Archive for the 'CRAFT' Category

Flog a Pro: would you turn this bestselling author’s first page?

Trained by reading hundreds of submissions, editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page. The challenge: does this narrative […]

The Art of Creating Memorable Villains Whatever Your Genre

Today’s guest is Lisa Alber, author of Kilmoon, A County Clare Mystery. Lisa describes herself as “ever distractible,” and you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging round out her distractions. Lisa received an Elizabeth George Foundation writing […]

In Praise of Paper Books

I recently started rereading a book I bought many years ago – one volume of an eight volume collected set of The Spectator, a London daily periodical from the early 18th century. William Addison and Joseph Steele wrote most of the The Spectator’s 2500-word, witty and wise essays on serious topics of social value. A […]

The Importance of Letting ‘Em See You Sweat

“Let me tell you a story.” That’s how my talk began last month at Furman University’s TEDx conference. The topic was “Stories: The Common Thread of Our Humanity.” I’d spent almost a year prepping for those 16 minutes. Writing, editing, and rewriting my talk. Memorizing it and rehearsing it morning, noon, and night for months […]

Why the Where Matters (Part I)

I was not gifted with a Sense of Direction. North often feels West, and South usually feels down-ish. To make matters worse, when I travel in a new place, I forget to pay attention to landmarks. I can never remember if I should turn left at the river or at the white shack. Is the […]

How to Make Somebody Hate Reading

Here’s how to make somebody hate reading:  Send them to an American high school. The end. Hmmm – in proofreading this post, it seems a little short. So maybe I should elaborate. I’ve seen some statistics floating around the web claiming that one third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest […]

Should You Read About Writing?

A writer friend of mine recently moved offices, and in doing so, had to downsize his book collection. He purged several dozen books about writing. Offering them to a group of us fellow writers, he wryly noted, “Take what you want, but remember, if reading books about writing was enough to make someone a successful […]

The Arts and Crafts of Writing Fiction

It’s A Bungalow? Are you familiar with the Arts and Crafts Movement? For many “Arts and Crafts” refers to a reproduction Morris chair in their den. For others it might evoke Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style or an antique Stickley dining set. Each of these is born of the A&C movement, but none of them […]

Why Are You Here?

It was the best of spring breaks, it was the worst of spring breaks. Two weeks. Yep, my kid’s private school takes off not one but two weeks. Did I mention it was two weeks? In March? When public schools aren’t out? When there’s only one week of sports camp offered? When babysitters–such as but […]

10 Tips about Process

So recently, when guest speaking at a college creative writing class, I was asked for ten writing tips I’d like to pass along to students. My first impulse was to run screaming from the building, but, when I thought more about it, I realized that the one sure thing I’ve gained in knowledge is an […]

The WHYs of Book Club Questions

We’re thrilled to have Mollie Lundquist of LitLovers here today, who describes herself as “an English teacher gone mad.” LitLovers grew out of an online course she taught a few years ago. It was so much fun, she decided to go public. She says: LitLovers has brought together my lifelong love of reading, writing, and teaching. The […]

Make the Music You Make

I’m addressing the kids today, and if you’re not one, but know someone who is, won’t you please pass this along? (If you find it worthy, I mean.) I’m hoping to help your young peers understand what to expect as they walk the writer’s road. I was a pack rat of words long before computers […]