Features (2,299)

Talking for Writers

Every so often, I’m asked to speak about pitching to a group of writers.  This is easy for me because I love pitching and I love writers.  I also love making people cry, and that happens, I am not kidding, about sixty percent of the time.  Not everyone, of course – it’s not like I force them to sit through…


Added by Laura Brennan on March 12, 2012 at 3:19pm — 56 Comments

Call it Style

Blue bookitis.  That’s what they called it in college, a disease characterized by the belief that you could take every class offered in that enticing blue book of options. …


Added by Laura Brennan on March 11, 2012 at 11:23pm — 32 Comments

Crossing Genres and Frontiers with Molly Peacock: Part II

Gretl Claggett: Your latest book, The Paper Garden: An Artist {Begins Her Life’s Work} at 72, is a bold, risky, tour-de-force that defies categorization—released at a time when publishing is playing it safe. Tell us about the genesis of this book, your extensive research, and how you came to intertwine your personal story with the biography of your protagonist, Mrs. Delany, who lived…


Added by Gretl Claggett on March 9, 2012 at 9:39am — 5 Comments

On Chronology and Necessary Abandonment: Working with Letters and Diaries in Creative Nonfiction

Broken by MarcelGermain

The first review of Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Šimaitė appeared a few days ago. And even though this isn't my first book or review, it's still a wild ride to have strangers reading my work.

In her review of the book, Claire Posner points to a major challenge that I faced…


Added by Julija Sukys on March 8, 2012 at 5:30am — 10 Comments

Crossing Genres and Frontiers with Molly Peacock: Part I

Molly Peacock is a writer’s writer: prolific, versatile and courageous with her creative choices. She’s also a consummate teacher—the perfect person with whom to talk about craft …


Gretl Claggett: Molly, your ten books range from poetry to essay collections, and from memoir to a genre-busting hybrid that combines biography, botany, history and memoir in your latest book, …


Added by Gretl Claggett on March 8, 2012 at 8:05am — No Comments

The Art of Translation … by poet and nonfiction writer, Lorna Knowles Blake

I admire how Lorna Knowles Blake, in her poetry and essays, “thinks on the page”… and how—through the act of truly thinking on the page—she discovers new organizing principles and new connections between the realms of writing and life …


My first poetry collection concluded with a poem titled “The Art of Translation.” The close third-person speaker (i.e. the speaker looking over the shoulder of the first person) of that poem begins to wonder if what “she is after” is…


Added by Gretl Claggett on March 7, 2012 at 12:39pm — 1 Comment

Transforming the Writing Life in Discouraging Times

Julie Metz is no stranger to tough times. After her husband of twelve years died abruptly—leaving her alone to care for their young daughter—she discovered that through the years he’d had a series of affairs. Her bestselling debut, Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal, is a testament to transformation. I admire Julie’s…


Added by Gretl Claggett on March 7, 2012 at 8:27am — 3 Comments

Around She Writes, March 6, 2012

Here is what you might have missed around She Writes this past week


Top Content




Added by Mary Keating on March 6, 2012 at 5:24pm — No Comments

Is AWP for You?

Millenium Park at Night 2012 Copyright Cynthia Hartwig

Cynthia at Two Pens here. Exhausted but energized by three days of AWP.

I introduced myself to Kamy, co-founder of She Writes, at her…


Added by Cynthia Hartwig on March 6, 2012 at 1:00pm — 16 Comments

On Love, Sex and Common Enemies: Cara Hoffman Talks About Men

A year ago, just before the March 2011 hardcover launch of Cara Hoffman’s debut novel, So Much Pretty, my friend Jesse Kornbluth—who, in his Head Butler review, called it “the ugliest book I have read in years”—thrust a copy into my hands…


Added by Gretl Claggett on March 6, 2012 at 8:31am — 4 Comments

Between you and ME

In my last post, I discussed the importance of using pronouns. This week, I'd like to address the importance of using the correct pronouns. One particular - and extremely common - pronoun error that drives me crazy is the misuse of I.

At some point, most children get chastised for using the pronoun "me" instead of "I." For example, a little kid might announce that…


Added by Maria Murnane on March 6, 2012 at 7:30am — 10 Comments

Is There Still Room in Our Lives for Good Books?

