advice Archive

Episodia 1.1: Making Comedy and Paper with Liz Lemon

Author: | Categories: Uncategorized 12 Comments
If you didn’t have the pleasure of viewing “30 Rock” before its finale on January 31, allow me to introduce you to the funniest female sitcom character since Lucille Ball. Her name is Liz Lemon, and — as the head writer for “TGS with Tracy Jordan,” a live comedy show

Exit Strategy

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
In six weeks, I’ll be done with my MFA. No more workshops, no more craft classes, no more hanging out in the creative writers’ house, no more external structure or deadlines. It’ll be back to the years B.P.S. (Before Poetry School): making my own schedule for writing, revising, and

The Way We Talk

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 4 Comments
When I write, I often struggle with writing what falls within the quotation marks because I’ve been told conflicting things over the years about how to write dialogue. For most of my writing career, I tried to write dialogue the way my writing instructors taught me. An often-taught rule

Tips and Tricks: an Interview with Tom Parker

Author: | Categories: Writing 1 Comment
For today’s post, I am interviewing my long-time writing coach and mentor Tom Parker. I first met Tom at a writer’s workshop run out of University of California, Berkeley six years ago. He was the professor, and I was an overconfident young writer who needed guidance. Since then, he

Things I Wish I’d Always Known

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
I was teaching undergraduate creative writing last fall, and toward the end of the semester a few of my students began asking me about how, exactly, one becomes a writer. They wanted to know what classes they should take, what sorts of things they should be thinking about or

When a Workshop Goes Bad (Part 2)

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice No comments
Last week, I wrote about some bad experiences that I’ve had in writer’s workshops. Some of my past workshops fell apart because of: Tit-for-tat commenting: Writers exchanging immature cheap shots with each other. Generic commenting: Lazy comments that don’t help anyone in particular. Focusing on political issues: Arguments that

When a Workshop Goes Bad (Part 1)

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 1 Comment
I have been a part of many writer’s workshops. College, post-college, online, extension school, gathering of friends. You name it. I’ve done it. For the most part, I believe workshops made my writing better. After all, there’s only so much that you can perceive regarding your own words. Unless