On Writing

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.

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Quitting Isn’t Complicated

By Sydney Scrogham He left before it rained. He’s across from me on the couch, sitting crisscross applesauce, and he picks at the hem of his brown t-shirt. My hands sandwich between my legs as I bounce my knees up and down against the grey-blue couch cushions—like a butterfly without flight. Shadows from my legs
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Quality Alert? Writers and The Internet

A writer must consider quality content above all else: This is a great statement when you first glance at it.  It is one of these “think positive” type of messages we all love to hear or read about.  I agree with the statement, in the surface style it is given, but I don’t agree writers must
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What Makes a Writer Southern?

SFK Press’s Kelsey Asher ponders what it means to be a “Southern” writer, and if recently published author Maggie Mitchell and her book, Pretty Is, qualify.

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Collected Writing Tips & Advice

Here is a list of many 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
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Writing: Killing Your Darlings

By Jon Simmonds Contributing Features Editor, of http://jumpingfromcliffs.com It seems barely a day goes past without someone somewhere posting about the “rules” of writing. Now, I’m not entirely sure that I agree with this; I feel there are far too many so-called rules imposed upon one of the most creative pursuits imaginable. Creativity doesn’t follow rules
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WTP Writer: Beth Kephart

Handling the Truth

Contributing Editor Richard Gilbert interviews award-winning author, Beth Kephart, on her recent memoir, Handling the Truth.

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Writing: Mind the Gap!

Plot Holes

Plot holes, those devious little blighters, have a knack of popping into existence just where you least expect them. Read how one writer has learned to circumvent them.

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Writing: How to Beat the Blank Page

By Shanan Haislip, Features Contributing Editor Some days, there’s nothing more paralyzing than the expanse of white paper or white Word document in front of you. The pressure! The expectations! The sheer nothingyetness of it! The unbroken marble monotony of the blank page has made me cower and back away from it many, many times. We
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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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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.