ABCs and an MFA

MFA programs help children’s and YA authors develop craft and connections.

Creative Writing MFA 101

A quick and dirty guide to creative writing MFA programs

Postgrad: up next

You have your writing degree. Now what?

David James Poissant: Zoo story

David James Poissant captures plots, characters, voices and the occasional animal in his new story collection.

Ruth Ozeki: Mindful meditation

The novelist’s workshop takes writing from the mat to the page.

Anita Shreve: Soldier on

Anita Shreve wrote nine drafts of her latest novel, Stella Bain, before it was published. With persistence and passion, she saw the book through to its end, an approach that has paid off throughout her 24 years as a novelist. Time and again, her novels demonstrate how dynamic characters and complex plots can bridge the gap between mainstream and literary.

Don’t write for the money

A new survey shows that book writing is anything but lucrative. That doesn’t mean you should give it up.

Gaiutra Bahadur: How I Write

As Bahadur, a journalist, set out to discover the lost story of her ancestry, she realized her great-grandmother’s narrative was not unique; it was “emblematic.”

Holiday gift guide for writers

’Tis the season! Find the perfect holiday gifts for the writers in your life.

Steve Yarbrough: Can’t stop telling

Novelist and teacher Steve Yarbrough brings a compulsion for words to the page and the classroom.

Amor Towles Interview: How I Write

The bestselling author of Rules of Civility reveals his writing process.

Suit yourself

You’re walking through the woods when you come across a suitcase. Describe it. What is inside? Who does it belong to? How did it get … Read More “Suit yourself”

Literally

Our language is filled with idioms, phrases which have definitions different from their literal meanings. Clichés such as “at the drop of a hat,” “take … Read More “Literally”

Sea and fog

You wake up on the deck of an empty boat. The boat is adrift, and you’re surrounded by fog. You check your pockets. No cellphone and … Read More “Sea and fog”

World of words

Got writer’s block? Step outside with a pen and notebook and find the words you’re missing. Keep your eyes peeled for a sidewalk message, a … Read More “World of words”

Fashion passion

“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”—Marilyn Monroe Give an unusual piece of clothing or unique accessory to a character. … Read More “Fashion passion”

Alice Hoffman: How I Write

While studying for her master’s degree at Stanford University, Alice Hoffman was approached by Ted Solotaroff, founder of American Review literary journal, and she quickly learned two cardinal rules of publication: Write often and write fast.

Curbside encounter

You’re walking through your neighborhood when you see three children sitting on the curb. It’s 11 a.m. on a school day. What are they doing … Read More “Curbside encounter”

Two truths and a lie

“Write the truest sentence that you know.” —Ernest Hemingway Write down 10 truths: historical facts, pop culture trivia or details about yourself. Then rewrite each … Read More “Two truths and a lie”

History repeated

Imagine you could travel back in time to a moment in history: the invasion of Normandy, the flight of Amelia Earhart, the assassination of Abraham … Read More “History repeated”

Jenna Blum: How I Write

“It’s really not the writing that takes me a long time; it’s the ideation, and the underlying architecture that has to feel solid before I can even start cloaking it in words.”

Not so ever after

Write the sequel to your favorite fairytale. Are Hansel and Gretel tried for murder? Do Snow White and her prince contemplate divorce? Does money really … Read More “Not so ever after”

Heartbreak Hotel

Write the scene of your first heartbreak from a third-person point of view. Pretend you’re a bystander and capture the environment, the dialogue, the facial … Read More “Heartbreak Hotel”

Please, Mr. Postman

With a decline in postal service, hand-written letters may be a dying form of communication. But imagine a major power outage forces your character to … Read More “Please, Mr. Postman”