inspiration Archive

The Words Beneath the Sound: Music Inspired by Literature

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As Virginia Woolf famously observed, the best writing often begins with a rhythmical “wave in the mind,” an inner tempo around which syntax and diction are arranged, a guiding beat of artistic intuition that, when struck upon, makes it nearly impossible to set down the wrong word. Other writers

Blood Memory

“There is only one of you in all time; this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”—Martha Graham Dance was my first foray into art, and I studied it for sixteen years with the kind

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

Writers With Responsibilities: Damn the Dog Days!

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Dear Sally: In June, when I was running around from school picnics, to award ceremonies, graduations, lacrosse jamborees, school plays and concerts, I longed for the dog days of summer and no morning routine. But now summer is here and I can’t wait for school to start. Help. Your

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

The Ploughshares Round-Down: “Die Empty”

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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 mean, obvs my friend spoke truth. Still, by taking that

Four Reasons to Write the Hell Out of (What’s Left of) 2013

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Okay writers. You may be secretly planning to tread water until the New Year, at which point you’ll of course begin tackling your epic plans for Writerly Greatness. 2014 is my year, you scrawl in your Moleskine. Now where is my pie? But there are all kinds of reasons to

The Revenge Society: The Plot Thickens

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Nothing hits the literary palate with quite the delightful punch of a well-spun revenge story. Not the third-act, Scooby-Doo reveal that a killer did it all for revenge, or even the author’s personal vendetta against some person(s)—no, I’m talking of revenge plots where the actions unfurls around a quest

The Revenge Society

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A few weeks ago, I was furious at someone on a level normally reserved for politics. For about three days I didn’t know how to defuse my anger; I just complained and ranted to any poor person who came within ear shot. It was eating at me, how much

Do Characters Dream of Left-Justified Sheep? (Part Two)

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How can you avoid bad dream-writing? Part One of this post appeared on Monday. All right, let’s talk about the good things dreams can do for your writing process. Let’s have some nice dreams. Real-ize Your Dream  Have you ever used a dream as inspiration for writing? George Saunders did this