• Great Beginnings: Marlena

    By on April 2, 2024 Posted in Great Beginnings     Comments 3 comments

    Discussion questions: Does the opening paragraph of Julie Buntin’s Marlena (below) make you want to read further? Why or why not? What kind of opening lines grab you, and what kind immediately turn you off? Let’s talk about it in the comments. read more

    Writing Prompt: Why Read?

    By on March 12, 2024 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 16 comments

    Discussion question: In a culture where visual entertainment is never more than a click away… why do you still read books? Is it for escapism only? Is it to keep up with what your fellow writers are putting out? Do you read because you believe those studies that say it makes us more empathetic as humans? Let’s talk about it below. read more

    The Best Passage You Wrote in 2022

    By on January 23, 2023 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 7 comments

    Discussion questions: What is the best thing you wrote last year? A line or passage that made you sit back and think, “Wow, I’m a talented writer!” And are you willing to share it with us? If so, copy/paste it in the comments below. Provide some context if you want, or let your words speak for themselves. Fiction or non, poetry or screenplay, even text message or email, let’s see an example of your best work of 2022.

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    Op-Ed: Everything Sucks

    By on July 10, 2022 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments Comments Off on Op-Ed: Everything Sucks

    There’s a scene in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road where “the man” finds some slow-flowing water. In this dry and ashy post-apocalyptic landscape, it’s a potentially life-saving discovery. I pictured myself diving headlong into the water, splashing around and taking immoderate, choking gulps and probably screaming and peeing from the excitement and relief. But the man is more measured: “He got a cloth from the cart and a plastic jar and came back and wrapped the cloth over the mouth of the jar and sank it in the water and watched it fill.” Then he holds the water to the sunlight: “It didn’t look too bad.” The man and his son, “filtering the ash from the water,” drink until they’re full.

    Nearly subconsciously I looked around for something to write with, wanting to scribble a note, something like “filter water through a cloth!”

    It struck me then: Though I’d started this book out of obligation (Yak Babies group discussion, episode TK) and hoping for entertainment and escape, by the end I was reading for tips. For prep. You know, for the coming dystopia.

    When The Road came out in 2006, the kind of future the man and his son roam through felt far off, kept away by a long line of horrifying but foundationally stable dominos.

    Here in 2022 that future feels much nearer. read more

    Prompt: “All sorrows can be borne”

    By on March 19, 2022 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 14 comments


    Writing Prompt: Write a response to the following line from Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen): “All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.” If you’d like to share — and we hope you will! — post it in the comments below.


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    Your Best 2021 Writing Experience

    By on February 19, 2022 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 23 comments


    Discussion question: What was your best 2021 writing experience? That one particular day when every word was the right word? That time the walls came down and you wrote your way through a problem that had been nagging at you for months or years? Or when your writing and the environment in which you wrote combined to form a memorable experience? Let us hear about it in the comments.


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    Your Best 2021 Reading Experience

    By on January 22, 2022 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 31 comments



    Discussion question: What was your best 2021 reading experience? When timing, environment, and the book itself came together in a memorable way? read more

    Prompt: In 2021, I; In 2022, I

    By on January 1, 2022 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 49 comments



    Writing Prompt: Fill in the blanks: “In 2021 I ______” and “In 2022 I ______.” Your responses do not have to be about writing & reading! Take it where you want it to go; let it take you wherever it wants you to go. read more

    The Writer’s Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

    By on December 18, 2021 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 37 comments



    Discussion question: Help us build the writer’s ultimate holiday gift guide. What are the best literary gifts you’ve ever given or received? 


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    Prompt: Hurts, Hearts, Keep Going

    By on December 4, 2021 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 28 comments



    Discussion question: This week we welcome two new writing coaches! For a prompt, write a response to one of the following pieces of writing advice offered by Tariq and Darcie: 1) Write what hurts most; 2) Keep going; 3) Ask yourself what the story is doing in the reader’s heart.

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