A story that struck a familiar chord

Narrative's Story of the Week is The Indianness, by Geeta Tewari. I don't always read these stories--or read them right away. But I opened this morning's as soon as I saw it. My first novel (recently rewritten and in need of beta readers) is about an arranged Indian marriage), so a story titled The Indianness had … Continue reading A story that struck a familiar chord


A short story education: The Gotham Fiction Gallery

Every short story contest offers a pithy description of what constitutes a winning story. The complete story world, characters that intrigue, sensuous prose, original approach, and on and on. Hoorah. I'm in. Yet so often I read work in the Paris Review, New Yorker, The Atlantic and various literaary quarterlies and think, I wouldn't want … Continue reading A short story education: The Gotham Fiction Gallery

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? Writer’s Edition.

Bracing advice for the days when we fear even the kindest of critiques.

Carly Watters, Literary Agent

It’s a simple question, but I found it tucked into Sheryl Sandberg’s wisdom when I was reading LEAN IN a couple years ago and it’s never left me. Whenever things seem overwhelming this simple question takes us back to the heart of our passion and the reason for our struggles.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

For many people reading this blog it will be: finish their novel, send out some queries, tackle the revise-and-resubmit letter from an agent, join a critique group, sign up for author head shots, attend a writer’s conference–or something along those lines.

However, when you frame it like a question it becomes painfully obvious that you don’t need permission to achieve your dreams. They’re hiding inside of you and no amount of force is going to get them to escape. Writing doesn’t happen by chance, it happens by discipline and all you have to do…

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Craft in a bottle: The Portable MFA in Creative Writing

I came across the Gotham Writers Workshop website http://www.writingclasses.com a couple of weeks ago and ordered some of their books. The two I've started on so far are worth getting excited about. Strange but true, The Portable MFA is both great bedtime reading and desktop handbook. It's got me checking my work for structure, making lists of … Continue reading Craft in a bottle: The Portable MFA in Creative Writing


I have two books on the go right now, one on my night table--No god but God, by Reza Aslan, and The Plantagenets, The Kings Who Made England, by Dan Jones, downstairs by the fireplace. Of course they are very different, but they both involve the development of elites, warring for power and the quest … Continue reading Upstairs/Downstairs