The Secret to a Great Arc
Make your characters want something right away, wrote Vonnegut, even if it’s only a glass of water.
And as soon as we pick my four-year-old up from pre-school and strap her into her car seat, she tells us that she wants some water.
But a narrative, at its most basic level, is driven by the relationship between what a character wants and the obstacles in their way, and it just so happens that my daughter’s water bottle is empty.
Reading and Writing Poetry as an Invitation to Wake Up
Guest post by Nadia Colburn, PhD
Nadia is teaching "Poetry as a Contemplative Practice" on May 18th, 10:30-1:30. Click here for more info. Nadia holds a BA from Harvard and a PhD in English from Columbia University
The Trouble with Transitions
My daughters were supposed to be getting ready for bed when I walked into their room and found my four-year-old naked, kneeling on all fours with her butt in the air, her older sister slapping her bottom.
What are you doing? I asked.
Playin’ the drums, my older daughter said.
And though part of me was relieved to see my four-year-old finally using her butt for something other than a wind instrument, I immediately stopped the show and escorted her to the shower.
Writing Rules Made to Be Broken: Never Look Back
There's a distinctly rebellious air about the Muse and the Marketplace Conference this year. This weekend at Boston's Park Plaza, #Muse18 presenters will be letting loose on the writing rules that have held our manuscripts hostage for far too long. To kick off the conversation ahead of the Muse weekend, this year's Muse series explores the writing, publishing, and workshop rules, conventions, and accepted norms that authors, agents, and editors at the Muse love to hate—and why they'd love to see them broken. Some presenters will also offer their own rules or conventions that they want to see adopted in writing and …
Getting to Grips with a Big Revision of Your Novel
by Katrin Schumann
I'm working on a major revision of a novel I wrote some years ago and put away in a drawer. I loved and still love the story, but I think it needs a more compelling central question. Right now, I'd call it a "family saga," and while there's nothing inherently wrong with that, I'd like to create a through-line in the story that makes it more compelling. I want readers to be thinking, Oh my god, what happens next?