Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wise Words about Passion in Writing

One of my students alerted me to this excellent NPR review of Stanley Fish's new book, How to Write a Sentence.  But even more fun is the excerpt from the book, which is below the review.

I'm posting the link here (click on the words "NPR review" above), to share with you one writer's passion for writing.  It inspired me to read it, and I hope it'll ignite your own passion for your words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages.  So for this week's exercise, enjoy this excerpt from How to Write a Sentence.  Maybe go out and buy or borrow the book.

Then spend some time reflecting on your passion for words.

Do you swim in the joy of them, as this writer does?
Why or why not?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Writing Dialogue: How People Really Talk on the Page

A friend recently sent me this wonderful article, published in the Wall Street Journal's Wordcraft column, about how people really talk on the page.  I like this column, I'm more impressed with the WSJ since it began including it to its usual lineup.  The article is short, like all of the Wordcraft essays, but gives good food for thought.

So many writers in my classes have questions about how to write dialogue.  It truly takes

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weeding through the Mess: How to Make Sense of Your First Draft

A reader from New York has been working hard on her first draft of a novel for over a year.  First drafts aren't easy.  Initially they require sitting down and writing a lot.  Not necessarily from chapter 1 to The End, but a lot of scenes need to accumulate.  This is the benefit of writing classes, writing marathons, and writing practice.  This is why Nanowrimo is so popular.  You can accumulate pages toward this first draft.

But after all the pages are written, you

Friday, February 4, 2011

Storyboarding--Using the W Storyboard Structure to Chart Stronger Conflict in Your Book

With the help of one of my students and the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, I created the video below.  Watch it to learn how to use the W storyboard structure to create a strong emotional arc in your book, via stronger conflict.


Interested in learning more?  I'll be teaching storyboarding in two-day workshops this spring:

Saturday/Sunday, April 9-10, at Southern New Hampshire University, sponsored by NH Writers' Project.  For more details visit

Friday/Saturday, May 6-7, at the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis, or call 612-379-8999 for details.