Three Fundamentals to a Successful Writing Career

What makes one a successful writer? I was forced to contemplate that question yesterday morning while having brunch with friends from out of town. One of their daughters is a freshman at a prestigious liberal-arts college. She has no idea what she wishes to major in, but knows she loves to write. So she asked …

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Point of View: Did You Choose the Right One?

There's a great SNL skit from a few years ago where Tina Fey plays a rather trashy woman speaking into the camera to someone she knows: "I saw you on House Hunters. You picked the wrong house, bitch!" Without the vitriol, I find myself thinking that sometimes while reading a novel about the author's choice of point …

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What is Your Writing Process? Writing in Order

Many fiction authors seem to have a preference in writing a novel; they either must write the book in order from beginning to end, or they must follow their muse where it leads them, writing ahead as needed. It appears there is consensus among novelists for a beginning-to-end approach, however. That would be consistent with …

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What is Your Writing Process? First Drafts

A non-writer may ask you, "How is your book coming?" A fellow writer may ask you, "What draft are you on?" To the first question I usually reply, "It's going well, thanks," and then quickly change the subject. To the second, my typical response is, "It depends." Many creative writers plow through their WIP in …

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The Artist’s Road is Again Named a Top Blog for Writers

Well, that didn't take long! Two weeks after reviving The Artist's Road blog, it has been named to another top-blogs-for-writers list. This time the honor comes from The Independent Publishing Magazine. I'm included by Joe McLean in a Top-Nine list (who has time for ten?) alongside a number of really impressive blogs, most of which I have …

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A Survivor’s Guide to AWP

It's one of the largest annual gatherings of creative writers, publishers, and educators in the United States--usually well in excess of 10,000 attendees--and the largest such event for literary writers. Once again I'll be attending the AWP Conference & Bookfair, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs' annual extravaganza. This year the hordes will be …

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Using Extended Metaphors in Your Writing – Part One

One element of creative writing that I struggled with in my MFA program was the use of metaphor, particularly ones extended across long passages. I bemoaned my struggle from one of my Vermont College of Fine Arts residencies. But as I progressed in my studies I came to realize I was too hard on myself, …

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