Cordelia Melanie

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The Six Motives of Creativity: Mary Gaitskill on Why Writers Write

Why do writers — great writers — write? <b>George Orwell</b> attributed it to four universal motives. <b>Joan Didion</b> saw it as access to her own mind. For <b>David Foster Wallace</b>, it was about fun. <b>Michael Lewis</b> ascribes it to the necessary self-delusions of creativity. <b>Joy Williams</b> found in it a gateway from the …

From Fitzgerald to Reagan, 5 Letters of Fatherly Advice from History’s Greatest Public Dads

With Father’s Day around the corner, let’s take a moment to pay heed to some of the wisest, most heart-warming advice from history’s famous dads. Gathered here are five timeless favorites, further perpetuating my well-documented love of the art of letter-writing.<p>F. SCOTT FITZGERALD<p>In a 1933 letter …

The Novel in Real Time

For the past four years, I have been writing a novel set in present-day Crimea. When one is writing a novel for a long time—and most novels take a long time—one gets used to being asked repeatedly what it is about, often by the same people. It is easy to forget another person’s preoccupation, …

Make Your Scenes Real

Very often when I’m reading a manuscript for another writer the scenes will fall flat. The primary reason for this is that I (as a reader) am not …

Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity

The third volume of Anaïs Nin’s diaries has been on heavy rotation in recent weeks, yielding Nin’s thoughtful and timeless meditations on life, mass movements, Paris vs. New York, what makes a great city, and the joy of handicraft.<p>The subsequent installment, <b>The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947</b> …

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 …

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 …

Printing Wikipedia Would Take 1 Million Pages, But That's Sort Of The Point

A German-based group called PediaPress is trying to raise enough money to make a print copy of all of Wikipedia. That's right, Wikipedia, the ever-evolving, always-changing, inherently digital encyclopedia of information gathered by contributors all over the world. To say this would be a massive …

How to Start Your Novel: Advice From Literary Agents

<i>This column is excerpted from Guide to Literary Agents, from Writer’s Digest Books.</i><p>No one reads more prospective novel beginnings than literary …

Creative Writing

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 …

An Illustrated Taxonomy of City Bikes and Cyclist Archetypes

<i>“A poem compresses much in a small space and adds music, thus heightening its meaning,”</i> E.B. White wrote in his timeless love letter to New York. <i>“The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.”</i> And …