Tag Archive 'writing'

Newton’s Third Law of Writing

Flickr Creative Commons: Geoff Ackling

Newton’s Third Law of Writing

 

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

 

Take a look at this passage from a workshop submission.  It’s set in the depths of the depression.  Mary Ruth and her family have just moved into a poor neighborhood, and she’s out walking past a home where two vicious dogs are tied outside:

 

     Mary Ruth slowed when she noticed a third rope tied around an old, leaning tree on the [...]

O, Brave New (Adult) World!

“Emergence” by Alice Popkorn (Flickr)

Today’s guest is Lorin Oberweger. Lorin has been an independent editor and story development coach for almost twenty years, and her company Free Expressions also offers some of the country’s most highly regarded writing workshops. Lorin and New York Times Bestselling Author Veronica Rossi—writing together as Noelle August—are launching their new adult trilogy this month, beginning with the novel Boomerang. Says Lorin, “Noelle August is an anagram for Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger. Just kidding, it’s [...]

Stroke Clinic

By Atos, Flickr Creative Commons

Our guest today is Marybeth Whalen, author of five novels. The newest one The Bridge Tender releases this month and brings readers back to Sunset Beach, North Carolina. Marybeth is the cofounder of the popular site, She Reads.

I am passionate about the craft of writing and encouraging other writers in that craft.

She and her husband Curt have been married for twenty-two years and are the parents of six children—ranging in age from college to elementary [...]

It’s a Secret! (Or Maybe Not?)

Wikimedia Commons

When I first started writing fiction, I’d freely share the specifics of whatever story I was writing.

But then…after I’d tell someone about my latest greatest idea, it would jinx me. No, I don’t mean it literally, but inevitably if I told someone what I was writing, I’d stop. Either the person would say something that deterred me—like she or he had just read a book exactly like the one I was writing—or when I said the idea out loud [...]

Letter to A Lost Boy

Flickr Creative Commons: spodzone

Dear Jake

For the past five years I’ve joked about “my stalker” – the passionate fan who began following me when he was fourteen, telling me that Just In Case changed his life.

You, in other words.

Your early emails talked about a girlfriend (who never really existed) and were breezy and cheerful, but the truth soon began to emerge.

You were a self-harmer.  You attempted suicide on numerous occasions.  You were bullied at school.  You lived with domestic violence.  [...]

Plot vs. Heart

Did you watch this year’s Super Bowl broadcast?

The demolition of the Denver Broncos by the Seattle Seahawks was a masterpiece of ferocious defense.  Denver’s golden boy quarterback Peyton Manning set a Super Bowl record for completed passes (34 of 49) but even with the help of receiver Demaryius Thomas (who himself caught a record 13 passes for 118 yards in gains) Manning could not, but once, break through Seattle’s arm-locked defensive line.

For you, what were the most exciting moments in [...]

“It’s Complicated.” (Wrong Answer.)

Photo by Matthew Schultz

I’m not sure whether to be heartened or dismayed by the number of my students and editorial clients who exhibit the same problem I routinely have as a writer.

If asked what the story is about—what the protagonist wants, why he wants it, what stands in his way—I often encounter the same creased brow and thoughtful nod I provided my own teachers, with the inevitable, “It’s complicated.”

And the response is equally inevitable: “That’s exactly the wrong answer.”

To [...]

Perfecting the Mashed Genre Recipe

Mashup by Flickr’s qthomasbower

Today’s guest Jeannie Ruesch wrote her first story at the age of the six, prompting her to give up an illustrious, hours-long ambition of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and declare that writing was her destiny. That journey to destiny took a few detours along the way, including a career in marketing and design.

Her first novel, a fairytale-like historical romance, was published in 2009, but the darker side of life had always captivated her. After a [...]

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 grant based on Kilmoon, her first novel; she is currently working on the next novel in the series.

 This first in Alber’s new County Clare Mystery [...]

10 Tips about Process

@istock.com: Atro Ydur

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 understanding of my own writing process, something I didn’t have a clue about while working on my first two novels.

Today, I thought [...]

10 Rules for Rewriting History

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (Wikimedia Commons)

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, with her husband, two daughters and an exceptionally needy Springer Spaniel.

Jennifer Epstein joins us to offer [...]

The Gift of Wounds

photo by alice popkorn

None of us makes it through life without some kind of pain and loss and heartache. We are all of us, broken or wounded in some way. Some of these wounds arise from tragic circumstances: the loss of a loved when far before their time, abuse, neglect, betrayal.

But sometimes brokenness happens simply in the way any much used item becomes broken: a handle falls off after too many years of lifting too heavy a load, we [...]