Archive for the 'Inspirations' Category

Doing the Work

Today’s guest is Robin Antalek author of The Grown Ups (William Morrow, 2015) and The Summer We Fell Apart (Harper Collins, 2010) which was chosen as a Target Breakout Book. Robin’s non-fiction work has been published at The Weeklings, The Nervous Breakdown, and collected in the following anthologies: The Beautiful Anthology; Writing off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema; and The Weeklings: Revolution #1 Selected Essays 2012-1013. Her short fiction has appeared in Salon, 52 Stories, Five Chapters, Sun Dog, […]

Reaching My Reader

This month’s column was inspired by an email exchange between myself and fellow WUer Deb Lacativa, who has recently discovered my work and, it humbly pleases me to say, has become a fan. It’s the reason she’s become a fan that I’d like to focus on here. In a nutshell it’s because we’re so much alike. We’re nearly the same age and shared a ton of common experiences “back in the day” (back, that is, before they had the phrase […]

Forthwringing Tonguishness

A client recently asked me why English is so bizarre.  She was trying to explain its quirks to a precocious, bi-lingual eight-year-old, and not doing very well.  Not that I did much better – English is a genuinely freaky language, with random spelling rules, no particular sentence structure, and far more words than any reasonable language needs.  Part of the reason it’s so confused is that it’s perfectly happy to steal useful words from just about anywhere it can get […]

Becoming a Stand-Up Writer

Welcome to 2015! For many of us, today is the first real workday of the new year. I always enjoy the “clean slate” feeling of starting a new year, and I’m usually eager to make some tweaks and changes to how I operate.

Some of those changes are simply about breaking some bad habits (e.g., no more chocolate-covered Pringles after 11PM), while others are about creating some new, better habits.

Getting butts *out* of chairs

As the svelte and savvy Porter Anderson observed in […]

Why We Write, Why We Stop, and How We Can Possibly Restart and Keep Going

photo by Sebastien Wiertz

I put out a call on Facebook a few days ago, asking writers who aren’t writing, why they aren’t writing. (I know some of my own reasons.) Of course, not writing because you know your creative process and the value of fallow fields is good. I’m interested in reaching out to those who’d rather be writing and aren’t or, for some reason or another, can’t. Here are some unrefined thoughts on the subject. (If I were […]

Writer Resolutions

Therese here. Just a quick reminder that our second Writer Unboxed Twitter chat will take place today at 1 p.m. EST on Anyone can participate; just look for — and use — the ‪#‎WUChat‬ hashtag. Be sure, too, that you’re following host Heather Webb (@msheatherwebb) and the Writer Unboxed Twitter account (@WriterUnboxed). Let’s recap 2014 — favorite books, accomplishments, and more — and discuss goals for 2015, including how to create new pathways to better fiction writing. […]

WU Un-Conference Wrap-up, Part 3

If you missed part 1 (HERE) and part 2 (HERE) of our WU Un-Con recap, please click through and catch up. Below is part 3 — the final recap of the WU Un-Con. 

Wake up, Writer Unboxeders. Day 3 awaits. #WUUncon

— CG Blake (@CGBlake1) November 6, 2014

Don Maass, How Good Manuscripts Go Wrong

What welcomes us into a story?

For Don, it’s engagement with the protagonist that matters the most.

This is usually the first way that good manuscripts go wrong.

Think about your […]

WU Un-Conference Wrap-up, Part 2

If you missed yesterday’s introduction to our WU Un-Con recap, please click HERE and catch up. Then come back!

Story and Plot
with Don Maass, Lisa Cron, and Brunonia Barry

Drawing by Melanie Conklin

Don: In the world of writing, we tend to feel that story is plot. They’re two different things.

Lisa: Story is how what happens affects someone in pursuit of a difficult goal and how they change as a result. The “how what happens” part is the plot. The story is about […]

WU Un-Conference Wrap-up, Part 1

Therese here to introduce you to Jeannine Walls Thibodeau. Jeannine has been working behind the scenes for WU for quite some time, helping out as a part of our guest-post team. She generously agreed to help recap the WU Un-Conference, utilizing notes from several sources, so that everyone in the WU audience might benefit from our gathering in Salem. Not an easy job, believe me. Today through Wednesday, you’ll see condensed takeaways–some jewels we think you’ll be able to use […]

What Media Do You Study for Storytelling?

photo by Francois de Halleux

Every year or so, I re-read Stephen King’s The Stand and Bag of Bones. King may not be master wordsmith or inspiration by your reckoning, but he is by mine. I love those books.

I don’t read these novels for enjoyment anymore, however; I read them to study King’s storytelling. King’s earthy writing style, memorable characters and pacing deeply resonate with me. Whenever I revisit those books, I’m reminded of why I love them […]

Be Like Ludwig

I make this same face when someone interrupts my writing or when I am not getting enough fiber in my diet.

A few weeks ago, a friend was talking about a Leonard Bernstein Omnibus lecture, the one in which Bernstein discusses the power and beauty of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Three Gs and an E flat. Bah Bah Bah BAAAH. Bah bah bah BAAAH.

Bernstein sits down at a piano and plays those four notes, explaining that while they are the theme around which Beethoven […]

Even More New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

Two years ago I posted a set of New Year’s resolutions for writers, which was well enough received that I posted another set of resolutions the following December. This holiday season, since I’m all about tradition (as opposed to being all about that bass), I’ve assembled several more resolutions for writers to consider as the new year approaches.

Some of the resolutions I’m proposing might initially seem to be in conflict with each other, but if you read on, I think […]