Learning from the Masters

Today, I spent most of the afternoon listening to Margaret Atwood’s master class on fiction writing.  This is through http://www.masterclass.com and is part of the unlimited series that I paid $180/year for when I signed up for the Billy Collins workshop on poetry.  Unlike poetry, I have spent quite a lot of time working on…

A Few Thoughts on Flash Fiction and Nonfiction

I teach a flash fiction and nonfiction class for Story Circle Network. Right now I am teaching flash nonfiction.  Flash is usually a piece that is limited to around 1200 words maximum. Here are some thoughts on this type of writing. Flash fiction and flash nonfiction differ clearly in content, but many of the needs…

Repost: Lessons from John Steinbeck

I have just begun reading John Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters, a compilation of Steinbeck’s letters to his editor and friend, to whom he addressed a journal entry every day before writing his manuscript pages for his novel. East of Eden is one of the first books I read years…

A Writing Focused Day

This has been a day spent on Story Circle Network’s Online Classes program and my college essay students. I have been evaluating proposals for the fall term, which is exciting since there are some great classes coming up. Also, I worked with three students over the phone so we can get a jump on the…

Delving Deeper for Great College Essays

I have been working with students on college essays over the past few days, using shared Google docs and the telephone. It is always an interesting process and this year is no different. Part of the fun of college essays is that we dig deep, looking for experiences that carry real heft. This is not…

Prompt: When Do I Feel Most Free?

When do I feel most free? Ah, I know. When I write fiction. Nothing matches the sense of freedom I feel when I settle into a comfortable chair with either my laptop or notebook and pen, and write a random sentence or fragment of dialogue with no idea where it will take me. From there, the…

The Room Where I Write

The room I am sitting in has a red Persian rug, a brown leather couch, a green brocade wing back chair (plus ottoman), a green Morris chair (plus ottoman), a cane back rocking chair, an art deco blondish coffee table and a low oak table upon which rests our television set. The curtains (which are…

My Need for a Little Daily Solitude

I have always liked small dark places where I could hide: closets mainly, but when I was little I didn’t mind under the bed or in a cardboard box with the lid slightly shut. I even had a secret hiding place behind a long drawer in my bathroom when I was nine or ten where…

On Staring Down A Blank Page

I am sitting with a student while she writes so I have a few minutes to write my blog. (She and I will edit her writing once she is finished.) That brings me to the question of what shall I write about tonight? Finding a topic for writing is one of the toughest parts of…

Repost: Why I Write

I periodically have to remind myself why I write. Tonight is one of those occasions. It certainly is not for the money, by the way, or the fame. So, why do I write? Let me think about that question for a minute. I write because: 1) I often express myself on paper better than through…