writing Archive

A Walk Around the Lake

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“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” —Wallace Stevens I think about writing more than I actually write. I think about writing when I wake up in the morning, how I should dash to my computer and type up whatever thoughts I had just dreamed about

Episodia 1.9: Every Camp Story is a Ghost Story

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I will never, ever tire of reading about summer camp. Inspired by a recent re-reading of my favorite short story—“Brownies” by Z.Z. Packer—I spent the entire month of June in literary camp land. I started with Anton DiSclafani’s unforgettable debut The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls; then I moved on

For Those About To Write (We Salute You) #7: Show & Tell

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For Those About To Write (We Salute You) will present a writing exercise to the Ploughshares community every few weeks. We heartily encourage everyone reading to take part!  Okay. This last exercise, Stop, Look, and Listen, was a challenge. I feel sheepish about this, but continually checking my phone

Episodia 1.7: Lost Novels and Love Triangles

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Lately I’ve been thinking about beginnings, endings, and that terribly murky time between a writer completing one project and starting another. After recently finishing a memoir, I’ve been itching to write a novel. I have a strong start to a new one—it’s always thrilling to be at the beginning of something, when all

Beach Writing

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I was elbow-deep in my first novel when my second novel arrived. Since Novel 2 concerns premature babies, its timing seemed appropriate. For a week, I pacified Novel 2 with light research and a thousand words of writing. There, I told it. Wait. I headed back to the hard,

Roundup: Writers and Their Mentors

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. This week we bring you

Writing is Like Mixing a Drink

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Mixing a drink is seductive in a way writing will never be. The ice sweating in the glass. The chucka, chucka of the metal shaker growing cold in your hands. The invisible melding going on inside that shaker, alcohols blending to become something all together new. The nifty garnishes:

“It’s Not You, It’s Me” & Other Reasons We Don’t Finish Good Books

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You’re sitting across from someone you really dig. One of you is fiddling with a napkin edge or straw wrapper, avoiding eye contact. One of you finally says: It’s not you. It’s me. And then the unraveling begins. One-sided endings are tough, and they occur in more than just

It’s About Point of View

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Note: Following the Marathon bombings, and the subsequent citywide lockdown, we took a conscious decision to keep the blog free of commentary about both—despite several contributors volunteering. A literary journal isn’t the place for punditry or analysis of current events, we decided, and there were plenty of other places

New Blog Feature: Writing Lessons

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We’re excited to announce a new feature for the Ploughshares Blog geared towards writing students: “Writing Lessons.” In this feature writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. The exciting part of this feature is that we want to hear from you, writing