Creativity and Productivity, Resources and Events for Writers

The science behind writer’s block

We’ve all experienced it, that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach when you sit down to write. When all the negative feedback you’ve ever gotten and the prospect of the hard work ahead of you is overwhelming to the point that you’d rather do anything — vacuum, alphabetize your book collection, clean… Continue reading The science behind writer’s block

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


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

Creativity and Productivity, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

Louisa May Alcott’s running shoes

Louisa May Alcott The January 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest has an article by Joy Lanzendorfer called “If Walls Could Talk” about her visits to literary sites. (The article isn’t available online, but you can buy a copy of the issue here. The section “Write That Novel” had a lot of good articles, too.) I… Continue reading Louisa May Alcott’s running shoes


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