Home / Writing

Writing

The Hack’s Guide to Playing the Waiting Game

  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. Congrats on submitting your manuscript! But the euphoria of finally sending your work to an agent or editor is quickly …

Read More »

Linguistic Interventions (Et Tu, Bayer?)

Image: Tag line shot from Bayer’s ‘This Is Why We Science’ commercial series Don’t Call Me in the Morning Writers are people far better suited than most to do a service to society–even to take on a responsibility–of offering guidance on language and how we use it. But we rarely …

Read More »

Career Writers: Embrace Paradox

photo adapted / Horia Varlan At the Writer UnBoxed UnConference last week, I led a session in which we explored emotional strategies that would keep writers in good stead for the long haul. Of the many we discussed, the necessity of embracing paradox struck a fresh chord with those present, …

Read More »

Other People’s Books

Flickr Creative Commons: Vicente Occasionally, you hear writers say they never read the work of other authors, especially writing in the same genre as they are, and especially if they’re currently in the process of writing a book themselves. The reason given is usually that they are afraid of being …

Read More »

What Really Drives Your Characters?

There’s a lot of writing advice that tells you to find your characters’ goals. If you can work out what drives them in their lives, you can use those goals to drive the story. Most of this advice will tell that your character should have two goals: internal and external. …

Read More »

Readings for Writers: Between History and Myth

I never imagine Eduardo Galeano sitting at a desk writing. I imagine him wielding a sword, brutal in its discernment of the distance between how things are and how they could be. In an age of sound bites and “truthiness,” Galeano dares to connect past and present in order to …

Read More »

The Happy Go Lucky Guide To Problem- & Maniac-Free Travel

Photo Credit: R. Miller: Clown Hotel In 1947, the first living critters to be launched into space were fruit flies—they were sent up with some corn so they’d not be hungry (I don’t know why this amuses me, but every time I read it I laugh; I’m laughing now … …

Read More »

What I Didn’t Expect to Learn at This Year’s Uncon

 Among the great joys and benefits of teaching is the opportunity to learn from my students. That point hit home dramatically this week at Uncon – or rather, at lunch just before registration began. I happened to arrive at the Hawthorne Hotel restaurant shortly before another conference attendee, L. Deborah …

Read More »

Don’t Take No for an Answer

Flickr Creative Commons: duncan c “No.” “Not right for us.” “Not right at this time.” “Nope.” “Nah.” “Um…” “There’s no easy way to say this, but…” “It’s not you, it’s the book.” “It’s not the book, it’s you.” “No.” “No.” “No.” Sound familiar? I mean, I could go on, but …

Read More »

The Two Types of Archetype

Character archetypes have power.  They elevate characters.  Model characters on archetypes and they become more than just people, they become they very embodiments of some aspect of human nature.  They become large, legendary, eternal.  With our human qualities exaggerated, we are able to clearly see ourselves. Archetypal characters leave us …

Read More »