Yes, argues Hilary Claggett, Senior Editor at Potomac Books, and good books start with good proposals. Hilary offers great advice on how to ensure that your nonfiction book proposal gets the attention it deserves:

I acquire books for the one of the most elusive audiences on the planet—the educated general reader. We are a dying breed. Those of us who were, at one time, wont to pick up a book to inform ourselves about some aspect of public policy or foreign…


Added by Gretl Claggett on March 5, 2012 at 9:13pm — No Comments

Looking Back: The Role of Musing in Memoir ... by Janice Gary

Writers have always talked about the role of the “Muse.” I love Janice’s insights about the role of “musing” in memoir …


Memoir is based on memory, and memory, as we all know, is slippery, subjective and colored through the lens of time and experience. When we write memoir, we don’t rely on transcripts or recorded archives (although that can be part of the tools of our craft). We are re-creating, sorting through the layers of remembering to re-member…


Added by Gretl Claggett on March 5, 2012 at 9:04am — 8 Comments

LOOKING FOR THE HORIZON: Why I write, edit and publish books ... by Alexandra Saville

Alexandra Saville is a true trailblazer. That's why I thought she'd be the perfect person to kick off this week's feature pieces ...

I grew up in a small, seaside town in Massachusetts. My father always said, “Red Skies at night are a sailor’s delight.” These words become part of the soundtrack to my childhood, and later, to my career. For me, this mantra meant that the next day would bring new challenges, adventures, and opportunity. Even…


Added by Gretl Claggett on March 4, 2012 at 9:13pm — 2 Comments

Sarah Johnson of Historical Novel Society: On Getting Reviewed

Hello, She Writes.  This is Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist, and today I’d like to introduce you to my esteemed publishing industry colleague,  Sarah Johnson, Book Review Editor of Historical Novels Review. In this guest post, Sarah gives you the scoop on what she looks for when selecting…


Added by Stephanie Barko on March 1, 2012 at 8:37pm — 1 Comment

Historical Fiction: A Conversation with my Clients’ Favorite Editor by Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist

Editing that is sensitive to the genre and style of the author is worth its weight in gold.

Here’s an editor that I get consistently great feedback on from my historical fiction clients. 

- Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist



Added by Stephanie Barko on March 1, 2012 at 8:21pm — No Comments

Five Reasons Not to Get an MFA - Reason #4

4. Reason #4 not to get an MFA: Timeframe

Some people write everyday. I don’t. I can’t. If I had to write everyday I think it would actually hinder my writing. Ideas come to me at very inopportune times. I’ve written on many an airplane air sickness bag, on subscription cards in magazines and on electricity bills. I don’t think I’ve ever opened a blank word doc in the hope that something would just pop into my head. I transcribe almost everything. 

I technically…


Added by Michelle Haimoff on February 29, 2012 at 11:00pm — 7 Comments

Five Reasons Not to Get an MFA - Reason #3

3. Reason #3 not to get an MFA: Cost


Let’s say that getting an MFA costs around $50,000 (not including housing, books, health insurance, etc). That’s two years and a significant amount of money that you could spend in a myriad of other ways. If you took just a fifth of that money, you could spend it on lectures, workshops, books, week long writing retreats, a personal computer just for your creative writing, or any other number of writing related activities. I did that math…


Added by Michelle Haimoff on February 28, 2012 at 10:00pm — 14 Comments

Social Media and Writers

Every writer I know who still has a breath left in her acknowledges how vital, rewarding and consuming social media can be. Most still strive for balance. I asked some friends how they navigate social media and find time to write. This is what they told me (and I appreciate their candor):

  • "The hardest thing about social media is staying…

Added by Ilie Ruby on February 29, 2012 at 12:00am — 9 Comments

Don't Be Afraid to Use Pronouns

Imagine you're having coffee with your friend, Julie, and she says "Oh my gosh, I have the funniest story to tell you about that guy John I've been seeing!"

You smile and sip your pumpkin spice latte, ready to listen.

Then imagine that Julie begins her story like this (read aloud for full effect):

"I knocked on John's door, and when John opened it, he smiled and gave me a hug. Then John asked me to come in, so I did. John and I sat down on his couch, and then John…


Added by Maria Murnane on February 28, 2012 at 8:34am — 3 Comments

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