Bridging the Gap Between Aspiration and Talent

My first quarter in UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Low-Residency MFA program, I studied fiction with Mary Yukari Waters. Mary said something once that was mind-blowing to me, a real lightbulb moment. Mary actually said many mind-blowing things over the course of our time working together, but this one in particular has stuck with me. Mary … Read More

Should You Become a Content Creator?

A friend recently forwarded me an issue of author Leigh Stein’s newsletter, Attention Economy: Writing + Publishing in the Digital Age. The issue was a thoughtful discussion of the need for writers to get into content creation, titled “audience is a business problem you need to solve.” Stein writes, “I believe that writers who want … Read More

The Problem with Know-It-Alls

Omniscient point of view isn’t generally favored in contemporary fiction, and it’s difficult to write well. But that doesn’t stop writers from trying to write it. I can certainly understand the appeal—when you’re writing from an omniscient point of view, it makes things less complicated. You don’t have to worry about how to impart information … Read More

Submission Etiquette

This morning, I am thinking about submission etiquette for writers. I hope you’ll indulge what may come off as a bit of a rant, but it’s not really. A week ago, it might have been, but I’m over it at this point. Still, I think it’s important for writers who are submitting to understand the … Read More

Why You Should Write Short Stories

Last week, I wrote about the 1950 film All About Eve and how much I love the way its ending mirrors its beginning. The screenplay for All About Eve is based on a short story, “The Wisdom of Eve,” written by American author Mary Orr (1910-2006). In fact, a lot of great films are based … Read More

The Connection Between Beginnings and Endings

Spoiler alert: I’m going to discuss the beginnings and endings of Celeste Ng’s novel Everything I Never Told You, Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys, and the classic 1950 film All About Eve, screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. I won’t give away the ending of Ng’s novel specifically, in terms of what happens in the story, but … Read More

Does Your Character Have Agency?

In her poetry collection Call Us What We Carry, poet Amanda Gorman writes, “Change is made of choices, and choices are made of character.” Gorman is a writer and is the youngest inaugural poet in US history. But she wasn’t referring to the craft of writing when she wrote this. She was writing about the … Read More

A Writer Is Someone Who Writes

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’d like to share a poem with you, writers. For copyright reasons, I can’t reprint it here, but it’s published in full on the Poetry Foundation website. It’s called “For the young who want to,” and it’s about being an artist. It was written by novelist, poet, and memoirist … Read More