Don’t Write Alone: Notes on Craft

Finding the Secret Door Into Your Novel

If you’ve ever written a novel or tried to write a novel, you’ll understand the immensity of building out a book from nothing.

Dec 22, 2022
What Does Your Novel Want?

What I was trying to write was a book that lent itself to connectivity, a book that was true for me that others could access too. I did this by establishing a consistent “want” for my protagonist.

Nov 21, 2022
Invite the Vampires Inside (and Other Rules for Genre Writing)

In defining your monster, you’re also building your world. By saying what the big, spooky creature can and can’t do, you’re eliminating convenient and easy plot mechanics your protagonist will inevitably exploit.

Oct 31, 2022
What Translators Mean When We Talk about Reading

Make sure you save a little of the “joy of discovery” for the actual translation process by not reading your source text too closely before translating it.

Sep 29, 2022
The Art of the Funny Metaphor

Ben Sandman elaborates on two strategies for crafting the comic metaphor—and shows us that the recipe for inducing laughter is different from what we might whip up for more serious writing.

Sep 21, 2022
Did I Get My Memoir Wrong?

I was confident in my narrative and wrote a memoir about it. But turns out the facts were questionable.

Aug 24, 2022
The Way Into the Poem Is the Decision to Write the Poem

The fear of writing a “bad” poem keeps me from writing at all. But I can’t write a “good” poem without writing any poem.

Jul 12, 2022
As an Indigenous Writer, I Push and Protect My Readers, My People, and Myself

Redactions can be both silence and explanation. They function purely on my own terms and for my audience, my community.

May 05, 2022
Writing Social Media Into Fiction

Social media is often portrayed as the enemy of the writer—but like any good enemy, perhaps it’s best to keep it close. Don’t miss this craft essay by Isle McElroy for our Social Media Week series.

Apr 26, 2022
To Write for Middle-Grade Readers is to Write About Elsewhere

We’re not writing for us as we are now, but us as we were, or could have been, or should have been.

Apr 21, 2022
Who Is Steven Hotdog? Or, Untangling the “Braided Essay”

A personal essay of the Steven Hotdog form needs the interior experience, the exterior fact, and the meaning that connects them—in order to work its magic.

Mar 30, 2022
On the Limits and Possibilities of the Sentence

After another breath, I return to the sentence “This is because that is.”

Mar 29, 2022
I Couldn’t Stop Updating My Memoir

Writing a memoir is a process of curation. But I kept wanting mine to reflect my up-to-the-moment present.

Feb 17, 2022
The Anxiety of Exclamation Points

My exclamation points are part of a decades-long project to be as truthful as possible to my lived experience as a child of immigrants.

Teaching Freshman Comp Was the Best Writing Education I Ever Got

As part of our Education Week series, Jaime Green describes how teaching the fundamentals in undergrad writing comp made her a better writer.

Jan 24, 2022
Lessons from the Paintbrush to the Pen

I discovered that storytelling is also just as much science as art.

Dec 22, 2021
Why We Should Translate Literature About Trauma

Translating trauma and violence is not just about deciphering pain but also about recreating an emotional language that helps us to understand each other better.

Dec 16, 2021
What You May Never Find During the Research Process

What happens to your writing project if you are unable to find a particular source? Adin Dobkin shares two options: either you carry on or decide the project is valueless without it.

Dec 15, 2021
The Working Metaphors of Novel Writing

Ingrid Rojas Conteras speaks to Naima Coster, Alexandra Kleeman, R. O. Kwon, Laura van den Berg, and Bryan Washington about the language they use to describe writing novels.

Bringing Acting Technique to Exploratory Writing

When beginning a new written work, apply acting exercises to explore the intent, sensory experiences, and focus of your writing.