ARCHIVE FOR Inspiration

How to Make Your Writing Group Work

Notes from a Grub Street-inspired writing group

By Joanne Barker, Cloe Axelson, Pat McTiernan, Julia Rubin, Carol Steinberg, Judith Vick

We met in Michelle Seaton’s Six Weeks, Six Essays class and quickly got to know each other in a way that typically takes months or years. Perhaps rapid intimacy is a hallmark of creative nonfiction. The class ended and six of us decided to keep going. 

August 29, 2013 | Guest Author

Craft Advice Inspiration The Workshop The Writing Life

Crime Transcending

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By Ron MacLean

My two favorite crime novels – James Crumley's The Last Good Kiss and Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye – have a lot in common. Both have stood the test of time. Both are world-weary and just this side of cynical. More importantly, both transcend their genre to be lasting works of literature: books more about the relentlessly fallible human condition than about crime or crime-solving.

August 23, 2013 | Ron MacLean

Different ways to learn to be a better writer Inspiration

Ode to My Students

By Nadine Kenney Johnstone

The night before the first class, I panicked.

What had I been thinking when I agreed to teach a workshop just five weeks after giving birth?

During pregnancy, I thought I'd actually be bored (yes, BORED) once Geo arrived. I imagined hours of nursing and cuddling, but I had also heard that babies sleep. A lot. So, I honestly envisioned an lot of thumb twirling happening on my end while Geo napped

August 21, 2013 | Nadine Kenney Johnstone

Inspiration The Workshop

Five Writing Traps John Grisham Helped Me See

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By Tony Vanderwarker

I had 7 unpublished novels languishing away on my hard drive and an overflowing shelf of rejection notices when John Grisham -- a friend and neighbor -- took me under his wing and taught me his writing secrets.  Along the way I gained immense appreciation for the craft and expertise required to construct and realize powerful plots engaging millions of readers.

August 13, 2013 | Info

Guest Post Inspiration

On the grotesque in fiction (channeling Flannery O'Connor)

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Grotesque has gotten a bum rap. Too often, it's reduced to a variant of "gross," as in disgusting, or worse, turn-away-from-it-silly.

So it's time to invoke the ghost of Mary Flannery O'Connor and reclaim some space for the grotesque as worthy territory in fiction.

For O'Connor, the grotesque was essential, because it carved out space to address a reality beyond – apart from – mere typical daily existence

July 26, 2013 | Ron MacLean

Different ways to learn to be a better writer Inspiration