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Break the Line Early

I’ve argued that consistent use of a single, consistent measure for the lines of a poem is meaning-bearing in itself and one of the most significant choices a poet can make in the construction of her work.  Part of the legitimacy of this claim rests on the fact that to establish a consistent measure is to lay the ground against which any departure from that measure is striking and powerful;  another part rests on the fact that line-breaks are a critical focal point of verse construction.  It is evidence of the complexity of poem-making that I do not contradict these facts when I tell you that breaking your line early is a great way to start a poem.

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Crock-Pot Novelist

Slow-cookers have always amazed me. A hodge-podge of meat, vegetables and whatnot gets tossed in the Crock-Pot in the morning. The ingredients simmer together all day. Their flavors blend. Their aromas comingle and fill the house with the tang of possibility. Come dinner time, the medley has been transformed into a savory meal that brings the whole family to the table with anticipation. I love cooking this way.

My novel writing is also slow-cooked. A hodge-podge of ideas, research, themes and characters get thrown into the pot in the beginning. Then they simmer together, for a very long time, before they are transformed into the rich, savory story I want them to become. Slow-cooking a novel isn’t nearly as easy as slow-cooking chili, stew or gumbo. Yet, if the mix of ingredients is right, the result can be just as fulfilling.

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Leaving Space for the Illustrator

Every time someone tells me they wrote or want to write a children’s book but can’t move forward because they don’t have an illustrator, I can’t help wondering how many would-be authors are stymied by the same misconception.

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HELP! I CAN’T WRITE ANYMORE! 5 Tips to Write Again

Yeah, I hear ya. Happens to all of us. We’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill writer’s block, now, are we? No, you know what we’re really talking about: either a change in our actual, physical circumstances (a move, a marriage, a child . . . any major life change that’s utterly altered your schedule) or a change in our mental circumstances (no new ideas, novel stopped in its tracks . . . complete and total emotional breakdown . . . things like that).

 

So what do we do? Here are a few suggestions I hope will help. The bottom line is this: Don’t worry. It will pass. Have faith in that.

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“An Audio Interview with Michael A. Stackpole” at SF Signal

Michael Stackpole recently sat with Timothy C. Ward at SF Signal to record a podcast interview.

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Those Small “Eureka!” Moments

Writing successfully is sweat equity.  Butt in the chair, hour after hour, grinding out sentences and paragraphs and pages, none of which, one is grimly aware, may make the final cut when it comes time to edit.

 

That is especially true of crime fiction, because, really, how many different ways are there to kill someone?  And how many different motives can there be?  In the end it all comes down to money and sex.  At most a writer can create an original variation on a tried-and-true theme.

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Bill Konigsberg Hosts a YA Workshop at Changing Hands!

Your Novel Year Faculty Member Bill Konigsberg hosts “Finding Your Teen Voice, and What to Do When It Stops Speaking to You” Workshop

6:30-8:30pm

January 9th

Changing Hands Bookstore

 Find out more at:  http://www.changinghands.com/event/konigsberg-jan14

Write What Interests You

Right now I’m at the hardest part of writing a book — getting it started.

In today’s competitive fiction market it’s important to have two things: 50-100 can’t-put-them-down pages, and a solid synopsis for the rest of the story.

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David Quammen 5 Burning Questions

As part of David Quammen’s visit to ASU, he sat down with the Center for Science and the Imagination to record this great video!

Find out more here:

http://csi.asu.edu/ideas/5-burning-questions-david-quammen-2/

To Outline or Not

Whenever I’m speaking to a group of beginning novelists, the question I’m most often asked is “Before you start writing, do you prepare an outline?”

My answer is always, “Yes and no.”

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Recent Blog Posts

Break the Line Early

April 10,2014 I’ve argued that consistent use of a single, consistent measure for the lines of a poem is meaning-bearing in itself and one of the most significant choices a poet can make in the construction... Continue Reading

Crock-Pot Novelist

April 01,2014 Slow-cookers have always amazed me. A hodge-podge of meat, vegetables and whatnot gets tossed in the Crock-Pot in the morning. The ingredients simmer together all day. Their flavors blend. Their aromas comingle and fill... Continue Reading
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