Tag Archive 'advice for writers'

Feeding Your Readers Information: A Look at a Master

    As so often happens, the comments on last month’s piece (What Do Your Readers Know and When Do They Know It) showed that there was a lot more to the topic than I could cover in a single column.  So I thought it would help to look in some detail at how a master […]

What Kids Have Taught Me About Writing

As a writer, it can be remarkably helpful to spend time around kids. When I’m not doing my own writing I work with kids ages 8-18 on everything from short stories to college essays, and at least once a week something happens that takes my breath away. Young kids—eight to eleven-year-olds— who love to write, […]

Emotional Work

I’ve been teaching a new kind of craft lately. It’s emotional craft, the understanding and planning of a novel’s emotional effect on readers. Most authors focus on characters’ emotions, principally the much discussed issue of showing versus telling. That’s fine but limiting. For readers, most of the emotional experience of a novel doesn’t come from […]

We Are What We Write?

Kim here to welcome and introduce WU’s latest contributor, Therese Anne Fowler. Therese is the author of the New York Times bestselller Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and three other novels. She has a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology, an MFA in creative writing, and occasionally teaches writing workshops at North Carolina State University. Therese […]

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 […]

Surviving a Drought

I was sitting in D.C.’s Lincoln Theater about three months ago, listening to The Milk Carton Kids and Sarah Jarosz, talented folk musicians who sing some of the most gorgeous harmonies I’ve ever heard. The theater itself is a visual concert—a beautiful 1920’s-era building, with gold ceilings and crystal chandeliers and lovely arched moldings and […]

The World According to You

How do you see the world?  Is it the Land of Milk and Honey or The Hunger Games?  Is the glass half empty or half full?  Is our human existence hilarious, serene, tragic or full of hope?  Do you sort, filter, organize and understand everything around you primarily through feelings, family, cost versus benefit, politics, […]

Stirring Higher Emotions

What was the most emotional day of your life?  Google for people’s stories and you’ll read a lot that are probably like your own: birth, death, betrayal, trauma, marriage, divorce, miscarriage, failure, second chance, recovery, a dream achieved, a confession of love, getting a helping hand. Now, those are events.  Let’s look at the emotions […]

You Say You Want a Resolution

I know, I know—an article in early January about New Year’s resolutions? How original is that? But I happen to be a list maker junkie and New Year’s resolutions are the mother of all lists, so I can’t help it. I look forward to setting new goals, charting my progress, marking off the accomplishments on […]

Creating Unforgettable Characters

I’m fascinated by personality tests, you know, the kind you run across all the time online or in magazines. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test twice (I’m an INFJ), the Keirsey Temperament Test (also an INFJ) and studied the Enneagram (I’m a 2). And while all of this is fodder for good cocktail party conversation and […]