20 May 2017

1/2 Dozen for Janet Benton

I met Janet Benton at a conference before news that her debut novel LILLI DE JONG was to be published. It’s now out in the world and getting rave reviews. What I love about introducing her wise words of advice here is that Janet takes on private students and so I could be introducing some

09 May 2017

Geeking on point of view…

When I’m trying to figure out whether to use first-person or third — and I’ve never articulated this before — one of the main things to consider is humor. First is always going to feel more intimate. I always want to lean into that intimacy — sometimes voice alone will carry an entire novel for

03 May 2017

1/2 Dozen for Jay Baron Nicorvo

Today, right now, you might just need the answers to these half-dozen questions with debut novelist Jay Baron Nicorvo. He talks about inspiration and the blue-collar work of writing, about trespassing and stealing, about impeccable research and twenty-years of rejection, about the fourth novel becoming the first one to get published, about endurance and interminable

05 Apr 2017

On Form vs. Formula

Below is a Facebook post that sparked a lot of conversation:  I’m going to get at this inelegantly. I’m running out the door. But here: novelists — emerging ones — are the most resistant to structure from all the various kinds of writers I’ve worked with. Talk to them about acts and beats and sequences

22 Mar 2017

My new short story about shedding skins, trans identity, family, home, revenge, avatars, and forgiveness. Feel free to share it with folks you think might dig this kind of work.

13 Mar 2017

Poem of loathing …

My poem up on Poetry Daily (okay, I’m two days late) is about my love-hate relationship with the reader. And this one is a little less love and a little more hate (and fear).Thankful to be included — with all my rancor. Here is the ugly despicable link.  

12 Mar 2017

Want to write an Op-Ed? Do it.

If you’re inclined to write opinion pieces for newspapers, now is the time! Seriously. Now. To help people navigate the how-to of op-eds, I gave at talk at VCFA this winter, followed by a Q & A on all sorts of topics. It was a long talk and, mercifully, it’s been condensed so you don’t have

12 Mar 2017

My New Job at VCFA.

The announcement went out this week that I’ll be the faculty director of Vermont College of Fine Arts’ relatively new residential MFA program. I want to say how much I’ve loved teaching at Holy Cross, a complete joy. And I will still be teaching graduate screenwriters at Florida State University’s Film School; they can’t seem to

18 Feb 2017

Strategies: How to Press On

My fellow writers, here’s my fear: you’re not writing. I’m afraid that the barrage of chaos from the White House is pounding down on you. I’m afraid you read the news and feel like your arms and legs have been ripped from your body — maybe I’m projecting. Let me be dull here and just