Authenticity, Vulnerability, and Synchronicity: My 2017 Writer’s Digest Conference Story

Wow. Was Writer’s Digest Conference really three weeks ago? Somehow it seems longer ago than that (maybe because I caught a cold on the final day, so it took a couple weeks to resume my normal routine). Yet I still remember that weekend as clearly as the last book I read – because the ideas and lessons I carried home this time struck very close to the heart.

It’s not right, then,  to write this year’s report as an in-depth overview like I did for last year’s. Instead, I’d like to share why WDC 2017 was so meaningful to me, more so than the 2016 or 2015 editions. So if you’re interested in learning about (or refreshing your memory of) the conference format, venue,  and range of writing and publishing topics, check out last year’s post. Otherwise, let’s start not at the beginning, but at the moment when the impact of this conference first began to sink in.
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Back from My Hiatus, and with a New DIY MFA Article!


Setting in stories isn’t discussed as frequently as plot and characters. Yet it’s just as important, using location, time period, and other elements to play a pivotal role, from establishing the protagonist’s “normal world” to creating natural or societal obstacles that the characters will face. But did you know that, in some cases, a story’s setting can also be the garden from which some of its themes can grow? The idea intrigued me enough that I devoted my latest Theme: A Story’s Soul article at DIY MFA to it. Continue reading

New Post at Writers Helping Writers (Plus, I’m on Hiatus Until August 29th)

Writers Helping Writers

For my latest post at Writers Helping Writers, I wrote about one of the most important tools in a writer’s toolbox. It’s just as important as more obvious “tools,” like vocabulary, industry knowledge, and strong work ethic – but it’s also incredibly challenging to master. If you haven’t guessed it yet, this “tool” is confidence. And today, I share my most recent struggle with confidence in my craft as well as tips on how to create your unique way of rebounding after setbacks or being overwhelmed by doubt. It’s more personal than my past WHW articles, but I hope that readers will still find it encouraging and informative. Continue reading

New DIY MFA Article on Themes and the Story’s Climax

DiyMFA

For the past few Developing Themes In Your Stories posts at my DIY MFA column Theme: A Story’s Soul, we’ve explored how to nurture themes during a story’s major plot points. Today’s article brings us to the most important scene of all: the climax! So how can this crucial end to the story’s main conflict reflect a story’s themes? And, how does the protagonist’s success or failure at achieving his goal influence the angle that your story takes on those concepts?

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The 2017 Blogoversary, Part 2: The Writerly Wisdom Giveaways

Last week was the launch of this year’s 8th blogoversary “party,” with a giveaway featuring ten unique fiction books I highly recommend. (Sunday, July 9th was the actual blogoversary.) Today, it’s time for conclude the celebration… with two more giveaways! And since both prizes are writing-related, I’m calling them the Writerly Wisdom giveaways, after my semi-weekly Writer Wisdom quote series.

So which books are options for the first giveaway? (Hint: Check out the banner image above.) What did I find so enriching or inspiring about each one? And, what is the mysterious second giveaway? Read on to find out!
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Weekly Writer Wisdom: Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” (June 13, 2017)

It’s the time of year for college / university and high school graduations in the US. So I thought I’d put a “commencement” spin on this week’s Weekly Writer Wisdom, with one of the most inspiring, entertaining, and craft-pertinent speeches I’ve ever heard from an author – and it’s by the one and only Neil Gaiman. 🙂

(Look for this week’s #WeeklyWriterWisdom questions after the jump. If you’d like, click here to read a transcript of Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” speech.)

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