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Showing posts from June, 2010

What if no one ever read another word I wrote?

Writing used to be my secret. It used to be my confidant when I was alone, afraid, overjoyed or perplexed. Then, I decided to major in it, and for awhile it became something else. It became a vessel for me to share said emotions with a select group of people who used writing in the same way. Writers became my community, and my confidant became not only the page but also the audience of teachers and fellow students who read my work. The expansion from solitary act to public act was exhilarating at first, even addictive when, say, some one “got it” and gave me positive feedback. Then I went to graduate school where my audience expected more than honesty—they demanded something intangible and complex, and I became part of a community that expected things from work that hadn't yet been written. This time was, in fact, when I began to publish and refer to my writing as work.
Something changes when a writer begins to call her stuff work, to write with the knowledge that her confidant has…

Don't Think About It, Jen

It's a wonderful thing that the process of publication has become more obtainable to the average Joe or Jane.  One needn't watch the nepotism of literary families from afar, reading some works with awe and others with a cinched brow, wondering why, and knowing that s/he will never infiltrate the circle, no matter the talent or drive.  Now, beginning outside of a circle is still tough, but doable.  Small publishers are finding lower costs and taking on new voices in a desire to find the next best thing.  And, if a writer is truly confident (and in a financial position to do so) s/he can even self-publish, which I suppose was always around but is now a more consumer-friendly process.

OK, so publishing is more obtainable.  This is good because it allows a greater variety of voices, not just the mentally tormented upper-class or literary namesakes.  BUT it also means that it can be very, very tempting to publish prematurely.  To write a book for the sole purpose of publication.  T…

ATTMP Blog Tour: The Greer Agency

The Greer Agency

The Greer Agency is 75k words of gritty detective fiction presented in 15 separate but connected stories. The reader follows the development of private detective Mike Greer, the only PI in the Altoona, PA phone book. It’s tough to make a living in a decaying old railroad town, but with the help of an anonymous benefactor, Greer lands some interesting cases—cases that he solves with guts and determination. Throughout the stories, his budding romance with Susan grows. Eventually they realize they are right for each other.

Readers will find Mike Greer an accessible everyman with luck, pluck, smarts and a host of interesting friends. He finds his way into and out of problems large and small. Greer narrates the stories in a refreshing and original voice. Each story has its own plot and can stand on its own but, as the book progresses, the mysteries pile up and the plots get more complex until the explosive last story.

Mike Greer is a protagonist with a low tolerance for b…

Back to Basics

There seems two schools of thought on what makes a writer great: a strong education (self or institutionally-guided) or a sort of gift that, like height or a high metabolism, is something that you either have or don't.  I bring this up because I'm currently masterminding the syllabus for my first creative writing course, which will begin fall semester.

This particular course is an introduction to creative writing and it will encompass numerous genres, including drama, fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction.  Truthfully, this feels like play for me--it's so much fun to sift through endless literary shorts, to decide which works I want to include in my course reading.  I have a large compilation of works that I'll have to pare down a bit before fall, but I'm confident that the end result will be an eclectic collection that will appeal to a wide array of tastes and sensibilities.  But this is the easy part.

I have been putting off constructing the craft lessons and w…