Fiction Friday: The McKee Story

Posted Mar 26 2010 in

Last weekend, I attended Robert McKee’s Story conference in New York. A woman from St. Paul who also attended called it a “life-changing event.” I don’t know that I feel that strongly, but I did walk away with a much deeper understanding of how a compelling story is built, as well as some tools for […]

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In Defense of a Marriage

Posted Mar 19 2010 in

My daughter came out to me when she was nineteen. It would not have been my first choice for her life. If she had said, “I think I’m gay,” or even “I’m gay, Mom,” I might have been able to convince myself that she was mistaken, lured from her moorings by an older girl. But, […]

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Fiction Friday: Critique Groups

Posted Mar 13 2010 in

The value of critique groups can vary from life-changing to worse than useless. Why the wide swing? For a critique group to be useful, several things must be true: 1) Some members of the group must be more advanced, or at least have skills more advanced in some key area, than the writer. 2) The […]

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Fiction Friday: Limericks

Posted Mar 5 2010 in

Here are my two favorite limericks. There was a young man of JapanWhose poetry never would scanAnd when they asked whyHe replied with a sigh,“Because I always try to fit as much into the last line as I possibly can.” And There was a young man of ChinaWhose poetry was much fine-aBut his limericks tendTo […]

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Fiction Friday: Fables

Posted Feb 26 2010 in

A fable is a brief story which features animals, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature, giving them human characteristics, generally including the power of speech, and ending in a moral or maxim. We all know this, right? We grew up on Aesop and Uncle Remus, after all. But can you write one? Last Week’s […]

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Fiction Friday: I’m Renewed!

Posted Jan 29 2010 in

Last Saturday I went to a writers’ workshop in Columbus on plotting. As you may or may not know, plotting is my downfall. Most of my other writing skills have shown steady improvement over the ten years that I’ve been writing seriously, but creating credible, character-driven plots is still beyond my abilities. Hosted by the […]

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Fiction Friday: It’s Alive!

Posted Jan 15 2010 in

Okay, the good news is, my computer was just virus-infested. The computer monkey I took it to said he could fix it up for $130, or he could build me a new one for (cough!) and he’d transfer the files for free. Who can resist a deal like that? So, next week I’ll get my […]

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Fiction Friday: Writing Humor

Posted Jan 8 2010 in

Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, who is perhaps most famous for once having a mammography machine catch fire with one of her breasts clamped in it, and is the author of a dozen or more books on humor and comedy has identified 8 types of jokes: 1) Cliche — take a cliche and use it in an […]

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Fiction Friday: On Receiving Feedback

Posted Dec 18 2009 in

For the past two Fridays, I’ve pontificated about how to give useful feedback to fellow writers. Today I thought we’d look at that transaction from the other end. Some guidelines for soliciting and receiving feedback: 1) If you think what you’ve written is perfect, don’t bother to ask for input. What’s the purpose? 2) Conversely, […]

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Fiction Friday: More on Feedback

Posted Dec 11 2009 in

I’ve had some interesting offline conversations over the past week on the topic of feedback. One of the chief discussion points seems to be how best to make your feedback useful to the artist. Here are my thoughts: 1) Don’t offer feedback unless it’s requested. 2) Conversely, if you hand someone a piece you’ve written, […]

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