Category Archives: Writing Advice

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: “Die Empty”

If you’re on Twitter, you likely noticed that a new tool took over the twitterverse last week, allowing everyone to identify and re-post their very first tweets. My first? Ahem: I retweeted a friend’s observation that “The writers of the show He-man were frickin’ geniuses”. I … Continue reading

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WORKSHOP OF FIRE!!!!

It’s your senior year of college. What kind of writer are you? Do you start writing a story eight hours before it’s due? Do you fictionalize your latest fight with your jerk-face manager or diva housemate? Does every one of … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Creativity Is Neither Magic Nor Madness

At the end of 2009, I was hunched in the passenger seat of a van, weeping down a midwest interstate. We’d just recorded an album with a Grammy-winning producer, paying for it with months of fan-funding hype. And we were … Continue reading

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How to Avoid Homelessness and Starvation As a Writer

As the MFA vs. NYC book launches, as Emily Gould’s essay from said book makes the rounds, and as the bookternet explodes over the latest publishing controversy, I can’t help but be bored by the whole school vs. experience argument. … Continue reading

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Novelists, You’re Doing It Right

You’re trying to write a novel. Sometimes, it’s exhilarating: characters wake you in the night, yammering, springing into action. Sometimes, it’s excruciating: you stare into blankness, and finally, when the words arrive, they reek of your incompetence. It’s taking forever, … Continue reading

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Blitz Writing: Writing When There is No Time

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 … Continue reading

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So Sue Me…

Consider this a public service announcement. In 2010, I was nearly sued by the estate of The Music Man. Over an apostrophe and the letter S. In a literary short story. Bear with me, because this story is about you.

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Hey Poets. Get in the News.

YOU GUYS. On January 29th, headlines declared that a poetry-loving schoolteacher in Russia killed his friend for asserting that prose was “the only real literature.” (Read the (short) story here.) Um. This is not how you should get in the news. But … Continue reading

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One Year In—Writing the Novel: Rebecca Makkai

After one year of writing my novel, I took stock of what I’d accomplished—which seemed like very little. Would writing always feel like flailing? How do novelists find their way through? For guidance, I turned to published novelists, whose interviews … Continue reading

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Should I Write A Sonnet?

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