• (Family) Secrets Secrets Are No Fun…

    By on July 23, 2017 Posted in Strategies     Comments 10 comments
    Jul
    23

    TL;DR version: Writing about family without stepping on feelings can be difficult. But when authenticity is at stake, which is more important: Loyalty to the narrative or loyalty to your loved ones? This week I want to discuss if/when writers have the right to take private matters public, and if so, whether or not we should pull our punches. Then at the end of the post I offer you a chance to choose my own adventure for me. Because, help!

     

    When writing about your family and/or friends, how do you strike a balance between writing honestly and sparing the feelings of your subjects? Is it possible to be both authentic and considerate? Is it a simple matter of knowing when to pull your punches versus when to swing full force?

    Every week we get at least one email or call from a writer wondering how to write about family without inflicting severe emotional damage and/or sowing discord. This week, the query comes from… me! Because I’m up against it myself. And I wrote a sort of choose your own adventure, and I’m curious to see which option you folks would go with. Or have gone with, since I know a lot of you have already worked through this topic.

    In other words: Help! read more

    A Midsummer Night’s Writing Goals Check-In

    By on July 15, 2017 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 17 comments
    Jul
    15

    TL;DR version: Now that we’re halfway through the year, it’s time to check in once again with our 2017 writing goals. Are you halfway, or more, toward your goal? Are you struggling, and if so, how can we help? Let us know in the comments below. And if you want to make a new goal, complete the following sentence: “In what’s left of 2017, I will________”

     

    OK, so we’re not quite to midsummer, and we’re a few weeks past Midsummer, but last week I realized that we’re about halfway through 2017. Because I’m a math genius. And being the caring, thoughtful, all-around swell math genius that I am, I began to wonder how your 2017 writing goals are going.

    Maybe you told us about them in January, when you completed the sentence that began “In 2017 I will________”

    And/or perhaps you updated them in April, the last time we checked in with you.

    Well now here it is July (gulp) and we’re just over halfway through the year (gulp), and so I think this is the perfect time to see where we stand. read more

    The Texas Observer Short Story Contest

    By on July 8, 2017 Posted in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments
    Jul
    8

    I don’t have much to tell you about this week. I’ve been plugging away at my own project, and also helping put together the Texas Observer short story contest, our seventh year running. The winning writer gets $1,000 and publication in the Observer‘s October issue, as well as online. Finalists will also be eligible for online publication.

    This year’s guest judge is Deb Olin Unferth, author of four books and presently a creative writing professor at UT-Austin. Her recent story collection, Wait Till You See Me Dance, has gotten rave reviews from all corners.

    Deb tells us, “In short fiction I look for a voice that feels original, clear and urgent, and for a situation under pressure.”

    So keep that in mind, if you choose to enter. read more

    Q&A With Joe Giordano

    By on July 1, 2017 Posted in WBN News & Events     Comments 14 comments
    Jul
    1

    Today we’re pleased to run a Q&A with Austin author Joe Giordano, whose latest novel, Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller, was released June 15 by Harvard Square Editions.

    We talked with Joe about the long road to publication, the publication process, and how it feels to release a new book out into the world.

    After the interview, check out Joe’s bio as well as some links to his work.

    Any questions for Joe? Leave ’em in the comments section below and we’ll see if we can’t bring him back here to provide some answers.

     

     

    WriteByNight: Can you give us some background on your career as a writer? How you got started, how long you’ve been at it, a bit about your publishing history?

    Joe Giordano: One of the positions I held before I became a writer was to run a business in Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa out of Athens. I developed a deep sense of history and the desire to write an historical fiction about the Ancient Greek-Persian Wars. Thirteen years ago, I tackled the task. My prose was terrible; I needed to learn how to write. read more

    Writing Exercise: TALK!

    By on June 24, 2017 Posted in Strategies     Comments No comments
    Jun
    24

    TL;DR version: This just in: People like to talk about themselves! That’s why this week’s writing exercise is to  conduct an in-person interview with anyone of your choice — family member, co-worker, stranger — and then write: a summary of the experience; a letter on the interviewee’s behalf to a new pen pal; or whatever you want, really. And let us know the results in the comments below.

     

    I’ve been working on a new writing project that includes oral interviews with a variety of people. And do you know what I’ve discovered? People like to talk about themselves!

    Astonishing, right?

    But here’s something that actually has been a surprise: In nearly every interview I’ve done so far, the subject has talked about something unrelated to the topic at hand but equally, if not more, interesting. read more

    June Story Club: A Crooked Still Life

    By on June 17, 2017 Posted in WBN Story Club     Comments 11 comments
    Jun
    17

    TL;DR version: Our second selection for the WBN Story Club is Margaret Malone’s essay ”A Crooked Still Life.” What follows is a bunch of gobbledygook about why I picked it, and then some instructions on how to participate. If you want to skip all of that, the link to the story is at the end of the post. Enjoy!

     

    Great work, story clubbers, in discussing our first entry, Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain.” I think we did it justice. (They is, they is.)

    This month let’s do similar justice to a piece of nonfiction from an Oregon writer, Margaret Malone, which comes courtesy of a recommendation from WBNer Steve C.

    “A Crooked Still Life” was published in November 2013 by Oregon Humanities. It tracks Malone and her husband’s journey from Oregon to Boston, where he undergoes proton beam therapy to remove what remains of a tumor behind his left eye. read more

    Adriana Cloud on Bad Poetry, Inspiration and Reading Everything

    By on June 9, 2017 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 10 comments
    Jun
    9

    TL;DR version: We’ve hired another talented writing consultant, London’s very own Adriana Cloud. In her Q&A, Adriana talks about bad high school poetry, writing through a lack of inspiration, and reading outside of the genre you’re working in. These are the things I want us to discuss this week. See the bolded “Your turn” sections for discussion questions.

     

    As you will have noticed if you regularly look for updates to our website — which, why wouldn’t you?! — we’ve taken on yet another talented writing consultant, Adriana Cloud. Adriana lives in London but received her M.F.A. at Emerson College in Boston, where she also worked for Harvard University Press and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Her chapbook is titled Instructions for Building a Wind Chime.

    Today I want us to discuss a few topics drawn from Adriana’s Q&A, which you can read here. read more


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