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What’s Done is Done is Done Again

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As a creative writing instructor, I get asked two questions more than any others. The first is easy enough to answer: “How do I find time to write?” There’s no secret here—set a schedule and get to your desk. The second question, however, continues to stump me, both as a

Lit GIFs: The Tell-Tale Heart

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So it’s almost Halloween. Which means jack o’ lanterns and costumes and pumpkin-spiced everything. And, of course, Edgar Allan Poe, reigning king of high-school-English-textbook darkness. Cask of Amontillado, anyone?

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why You Should Plan Experiences

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It’s mid-October, and some of us are gearing up for NaNoWriMo, or NaNonWriMo. Some of us are just inspired by the changing seasons, and want to finally try some new thing we keep putting off. Or maybe we just want to actually read one of the books stacked on our nightstands. Unfortunately, we writers humans have

The Ploughshares Round Down: Short Stories as a Path to Literary Success

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret about the submissions in my slush pile. When one comes in, the first thing I do–before I have even read the first sentence of the letter–is skim it for the name of a publication I recognize. If I don’t

Literary Boroughs #56: Tucson, Arizona

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. Posts are by no means exhaustive. The series originally ran on our blog from May 2012 until April 2013.

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Stop Fearing the Business of Writing

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Last week, Guernica published an interview with art critic Ben Davis, which begins with Davis questioning the premise that “the central tension of the art empire is that between creativity and money.” Davis says there can obviously be tension between what sells and what an artist wants to express, but he argues that money also funds

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why Lena Dunham’s New Book is Worth $3.5 Million

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When I talk to a new potential client, one of the things we go over is potential advances. Most nonfiction writers get between $25,000 and $75,000; fiction writers, a fraction of that. Everyone who gets more than that did something remarkable to get there. During this conversation, many writers have

Lit GIFs: The Giver (and why I haven’t seen the movie)

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Let’s talk about The Giver. The Giver is a wonderful book by Lois Lowry. Many of us probably read it for school. Recently it was made into a movie, which I refuse to see because why in the world is Jonas cast as a teenager? He’s supposed to be twelve, people.

Literary Boroughs #55: Mexico City, Mexico

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. Posts are by no means exhaustive. The series originally ran on our blog from May 2012 until April 2013.

The Ploughshares Round-Down: We’re Over-Reliant on the Bucket List

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Having long hated the term “bucket list,” and having nevertheless thought about making one for myself (#MomentsOfWeakness), I was a complete sucker for Rebecca Mead’s recent New Yorker essay in which she questions its merits. In “Kicking the Bucket List,”  Mead asks whether such a list actually helps us carpe diem-ize our otherwise thoughtless lives, arguing that