Author Archive

Retelling Tales: A Writer’s Guide

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So much of modern cinema and fiction revolves around the anti-hero and the sympathetic villain. Our culture seems to need our protagonists to be damaged or troubled in some way. It’s as if in some grand pursuit of Nietzsche’s rejection of absolutes, we can only accept shades of gray.

Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch

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If you live in a smaller city and you have even a speck of success as a writer, chances are at some point you’ll be tapped for what I call “The Ladies Who Lunch Literati.” Sometimes they might be fans of your work; in my case they are often

Literary Lines that Make a Mark

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Recently I enjoyed a wondrous weekend in Austin during which I added a third tattoo to my collection. It so happens this is my second literary tattoo. The first, inked roughly a year ago, was a celebration of a number of triumphs, among them my first paid publication and

I’m in Love With a Writer: A Survival Guide

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Being in a relationship with someone in the same profession is tricky business. While there is a shared understanding of the ins and outs, it can also cause friction, particularly in competitive fields. Dating a writer was one of my bigger relationship snafus—his ego often made our duo a

Seven Types of Writer That Don’t Play Well With Others

Author: | Categories: Writing 6 Comments
Wromance, a word I invented, refers to a friendship between writers at its ideal—respectful, supportive, and considerate. You champion each other but never abuse your relationship. Friendship is not confused for a professional agreement or misconstrued for therapy. Your commonality may lie in a shared passion, but it does

Blitz Writing: Writing When There is No Time

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This time of year, many of my friends start looking for summer shares, beach houses, and too-good-to-be-true getaways. While they litter Pinterest with snapshots of cozy cottages within walking distance of the ocean, I drift away on a different flight of fancy: writing retreats and residencies. I pour over

Fictional Writer Master Class: Stop the Presses

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Rosalind Russell owes me a semester of my life. Specifically, the spring of my sophomore year in college when I spent a misguided few months taking Reporting. At the time, I told people it was because I wanted to emulate Frank Rich during his theater critic years. The truth,

Fictional Writer Master Class: Fowles and the Fiction Bender

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“But rather, what the devil am I going to do with you?” In John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the unnamed narrator poses this question to himself about the character sleeping before him. Only he isn’t just the narrator; he’s much more than that. He’s part of a group

Fictional Writer Master Class: The Bamboozlers

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One of the perks of working in academia is ordering desk copies of books. While more often than not these things are tedious tomes that would put me to sleep, never mind my students, sometimes I happen upon gems, such as The Twentieth-Novel: An Introduction by R.B. Kershner. I’ll

Fictional Writer Master Class: the King’s Men

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Stephen King has a particular knack for fictionalizing the tortured lives of writers. Scribes of varied success people the pages of his works, from protagonists to supporting characters. (Under the Dome’s Thurston Marshall is a recent Ploughshares guest editor!) Many of these characters are also readable as Author Avatars