Jane Faletti

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Lost in your story? Here are some tools to help find the way.

I was just in a on-line discussion with a group of authors. One of them had lost his way in the novel he was writing, and a number of us, knowing the …

Annie Dillard on Writing

What does it really mean to write? Why do writers labor at it, and why are readers so mesmerized by it?<p>From <b>Annie Dillard’</b>s timelessly wonderful <b>The Writing Life</b> (<i>public library</i>) — which also gave us her vital reminder that presence rather than productivity is the key to living richly and her …

Kurt Vonnegut’s Daily Routine

As a lover of letters and of all things Kurt Vonnegut, I spent months eagerly awaiting <b>Kurt Vonnegut: Letters</b> (<i>public library</i>), which has finally arrived and is just as fantastic as I’d come to expect. What makes the anthology particularly sublime is that strange, endearing way in which so much of …

Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck

If this is indeed the year of reading more and writing better, we’ve been right on course with David Ogilvy’s 10 no-nonsense tips, Henry Miller’s 11 commandments, and various invaluable advice from other great writers.<p>Now comes Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate <b>John Steinbeck</b> (February 27, …

How I Write: James McBride, The New National Book Award Winner For Fiction

The newly crowned National Book Award winner for fiction tells us about his pad in New York City, being able to write anywhere, and rewriting …

Flannery O’Connor’s Little-Known Cartoons

Provided how many famous creators had secret talents — including Richard Feynman’s drawings, Marilyn Monroe’s poetry, Rube Goldberg’s political art, and Liberace’s culinary powers — it comes as little surprise that one of the greatest twentieth-century authors was also a deft cartoonist, whose …

Joyce Carol Oates Writing Advice: 10 Tips Tweeted By Author

Joyce Carol Oates is one of our favorite writers and writing personalities. A prolific tweeter, the 75 year old today put out 10 pieces of great advice for writing on her Twitter account. Check them out below, and let us know what you think in the comments!

John Green’s Superb Advice to Aspiring Writers and Creators in the Digital Age

Advice to aspiring authors from successful ones seems to be a special meta-genre of literature, with notable contributions from Ernest Hemingway, H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, and a running list of literary greats. But some of the best and timeliest advice ever given comes from prolific author <b>John</b> …

Alice Walker on Creativity

To wonder what creativity is is among the chronic perplexities of the human condition. We’ve dissected its four essential stages, outlined its five steps of idea-production, and expounded theories about how it works. And yet the nature of creativity eludes us, perhaps because somewhere between the …

Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Crucial Difference Between Success and Mastery

<i>“You gotta be willing to fail… if you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far,”</i> Steve Jobs cautioned. <i>“There is no such thing as failure — failure is just life trying to move us in another direction,”</i> Oprah counseled new Harvard graduates. In his wonderfully heartening letter of fatherly …

Rewriting – A Checklist For Authors

Are you about to rewrite your book? Here are 30 questions to ask when you’re rewriting your novel.<p>You may enjoy these useful posts:<p>An Editing …

Writing

a haven for readers to geek out about books; and a platform to kickstart your writing goals.

Chuck surprised us all with a new batch of essays for 2014 & 2015! There is no exact timeline on how these will roll out, so just keep an eye on the …

The Writing Tools of 20 Famous Authors

It’s no secret that writers can be quite particular about their writing tools. Some might call it an obsession or fetish, but the pens, pencils, …

10 Apps to Help You Stay Focused on Your Writing

Photo by Daniel Y. Go / via Flickr<p>Today’s guest post is by Frances Caballo (@caballofrances), a social media strategist and manager for writers, and …

The one really scary thing every writer should learn to do

Public speaking. There, I’ve said it.<p>Now come on out from that stack of books you’ve just taken cover behind (yes, I can recognise you hiding there, …

How to Organize Writing Ideas

My shelves<p>A fellow writer asked me Tuesday morning how I organize story ideas. As writers, we love to talk about anything related to process, so for …

Lists of the Best Sentences — Opening, Closing, and Otherwise — in English-Language Novels

I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.<p>— James …

Ten words to cut from your writing

As Mark Twain famously wrote, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead." His point? Strong writing is lean writing.<p>When you want to make your writing more powerful, cut out words you don't need – such as the 10 included in this post:<p><b>1. Just:</b> The word "just" is a …

The Best Apps for Any Kind of Writing

Writing is a very personal practice, and as a result you have a million writing-focused apps to choose from. From distraction-free apps that take up …

How to Be a Writer: Hemingway’s Advice to Aspiring Authors

<b>Ernest Hemingway</b> (July 21, 1899–July 2, 1961) has contributed a great deal to the collected advice of great writers, from his famous admonition against the dangers of ego to his short and stellar Nobel Prize acceptance speech. But some of his finest wisdom springs to life in a 1935 <i>Esquire</i> piece …

15 Words You Didn't Know Were Coined By Famous Writers

An <i>authorism</i> is a word, phrase or name created by an author or journalist; a literary neologism. William Shakespeare whose written vocabulary consisted of 17, 245 words included hundreds of <i>authorisms</i>. Some of them, true nonce words, never went further than their appearance in his plays, but others - …

21 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Writing: Must-Read Advice for Writers at All Levels

<i>By Robin Black</i><p><i>Offered in the hope of sparing others some of the bumps and bad moments I have experienced over the past thirteen years. . .</i><p>1. …

How And When To Get Permission To Use Quotes In Your Writing - Writer's Relief, Inc.

It’s perfectly okay to quote an excerpt of another author’s work in your writing, but it’s not always okay to do so <i>without permission</i>. If you don’t …

The Telling Detail

Some authors have the uncanny ability to bring their novels to life using rich, telling details.<p>I'm not talking about using heaps of description. …

Joyce Carol Oates on What Hemingway’s Early Stories Can Teach Us About Writing and the Defining Quality of Great Art

Besides being one of the most influential, beloved, and prolific authors of our time, Joyce Carol Oates is also a person of extraordinary capacity for beholding beauty.<p>In a recent conversation at The New York Public Library’s excellent <i>Books at Noon</i> series, Oates discussed her journey of becoming a …

The Secret to Writing Well Isn’t What You’d Expect, Says Study

What if the secret to writing well is in how you <i>think</i> about the story, not just how you write it?<p>Martin Lotze, a researcher at the University of …