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Paradox: Limitations Drive Creativity

If I ask you to tell me a story, or to draw me a picture, what’s your first reaction? If you’re like most people, it’s another question: “About what?” Few things are as intimidating as a blank sheet of paper. All the hopes, fears, dreams, tragedies, climaxes, and denouements you plan to spill forth in lyrical and dazzling prose … where, oh where, to begin? That’s one reason prompts are such powerful, proven...

Interesting Times and Heavy Lifting

A college friend who is an avid reader and married to another college friend and avid writer sent this story to me with this note: “Interesting times ahead.” Big Six publishers decline to renew contract with Amazon over unfavorable terms He, several friends, and I engaged in some commentary on the article. Here’s an edited/condensed version of my thoughts: Isn’t that an old Chinese curse – interesting times?...

Don’t Envy – Improve

A few years ago, when I finished Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin while doing the eleventythousandth revision of my own novel manuscript, I closed her book and looked at mine and thought, “Why bother?” The bother is that I’ve got my own story to tell. It’s not Atwood’s story, or Melville’s or Twain’s, or even yours. You’ve got your own story, too. Because it’s your story, the issue isn’t whether you write as...

A word about self-publishing for writers so inclined.

The fact that no one in the legacy publishing industry knows what makes a best seller is indisputable. That fact does not mean everyone in the legacy publishing industry is an idiot. Even if J.K. Rowling experienced a dozen rejections before selling Harry Potter, and even if James Redfield self-published and sold more than 80,000 copies of The Celestine Prophecy from the trunk of his car, traditional (sometimes...

Kudos!

This site has been live for a year and a month, and I’ve been working on growing it organically rather than through some of the less savory methods of social media bombardment and manipulation. Traffic is good and growing, and subscriptions increase regularly, so the strategy is working. I was honored to get this message from a new visitor: I have to let you know this is the best prompt site I have ever...

Writer’s Digest 2011 highlights

In the veritable cornucopia of best-of lists overwhelming our sensory inputs during this holiday season, here’s one with the potential to teach us something: The 18 most popular articles among the 1,300 posted to the Writer’s Digest web site. Among the articles you can choose from: The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing How to Craft Compelling Characters The 7 Tools of Dialogue What Writers Need to Know About...

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