The Tribe’s the Thing

The Tribe’s the Thing

The trajectory of my writing career has never been a normal one (if there is such a thing). My major was English, not Creative Writing, because I loved reading and writing about literature (I still do), and I didn’t finish my graduate degree until I was thirty….

Writing in the Round

Writing in the Round

Writers have a complicated and ever-changing relationship with the reader. And by the reader, I mean that hypothetical audience to which you’re supposed to be writing, that intended receptacle for your wisdom, your crafted prose, the performance of your particular form of entertainment: the delivery of a story….

Notes from a Writers’ Conference

Notes from a Writers’ Conference

You shuffle from session to session, ingesting the proclamations of speakers as you would the invitations of a circus barker. Over here, a ten-step system for writing a synopsis! Step right up for everything you need to know about book marketing! Create intriguing characters! Hook readers with your first five words! Read more here.

Great Expectations in Reading (and the Not So Great)   

Great Expectations in Reading (and the Not So Great)  

I have a thing that I do. Whenever I visit an independent bookstore, I try to pick out a book or two with no preconceptions. That is, a book whose cover I haven’t seen, containing a story I haven’t read a review about, and preferably, written by an author whose name isn’t familiar. Because I read books and read about books so much, this takes a little bit of effort, but really, it’s not terribly difficult. Most bookstores will… Read more here.

It’s Alive!

It’s Alive!

This is, perhaps, one of the most famous lines in cinematic history. Uttered by the actor Colin Clive in his role as Doctor Victor Frankenstein, this utterance is delivered with a combination of elation and fear that borders on crazy. The realization that his experiment has succeeded seems to almost unhinge the doctor as he stumbles around, staring off-screen. Read more here.

Anticipation: A Writer’s Tool

Anticipation: A Writer’s Tool

One of my favorite books is Kent Haruf’s Plainsong. Sometimes, in conversations when I mention this, I find myself stumbling over a description of the book. “It’s about two elderly ranchers,” I’ll say, “and the small Colorado town they live in.” If the listener’s eyes start to glaze over… Read more here.

On Fear and Historical Houses

On Fear and Historical Houses

Writers are often afraid of many things. How do I start this book? How do I end it? Which parts are good? Which parts are bad? Am I telling too much? Showing too little? Can I trust my judgment? Is the writing good enough? Am I good enough? Will people like it? Will they understand me? Read more here