Archive for the 'REAL WORLD' Category

Let’s Talk About Me

“Let’s talk about me!” Generally speaking, that’s not good advice for handling yourself in social situations.  Better is to listen and ask questions.  Being interested in others is the way to make friends and influence people.  (Smile too.  That helps.) In bonding readers to characters on the page, though, the reverse is true.  We open […]

How Does Your Novel Grow? The Writing/Gardening Connection

Perhaps this essay is only my desperate attempt to connect to spring in spite of the seven inches of additional snow currently falling on my yard and life. I should be glad to have a reason to stay inside and stick to my writing schedule, before gardening season distracts me. But I am itchy to […]

The Dangers of Storytelling

As writers, storytelling is our business and our art. It’s our core skill. Writing is about putting words together to create a coherent tale, taking our readers on an unexpected journey, and delivering a satisfactory conclusion at the end of that delightful ride. You know what doesn’t cohere as cleanly? Life. I’m not one of […]

Musings on Genres, Shame, and Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I don’t tell my ‘academic’ colleagues that I write fiction. I don’t talk much about my non-fiction writing to my fiction-writing community. I LOVE e-readers because they don’t reveal whether I’m reading a steamy romance, popular history, angst-ridden literary novel, nineteenth-century article on hospitals, or an idiot’s guide to something technical that even my nine-year-old […]

The Science of Creating Authentic Characters

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Meg Rosoff (one of our contributors here at Writer Unboxed) in Salem at the un-con. I was intrigued by her discussion about hot and cold spots in the brain, the emotional poignancy that resides in those zones, and how to access them. Throughness, she called it; an opening […]

Becoming a Student of Your Own Creative Process

How do you best create? How do you best write, collaborate, increase the quality of your work, improve your ability to focus, or increase the quantity of output? What actions are you taking to build a body of work that is both meaningful, and powered by a sense of momentum? Each of you will have […]

The Sundance Kid

Last month I went to the Sundance Film Festival for the first time ever because, against all odds, I had a film premiering there. The film is a documentary called Misery Loves Comedy, and it basically asks the question, “Do you have to be effed up to do stand-up, or does doing stand-up eff you […]

The Shiny Everything and The Long Game

After reading Therese and Porter’s posts on the digital world and its effects on our thinking and productivity, I’ve been thinking a lot on the subject. How does all of this affect my life, my creativity? Confession: despite my reputation as a flighty Gemini, I am not a multitasker. It’s precisely because of my scatteredness […]

5 Digital Media Resources for Every Writer’s Toolbox

Since 2010, I’ve been actively teaching students of all backgrounds about using digital media for creative endeavors, whether through traditional university courses or through online classes. I also send out a (not quite) monthly newsletter introducing writers to digital media tools. The following resources have surfaced again and again as the most valuable. If you […]

How to Nurture Your Fan Base

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. Fans are one of the greatest rewards of being a writer. It wouldn’t take much, since there’s so little money in publishing, but still. A loyal […]

If the ‘Elastic Mind’ Snaps: A Lenten Lullaby

    This will be my last post until Monday, April 13,2015. No, not me.  (You wish.) No, that’s a colleague, the memoirist Kathy Pooler. She’s a good, cold-weather Catholic, mind you, so Lent means a lot more to her than it does to troppo Protestants like me. Following a retreat with some author-colleagues, Pooler has […]

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 […]