of office: Sewanee 2015 and a new novel excerpt”

Sewanee 2015

Folks who pay attention to my Facebook page or my Twitter account might remember that a couple of months ago, I announced I had been accepted to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in Tennessee. I’ve been hyperventilating over my good fortune since then, excited about the opportunity to work with and learn from amazing writers, toContinue reading “Sewanee 2015”

Crayons, conflicts, crises, and catastrophes: how I’m outlining my new novel

When I was in grad school, I once participated in a group presentation on Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. I forget what all the group as a whole wound up saying, but I remember clearly that my first instinct was to focus on that famous first chapter, where the author of the book (Vonnegut himself?) explains why and how he wentContinue reading “Crayons, conflicts, crises, and catastrophes: how I’m outlining my new novel”

On words and awareness and ignorance and compassion

Social media is a hyper-emotional space, fraught with extreme opinions, extreme sensitivities, extreme expressions conveyed in extreme compression which leads to extreme misunderstanding. This is true on Facebook, on blogs, on Instagram, on Reddit, and perhaps especially on Twitter, where the limitation of 140 characters demands an extreme attention to and care with language butContinue reading “On words and awareness and ignorance and compassion”

New publication

I’ve been a huge fan of Eunoia Review for a long while now, and I’ve been honored to be among their contributors three times now, and they’ve been home to some of my favorite stories. Today, I’m happy to say that Eunoia has published a fourth story of mine, and, depending on how you measureContinue reading “New publication”

New publication

So, I mentioned yesterday that Blue Skirt Productions was one of my favorite tables at AWP. One of the reasons was that they ran a contest for their literary magazine, Microfiction Monday: they provided these 4×4 sticky note and asked folks to submit microfiction that fit on it. Ideally, one hundred words or fewer. And it was a contest,Continue reading “New publication”

Hey poets, be good literary citizens. No more excuses.

My friend — and one of my favorite poets, which is why I’m friends with her — Brianna Pike has some deceptively simple but necessary advice for all us writers, especially as we all head off to the literary smorgasbord that is AWP (where I’m looking forward to seeing Bri at her panel discussion!): HeyContinue reading “Hey poets, be good literary citizens. No more excuses.”

“Be the best literary citizen you can be.”

J.C. Sevcik has written a response to “the Insensitive, Shit-Stirring Rant” (his words) by Ryan Boudinot a week and a half ago. Which, you know, big deal — a lot of us wrote responses. But Sevcik’s is interesting because it appears in the same publication, The Stranger, that published Boudinot’s offensive listicle ten days ago (and followedContinue reading ““Be the best literary citizen you can be.””