Momentum Part 1

Momentum Part 1

Momentum, in context of writing, really covers two different ideas, one pertaining to the discipline of the craft, and the other to the craft itself. Next week, I’ll look at the role that momentum should play in fiction. This week, however, I wanted to look 

Importance of Language

Importance of Language

My last post was about the first of two constants in fiction—tension. This post will focus on the second: Language. By that, I don’t simply mean English or Spanish or whatever language you choose to write in. Language is more a term that encompasses vocabulary, 

Carver’s Menace

Carver’s Menace

My Creative Writing students like to tease me. Every time we begin a new section, some new feature of writing we’ve not yet discussed, I begin by saying something like, “This is one of the most important aspects of fiction.” And while I maintain that 

Stillness

Stillness

Charles Baxter, in Burning Down the House, Essays on Fiction, devotes an entire chapter to a principle he calls “Stillness.” To paraphrase a rather lengthy and well documented argument, he proposes that stillness, a moment in fiction where action subsides and characters/narrators focus on the 

Everything I Need to Know About Writing, I Learned from Disneyland

Everything I Need to Know About Writing, I Learned from Disneyland

  (Repost from 24 May 2010) Recently, we made a painful decision to part with a close family member: satellite television service. The good news is that we haven’t missed it. Instead, we reallocated our funds, partially, to season passes to Disneyland. There are several 

My, like, well, uhm, title.

My, like, well, uhm, title.

Remember in high school, when your teacher made you give a speech, and made you sit through the speeches of everyone else in your class? How much did you hate that? What do you remember most about those assignments? I’m guessing it’s how many times 

The World Within the Object

The World Within the Object

“The longer you look at one object, the more of the world you see in it; and it’s well to remember that the serious fiction writer always writes about the whole world, no matter how limited his particular scene.” –Flannery O’Connor I’ve often said that, 

Mixed Messages

Mixed Messages

I teach both American Literature and Creative Fiction Writing, and often feel like I’m sending mixed messages to my kids. Imagine my feeling of hypocrisy when, in my American Literature class, I implore my students to “find the theme” in whatever novel or story we’re 

The Power of Nouns and Verbs

The Power of Nouns and Verbs

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk about the evils of adjectives and adverbs. Without rehashing previous posts, I’ll simply remind you that adjectives and adverbs usually indicate weak nouns and verbs. And while several writing instructors (myself 

Showing: Interior v. Exterior

Showing: Interior v. Exterior

I trust, in your study of writing, formal or otherwise, you’ve heard the term “Show, don’t tell,” or some variation thereof. It’s a topic covered in nearly every worthwhile craft book, but few of these books cover the difference between interior and exterior showing. When