Persistence

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Everybody tells you that success requires persistence, lots of trying and failing and trying again. Of course, those people have usually already succeeded. Continue reading

The Novella Dilemma

Novella: a work of fiction intermediate in length and complexity between a short story and a novel.

(Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com)

So here’s the situation. You sat down to write a story. You didn’t think about form or length. You just wanted to tell this particular tale. When you finished, you found that it was 20,000 words long. “Gee,” you thought. “That seems kind of long for a short story.” And then you did a little research, and you found that most literary journals want stories of less than around 5,000 words (some less than 3,000).

oops

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Resources for Writers, Part 1

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Whenever I talk with someone who’s venturing into the weird and wonderful world of writing, I inevitably get this question: “Do you know of any books that would be good for me?” As a matter of fact, I do. The bookcase in my front hall houses dozens of such volumes. Some are essays about writing and creativity; some are about the writing life (such as Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life); some focus on craft; some are resources on specific topics I’ve written about or intend to (Deborah Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook is a gem for those writing about murder); some contain writing prompts or odd facts designed to stir up the muse (The Book of Useless Information, by Noel Botham and The Useless Information Society). Continue reading

The Magic of the Hour

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“I don’t have time to write!”

If I were to conduct a scientific survey of the reasons people who say they want to be writers don’t write, I’ll bet that this would be #1. There are plenty of others—family and work would likely rank as #2 and 3–but as often as not, I imagine those would be tied into #1.

It doesn’t help that books and articles routinely bombard the poor time-deprived writer with advice that seems impossible to follow. In predictable, frustrating, and often sanctimonious fashion, nearly all of them proclaim the same thing: Writers write. If you want to be a writer, you must find or make the time to write. Continue reading