Resources and Events for Writers, Writing/Rewriting

Screenwriting for novelists

I was familiar with many of the concepts and terms Larry Brooks uses from having studied Syd Field’s “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting.” I wound up turning to Field—and his book is a fantastic resource—when I couldn’t find the nuts-and-bolts guidelines I needed to whip a novel into shape. And it’s often much easier to… Continue reading Screenwriting for novelists

Resources and Events for Writers, Writing/Rewriting

Circus tents and story structure

Larry Brooks The snapshot of my “treadmill” journal in my previous post has a reference to “circus tent plots.” That’s worth explaining. I took a Writer’s Digest webinar in March led by Larry Brooks. The webinar focused on making sure you have a compelling premise for your book, but Brooks also talked briefly about a… Continue reading Circus tents and story structure

Resources and Events for Writers, Writing/Rewriting

A.X. Ahmad: The life of a debut novelist

This is slightly off-topic, but I just have to give a shout-out to a fantastic writing instructor and one of the hardest-working writers I know. A.X. Ahmad’s debut novel “The Caretaker”—the first in a trio of literary thrillers—came out this week and he’s getting some terrific press. Here is the description from Tom Nolan’s review… Continue reading A.X. Ahmad: The life of a debut novelist

Researching Historical Fiction, Writing/Rewriting

Bill Cheng: Letting history seep into the writer

I caught an NPR interview with debut novelist Bill Cheng, who’s written a book called “Southern Cross the Dog” about a boy who survives the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Cheng lives in New York City and has never been to Mississippi. Of course, he also didn’t live through that devastating event, but that should… Continue reading Bill Cheng: Letting history seep into the writer

Creativity and Productivity, Writing/Rewriting

Adam Johnson: Data mining your writing habits

Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson Adam Johnson, who just won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Orphan Master’s Son,” did an interview in the July 2012 issue of “The Writer” magazine. It’s one of the “How I Write” features on the back page, so it’s mostly in Johnson’s words. I saved the article as soon as… Continue reading Adam Johnson: Data mining your writing habits

Researching Historical Fiction, Writing/Rewriting

Writing Can Be Hazardous to Your Personal Life

I was going through my notes on the O.K. Corral gunfight one day when my boyfriend and I got into a conversation about space exploration. He was talking about artificial intelligence and how a thousand years from now, we won’t be organic beings but some sort of consciousness in silicon. I was having trouble focusing… Continue reading Writing Can Be Hazardous to Your Personal Life

Writing/Rewriting

Uncoiling plot structures

I recently read an article by John McPhee on the topic of structure, and I’ve been doodling diagrams ever since. (The article is in the Jan. 14 issue of The New Yorker; unfortunately, you can’t read the whole article unless you’re a subscriber, but you can buy the issue online.) McPhee includes diagrams of various… Continue reading Uncoiling plot structures

Writing/Rewriting

Fitzgerald and the art of the macro-edit

I’ve been reading Susan Bell’s “The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself.” She talks about ways to gain perspective on your writing project and then breaks the revision process into the Big Picture (macro-editing) and the Details (micro-editing). Micro-editing doesn’t scare me. It has been a big part of my day job for… Continue reading Fitzgerald and the art of the macro-edit

Creativity and Productivity, Researching Historical Fiction, Writing/Rewriting

Why I’m blogging

My friend caught me with my nose in James L. Swanson’s "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer" after I’d told him I’d finished reading it. When I explained that I was now reading the footnotes, he gave me a look that said he couldn’t imagine anything duller and suggested that blogging might help with… Continue reading Why I’m blogging