On Writing

Characterization and the Car Crash

By Ken Elkes of http://kenelkes.wordpress.com Some musings on writing. Let’s start with three examples: 1. I was in a road traffic accident the other day. I didn’t suffer any injuries, though my car may not be repairable. Unfortunately it was my birthday. 2. I had an interesting birthday. Got into a car crash on the motorway. Not a scratch on me
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On Writing: Become a Master Editor by Practicing E-Prime

Don’t let bad editing happen to you.

Because writers get so close to their work, self-editing (a critical step whether you plan to self-publish or seek out a traditional publishing arrangement) can become an obstacle to success. However, applying the principles of E-Prime to your writing is a great way to view your work anew while staying extremely close—and often, getting even closer—to the spirit of your story.

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Who are the Southern Authors of the New Millennium?

SFK Press Editor Steve McCondichie provides an overview of contemporary Southern authors and the growing global inclusion in contemporary Southern literature.

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On Writing in the Car

How one writer finds inspiration and productivity while driving her car.

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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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The Do’s and Don’ts of Great Headings

It’s the start of a fresh year, and maybe you’re thinking about making writing a serious goal. Whether you’re pursuing freelance opportunities or gearing up to start an indie project, like a blog or a book, there’s a key element that will drive visibility. Know what it is? Here’s a hint: it’s probably the same
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De-cliché-ify A Phrase Like “Everything Went Black”

What is that phrase you read that bugs you?  It’s not cliché (like all that and a bag of chips), but yet, because it appears in almost every single book you read, it is cliché.  My phrase:  Everything went black.  (Here’s a little something fun–the origin of the phrase “everything went black” and other clichés…)
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How to Apply the Pomodoro Technique to Your Writing

Productivity and efficiency are two things we all want more of in our lives, especially when it comes to writing. Fitting writing in whenever you can is great. But what about those longer stretches of time when you can actually sit down to practice your craft for thirty minutes, an hour, or more? Long, uninterrupted
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Nathaniel Smith: Black Pioneer of the Mendocino Coast

People are often surprised to learn that an African American was one of the first non-indiginious settlers on the Mendocino Coast. While details are often contested, it’s widely agreed that Nathaniel Smith settled on a coastal bluff roughly six miles south of the Navarro River and just north of present day Elk sometime between 1851 and 1854. Other than a
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Come To The Bright Side: Character 101

You know the rules.  Things have got to get worse before they can get better.  Let your character have a goal, but don’t give him what he wants.  That’s why people keep reading. You’ve also got to dish up all your character’s flaws on a silver platter.  To have a moving story, your flawed character
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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.