Tag Archive 'advice for writers'

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 […]

Are You Publishable or Not? Reading the Tea Leaves.

Writing never feels more lonely than after you’ve sent your manuscript out to every agent and publisher you can think of and gotten nowhere. Of course, you can always take comfort in the long list of massively successful books that were initially rejected by nearly everyone who saw them. But for every brilliant book that […]


Only one machine stood between us and our goal: bringing our hockey-obsessed son to his first NHL game (Devils vs. Sharks) in Newark. The machine was a New Jersey Transit ticket kiosk in Manhattan’s Penn Station. No problem. The machines are fast. Slot your card, punch the screen and you’re on your way by rail […]

After You Publish

Back in 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and some friends launched a social networking website in his dorm room — Facebook. By 2007, he was a billionaire. In 1995, J. K. Rowling typed the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on a manual typewriter and, after numerous rejections, sold it to Bloomsbury Press for an […]

Dealing with Setbacks

In these days of relentless self-promotion, we authors generally avoid sharing our bad news. Our posts and tweets, our websites and interviews emphasise the positive: a publishing deal, an interesting writers’ festival, a new creative partnership. Sometimes we talk about fighting our way through adversity to achieve a goal. But only rarely do we feature […]

Layering: A look at Jennifer Weiner’s “Swim”

And now for something completely different. Instead of my explaining a single idea or craft point, I’d like us to look together at a complete short story, the way we would if we were in a classroom or a critique group. I’ll give you my take on it, but I’m eager to know yours as […]

The Artifacts of Everyday Life

We have lost Christopher Robin’s mother recently, and her estate and all her things must be settled. CR is back in England taking care of it. As you read this, I will be on my way. It’s been challenging to stick to my writing schedule, worrying and feeling the upheaval, and that was my first […]

10 Rules for Rewriting History

Today’s guest, Jennifer Cody Epstein, is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle and NBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, […]

When They Talk About You at #DBW14: You’re Branded

  NEW YORK—The Digital Book World Conference & Expo (DBW) isn’t designed for authors. And that’s fine. Various sectors of the industry! the industry! have every right to get together by and among themselves to consider things from their own viewpoints and on behalf of their own interests. As good as our authors are at contorting […]

Anything for the Story: Tension

Today’s guest is Clayton Lindemuth, with a post about tension and author integrity because first, they are linked, and second, learning to let go of our nice selves is critical to good writing. If the reader doesn’t perceive the reality of the challenge or conflict facing the protagonist, the story is weak. His debut, Cold […]

Scale: That All the Books Should Be Counted

  Caesar Augustus: All Is Forgiven And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. Luke 2:1, King James Version, New Testament That glow on the faces of so many of us Protestant ministers’ children this time of year is […]