My Words Fly Up

Living Room Floor Technique for Revions

The Living-Room-Floor Technique for Revisions

Several writers I know have employed a style of revising that I call the living-room-floor technique for revisions. It’s simple enough—take your printed manuscript and spread it out on the living room floor (or any room with enough space) and start rearranging. Move chapter five to the beginning; take a slow-moving scene and put it

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from short story to screenplay

From Short Story to Screenplay

I got an email from one of my students last week. A short story she brought to class earlier this year is now a screenplay. Not only that, it is going to become a film. There’s a director, a cast, props, probably even coffee and doughnuts. A little backstory, though, to explain how Pam went

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dreams of a writing career

While Working for a Publishing Company…

I grew up with the New York Times. Even though we lived in Philadelphia, my parents both read the Sunday Times. Naturally, when I lived in New York after college, the Sunday Times was sacrosanct. When I moved to New Hampshire, I would stroll up to the local corner store early Sunday mornings to buy

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The Essential and Fun Task of Research

A few years ago, I started the novel that became As the Crow Flies. Two basic things I knew were that much of the novel would be set in a fictional town I had created in my previous book, and that part would be set in Edinburgh in the late 1990s. I also knew that

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What to Read?

Late last Wednesday night, I finished the book I was currently reading: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. I read it quickly, mesmerized as I always am with how she presents the largely ordinary lives of largely ordinary people (they do have their quirks, their exaggerations, as all good fictional characters do) in

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Keeping a Process Journal

I recently read The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo. The author is a professor at Hunter College, where she began the college’s MFA in Memoir program, and has also published numerous books. In this particular book she assures writers that it’s perfectly all right to take a long time to complete a writing

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In which I blog about the days I write and the days I don’t write; about teaching about writing; about reading (which is never enough); and occasionally about music, because sometimes a three-minute song can tell as good a story as a novel.

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