May 21, 2018

I am having an argument with one of my writing students and it has stemmed from one simple element — a minor character's name. My student has written a beautiful short story set in the 1960s. Her knowledge of the era is impressive for a twelve-year-old, and her story h...

July 2, 2017

Tennessee! Kentucky! Ohio! “Let’s see who can spot the most states on license plates while we ride inside of this too-small rental car.” Arkansas! Oklahoma! Kansas! “I need three more state magnets and my fridge door will be complete.” Nebraska! Wyoming! Montana! “I wa...

June 14, 2017

There’s nothing more gratifying than scrolling through the wasteland of divorce, welfare, addiction, and failure in your Facebook newsfeed only to realize you are suddenly the hot girl (or boy) from high school. Twenty years late, perhaps, but none the less, “Hell yeah...

May 12, 2017

Have you ever, like me, thought of an idea you’re sure would make a great dystopian novel (for example), only to sit down and discover that all of a sudden the characters are cliché, or the themes of the story have been done one too many times already? If so, you may b...

April 20, 2017

I want to share a little behind-the-scenes look into how we determine the order for the work in Door Is A Jar literary magazine. Once the piece has been approved, it is given a ranking number, based on its tone, from 1 to 3. 1 being something slow, heavy or sad, like a...

February 28, 2017

Dear Writers, you need to eat, and that Pulitzer Prize book you’re drafting isn’t going to feed anything more than your ego for a long time. As a student, I watched my fellow English majors spend their savings on reckless road trips hoping it would induce the next grea...

November 3, 2016

I push out a lot of work each year. I tend to several blogs, plot short stories, edit full-length novels, proofread for friends, and beyond. Other writers ask me what my secret is. I pull them close, lean in, and whisper in their ear: discipline. They tear away with wi...

August 23, 2016

To me, fear and creation are synonymous in writing. It’s hard for me to even begin a story. Any story. All these ideas will swirl around in my head and I get all excited. A week passes and the ideas still bounce around. I tell someone about it. They get excited, too, a...

August 10, 2016

I have been taught countless, fantastic tips from my writing teachers about characterization but my favorite has always been “to get into your characters’ heads as much as possible.” At first this proved simple to me since my first novel had an elementary school teache...

July 7, 2016

Meg Hayertz had a booth at AWP 2016 offering Tarot Readings for writers. I went in asking what the cards had to say about the status of some upcoming projects, but Meg said that the readings she did wasn't about answering questions about the future; she used the cards...

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