writing Archive

For Those About To Write (We Salute You) #2: Prompts!

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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! Alrighty friends, it’s been two weeks since we kicked things off by putting pen(cil) to paper—how did everyone do? I was

Episodia 1.2: Dissecting the Downton Craze

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When PBS first aired “Downton Abbey” two years ago, viewers across the nation had no idea that our lives were incomplete—but judging from the show’s reception we were all missing this episodic saga of one British aristocrat’s struggle to maintain his traditions while the outside world (and some of

How to Leave School (Without Leaving Your Writing Behind)

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At the risk of sounding like a John Mayer song, I’ve never believed in the real world. Or rather, I’ve never believed in the non-real world, some supposed realm that acts as a cozy womb for practitioners of glorified hobbies, like extreme sports and graduate school. This idea seems

Episodia 1.1: Making Comedy and Paper with Liz Lemon

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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

For Those About To Write (We Salute You) #1: Pencil On Paper

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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!  I have a bookmark list on my browser that seems to scroll on forever. It consists almost entirely of creative writing

The No-Guilt Guide to New Year’s Resolutions (staff post)

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If you’ve been feeling guilty because you’ve already fallen off the wagon, we have some advice for you. You can: 1. Figure out how to get back on the wagon, 2. decide the wagon was no good anyway, or 3. Find a new wagon. Read Ploughshares’ staffer’s tips and tricks for

How Do You Get Past the Sirens?

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Several weeks ago I wrote a post called Why I’m Not On Twitter (Yet). I spoke about my compulsive/addictive tendencies as they relate to the Internet, and expressed my concern that joining Twitter might not be the best thing for me, my family, or my work. I received an

The Writing Life: Five Things My Third-Grader Taught Me

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1. Writing is fun. In one of my favorite films, Chariots of Fire, Harold Abrahams explains his motivation for running: I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor; four feet wide, with ten lonely seconds to justify my whole existence. The film goes on, of course, to

Momentum

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I’ve heard of a mythical thing that some writers get to experience: momentum. Like a heavy stone, a writing career starts out motionless and seemingly without hope of ever moving, but then it starts to roll, and, sometimes, builds speed. Momentum can happen to “good writers,” or so I’ve

The Black Hole of Revision

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You can potentially revise forever, as there’s always something that can be improved in your story. You could’ve added another dimension to a major or minor character. That word you used in paragraph 14, the third sentence…was that the right word? Or is there another one that is more