Toni Morrison Archive

Research Unleashed! And Leashed.

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 5 Comments
I knew I had a problem when I started envying my dog’s cone collar. Now, my dog’s problem was a hot spot. Allergic, itchy, hot, and double-coated, my German Shepherd had chewed her hind leg raw over the course of a single evening. My problem was research. Engrossing, surprising,

WWTMD? (What Would Toni Morrison Do?)

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice No comments
Lately, during the sad, unproductive stretches of writing my first novel, I stare at an empty page and whisper, “What Would Toni Morrison Do?” This is the closest I come to prayer. Please show me the way, I say to my favorite writers. Please give me the vision to

Get Real! Or Maybe Don’t Get Real? A Conversation with Lincoln Michel (Part 1)

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
Recently, on social media, Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel questioned the label of “realism.” I write “realism,” and I’m branching into other genres, so I introduced myself and asked a few more questions. Our conversation, conducted over e-mail, spanned several days, topics, and (starting today) will also span two blog entries

Writers With Responsibilities: Be Who You Are

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Dear Sally, Do you have the magic spell that can inspire me to write again? I have not written anything in so long. Whenever I write about parenting or families, I feel like “this has all been said before. Why write about it?” I also find that it’s been

New (and Old) Stories (and Poems) from the Midwest

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 In a previous post I wrote about Midwestern literature and spent a lot of time defending the region against attack. But there certainly are folks who enjoy the flatland’s contributions to American letters. In fact, more than a few commented and tweeted about their favorites. To keep this conversation

Episodia 1.11: Character Differentiation

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During the first creative writing class I ever taught, a student approached me with a particular challenge. She had a wonderful premise for a novel that revolved around a pack of women who worked in a 1970s factory in the Midwest. But even with a strong idea, she was

From the Slush Pile: Don’t Fall Flat

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Alfred Hitchcock says, “Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.”  That is absolutely true for the stories that are being passed on to editors. It is your job to tell the story but get rid of the boring bits. A reader wants to travel seamlessly from scene

Ploughshares Fantasy Blog Draft Round 1 – Buckle Your Corn Belts vs Vonnegut to the Chopper!

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Round 1 of the Ploughshares Fantasy Blog Draft continues! Last week The Mighty Duck Palahniuks sprinted out to a quick 33-5 lead against Leave it to Cheever only to let off the gas midway through the week and only barely eke out a 35-28 victory. Alvarez’s “role players” nearly

Fantasy Blog Draft – Round 1 – Editors

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We’ve established the rules for the game, the teams have been decided, and the managers have been locked away in their Fantasy Blog Draft War Rooms for the past two weeks, chain smoking and debating whether or not to hire Gordon Lish or Ezra Pound. And now: welcome to

Juneteenth and Some of Its Books

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Round-Up No comments
Today is June 19. For those that don’t know, this is a holiday celebrated in some parts of America as Juneteenth. Also known as Freedom Day, it marks the day that the Union army arrived in Texas in 1865 and actually enforced the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years