Blog Posts for Ploughshares


From “Relationship Rescue! Courting Your Long Lost Writing”

My blog posts about creativity and writing for Ploughshares are archived here at the Ploughshares Blog. Here on my own webpage, posts appear on the sidebar, in Currents. (My interview series, One Year In–Writing The Novel, is collected separately on this website here.)

Of All Thing: The Signature  It’s the simplest of challenges: signing your own book. And yet, I suck at it. Joining me with their triumphs and failures at book-signings are Alan Heathcock, Juliana Gray, Dan Albergotti, and Lauren Becker.

Research Unleashed! And Leashed. In which I envy my dog’s cone collar, and seek other restraints for the obsessions of research.

WWTMD? (What Would Toni Morrison Do?) It’s the closest I get to prayer. When I find my novel in times of trouble, I ask what my favorite writer Toni Morrison –genius, arts supporter, Nobel Laureate–would do.

496 Words on Writing Flash Prose Why writing flash prose is both a joy unto itself, and a way to write your novel. Bonus Features: word loops, shrinking lines, and places to read and submit.

Get Real! Or Maybe Don’t Get Real? A conversation with Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel about “realism,” ghosts, and how writers are pigeonholed (Part 1)— and how we teach, or don’t teach, “realism” in writing workshops. (Part 2).

WORKSHOP OF FIRE!!!! Scissors? Redaction pens? Hoops and torches? How I hope to instill, in my writing students, the ability to leap without a ringmaster.

“Novelists, You’re Doing it Right” How you can ditch, cheat on, hate, love, ignore, rewrite, and remake your novel over years and—according to these successful novelists— still finish and sell the book.

“Relationship Rescue! Courting Your Long Lost Writing!” Where was I for 8 years of not-writing fiction? How can we return to writing after long breaks?  This post has all the answers.

“Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” How Mad Magazine pictures of naked people and jokes we don’t understand shape us into (better?) readers and writers.

“Dear Lucky One: THE WESTING GAME Invites Us to Play ” What can this classic book by Ellen Raskin, an illustrator-turned-writer, teach us (and Gillian Flynn) about inspiration?  Includes a link to the exciting creative app “Serendip-o-Matic.”

“Mother-Reader” How does the simple act of reading literature change with a baby on board?

“Beach Writing” When your manuscript-in-progress becomes a cloistering chore, take your writing on vacation with creative departures. Get a little sand in your Speedo, imaginatively.

“Do Characters Dream of Left-Justified Sheep?Part One and Part Two.  About how to utilize dreams in fiction. Includes a picture of Bobby Ewing in the shower.

“My Ideal Bookshelf* (*for today).Inspired by this wonderful book, I examine my own ideal bookshelf at the moment.

One Year In: Writing The Novel –>

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