Posts Tagged: writing advice

Storytelling Is a Search: An Interview with Sequoia Nagamatsu

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Sequoia Nagamatsu discusses his debut collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone, grief as a character, and the intersection of ancient myth and the modern world. ...more

The Real Lives of Working Writers

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Bestselling and award-winning writers Danielle Trussoni and Walter Kirn host the Writerly podcast, a weekly discussion of all things pertaining to the real lives of working writers. From getting and firing an agent, to book publicity, to contracts, to working with an editor, to writing your first draft—Writerly will cover it all.

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The Rumpus Interview with Alice Mattison

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Alice Mattison discusses her newest book, The Kite and the String, a meditation on her lifelong journey through the craft of writing, the joys of teaching writing, and the importance of community. ...more

The Daily Struggle

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Lord knows the world has changed since I wrote this talk, but when the world falls to pieces around us, especially when the world falls to pieces, writers will still sit down to write. As Beckett tells us, even when we have “no power to express” and “no desire to express,” we still have “the obligation to express.” Telling stories allows the reader or the audience to see through the eyes of another, and generates empathy that we need now more than ever.

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That Painful Money Subject

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Os&1s Reads’s The Art of Commerce talks with Merritt Tierce, author of Love Me Back, about the relationship between writers and money:

Publishing is a machine that does what it does. You’re grateful, of course, to have the connection to it, because part of what it does is present your book to thousands and thousands of readers.

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The Storming Bohemian Punks the Muse #7: The Art of the Accidental Selfie

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One recent hot weekday afternoon, I told my partner—the guy who created the “Punk the Muse” logo and draws its cartoons—that I wanted to get out and about. We’d been sitting at home too long. Moon’s Handbook for Northern California revealed an abandoned mine, with a ghost town and an old Western cemetery, a half hour’s drive from our home by the Carquinez Bridge.

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Publish a Book in Twelve Easy Steps

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Comedian Sara Benincasa is no stranger to being a working writer—in fact, she just wrote a book about it. Now, at Medium, she shares her secrets on getting published. Accessible and funny, Benincasa offers tips like “NO MONEY UPFRONT BECAUSE ANY AGENT WHO DOES THAT IS A CROOK,” details about advances and royalties, and the always-important advice to “mostly just keep writing a lot.”

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Telling, Not Showing

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As I processed a dominant Euro-American writing pedagogy from the perspective of an aspiring fiction writer and an immigrant critic of color, I couldn’t stop wondering: are we, in 21st-century America, overvaluing a sight-based approach to storytelling? And could this be another case of cultural particularity masquerading itself as universal taste?

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Handling Rejection from the Other Side

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I never heard editors talk about how disturbed and insecure writers might become as a result of relentless rejection, living every day with what James Salter called “the feeling of injustice.” It was more fun for editors to characterize their jobs as overseeing petting zoos full of needy misfits and narcissists, a point of view that was always amusing to other editors but infuriating to writers.

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Structure as Lightning Rod

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Writing for The Millions, M.C. Mah turns over all the cards in the deck on structure in storytelling. He gathers words of wisdom—and many metaphors—from luminaries like John McPhee, Borges, Vonnegut, and George Saunders, and then links the contemporary “horoscopic style” of structuring to an “anxiety about a better way to tell a story…” possibly “synonymous with aiming for the cheap seats of genre.”

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Rethink Your First Chapter

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For Catapult, Anuradha Roy talks about the process of receiving editorial feedback and how we’re inclined to react poorly to that feedback. Roy takes us from the phone call from her brand-new publisher, suggesting she re-think her first chapter, to her old-wisdom, pottery influenced conclusion:

I now see fiction—my own and that of others—as work paused but never finished.

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The Storming Bohemian Punks the Muse #3: Clocking The Muse

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It’s time to write a column, paint a picture, compose a song, draft an outline: whatever. Creative expression doesn’t happen by itself, we have to work at it. You know where this is going, don’t you?

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Outside the Lit Community, Looking In

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Most writers, especially those who are just starting out, feel lost and lonely in a literary world that seems to have pre-constructed cliques that are so hard to infiltrate. Anne Korkeakivi, an ex-pat and ever-traveling author with literary connections spread around the world, tells us that we are all peripheral to the literary community, and that every writer constructs their own community in multiple places, especially in the age of social media, which allows us to limitlessly connect with other literary-minded people, no matter their time zone.

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You Have to Get Up

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Corporate escapee-turned-author Xu Xi shared a few choice fiction writing tips with the Jakarta Post. She suggests utilizing the formulas in spreadsheets to calculate timelines and characters’ ages, and recharging your writing energy by getting up from your desk and “being responsible for yourself”—which means cleaning up the house and doing other chores, simple tasks that teach the discipline needed to carry over into writing.

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No More Writing Advice Listicles

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The Internet is flooded with copied and re-copied lists of writing advice from “legendary” writers from all genres and time periods, shuffled over and over in “Top Ten Quotes About Writing” articles. At Lit Hub, Guy Gavriel Kay wants us to ditch these over-processed listicles, make our own rules, and remember that there is value in “being ‘alone’ in creativity.”

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