On Writing

Writing a Persona Other than Your Own

Stephen Davenport debates the ethics of writing in first person using a narrator of a different race, gender, or age than the author, using his experience writing his second novel.

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Your Characters: What’s in Their Pockets?

A writing teacher (and multi-published novelist) once told me that to really understand a character you’re writing, you should make a list of the items he carries carry in his pockets. While I hate to disagree with such an august mentor, I’m afraid that I simply have to. You see, if you take a peek
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Loosening the Screws on Too-Tight Writing

Whilst editing more of the never-ending manuscript last night, I became aware that some of my writing was tight. As tight as a publisher’s wallet in fact. I can clearly discern which sections I wrote during free-wheeling, word-flowing time off when I spent a couple of hours jotting down stream-of-consciousness, vaguely-related meanderings, which eventually morphed
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Writers’ Advice, Tips, and Theories

Here is a list of essays, articles, quotes, and links on writing advice, tips, theory, and thought. (From 23 Tips from Famous Writers) “Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a
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Reflections by Tillie Olsen

“What matters to me is the kind of soil in which people have, out of which they have to grow, and the kind of climate around them.” Prose editor DeWitt Henry shares his highlights from a transcribed recording of Tillie Olsen’s reading at Emerson College in 1974.

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Billie Holiday: Master Storyteller

As we approached Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday earlier this month (April 7, 1915 in Baltimore, MD), numerous musicians, performers, and jazz experts offered opinions about what makes Lady Day so indelible. Some mentioned her unique voice. Many focused on the emotional weight of her songs, remarking how well she translated her own misery and hardship into bluesy jazz. Others shorthanded it, saying
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Six Tips For Writing That First Novel

Writing novels when you have experience is daunting. Writing a first novel, then, can seem like an impossible task, especially when you have nothing going for you except desire and a head full of ideas. I recently commented on a book by someone who asked for a review through my Review Exchange offer. I could tell
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Mike Stone: “Write What You Know About”

“Character is what interests me most. I fell in love with the characters in my novels.” Interview with Mike Stone of https://uncollectedworks.wordpress.com See his work in The Woven Tale Press Vol. III #11 Tell us about your writing process. (Do you outline, revise extensively, use pen and paper, stickies, etc.) The answer depends on the kind of
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From Novelist to Poet

“Particular words have ways of thrumming in my mind, and it was years before I would realize poetry rather than fiction would be their best conduit.”

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Richard Gilbert: Word by Word

Writing’s Values Challenge

“Writing’s Values—Intelligence, Sensitivity & Beauty—Challenge Me,” Richard Gilbert on the necessity of forgiving oneself in order to write.

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On Aphorisms

A selection by DeWitt Henry of thirty paragraphs on writing, the writer's life, and aphorisms themselves from Richard Kostalanetz’s A WRITER'S TORAH.


WTP guest writer Ann Epstein defends the often disparaged adverb, and in the process explores why writers in particular are susceptible to arbitrary rules of style.

Reflections by Tillie Olsen

"What matters to me is the kind of soil in which people have, out of which they have to grow, and the kind of climate around them." Prose editor DeWitt Henry shares his highlights from a transcribed recording of Tillie Olsen's reading at Emerson College in 1974.

The Story Teller and the Telling

"For my ninth birthday I received my first diary. The first words I wrote: 'I want to be a writer.' This was the first time I articulated what I must have always known. It was always about words—and story—for me."

The Minefield and the Soul

"I do believe an author’s biographical identity is an insufficient marker for experience—even impossible to pin down with any accuracy—and the same holds true for a reader’s. This is the beginning of compassion for others."

On Fact and Fiction

"We don’t have to bullfight to write believably about bullfighting, or love, or crime, or suicide." DeWitt Henry on the lines writers blur between fact and fiction.


Beth Kephart learns "the liability of having, the politics of possession, the sound of time crashing time, the ache of what is loved and what will be lost."

Words That Don’t Exist

DeWitt Henry on the challenge of balancing author tone with character tone, and the difficulties that arise as far down as word choice.