Maybe you have noticed that I haven’t been updating the column lately. The reason is that this space is for Surviving the Draft—a blog all about the art and practical aspects of writing, and not about the publishing, marketing, and business side of things. As you may know, Silver Sparrow, my new novel will be published in six weeks. And, simply put—all I think about these days is the publishing, marketing and business side of things. Because of this, I haven’t been in the right… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on April 13, 2011 at 8:01am —
Tayari Jones offers tips for gathering the team of readers that will take your work to the next level.
So you’ve just gotten through with your manuscript. You know I know it's not a beautiful work… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on March 1, 2011 at 11:17am —
Tayari Jones talks about what to do after group critique
If you are a member of a writing group, you have to figure out how to sit quietly while a bunch of people say exactly what they think about your work. It’s hard to be there… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on February 1, 2011 at 11:00am —
knows that the first step can be the scariest, and not just for new writers.
Some of you know that I have a new novel, Silver Sparrow, which is coming out in May. Although I finished writing the novel over a… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on January 4, 2011 at 7:00am —
Tayari Jones helps you -- and your draft-- survive the holiday season.
If you have stepped foot in a retail establishment anywhere in the United States, then you know that the holiday season is in full effect. All of the fitness websites are offering bullet point lists about how to stay on your diet during the holidays, but what about sticking with your writing goals? It’s hard to stay with your goals… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on December 7, 2010 at 12:30pm —
Tayari Jones's work-in-progress had been rejected by a dozen publishers, but she finished the novel anyway.
About three years ago, my agent contacted me to see how things were coming along with my new novel, SILVER SPARROW. I told her that is was going well and she asked me if I had a hundred clean pages that we could submit to publishers. I was very excited. Who wouldn’t want a new contract and the… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on November 23, 2010 at 6:30am —
Even though this admission makes her feel like The Grinch, Tayari Jones will not write a novel this month.
Sometimes I feel like the only novelist who does not spend the month of November cranking out a novel in thirty days in celebration of NaNoWriMo-- National Novel Writing Month. Just writing this post makes me feel like a literary Grinch, but I must admit that I have never been even tempted
to NaNo. One reason is that my birthday is in November… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on November 2, 2010 at 6:00am —
Tayari Jones on the art of naming characters.
Many aspiring memoirists often asked “Where do I start?” I always advise them to start with the story of their names. Your name really provides a quick snapshot into the context of your birth. My name, Tayari, is a Kiswahili word meaning “she is ready” or “prepared.” My family, by the way, is not from Kenya. We are from the American South. So right from my name,… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on October 19, 2010 at 6:34am —
Tayari Jones says a productive life is often a snooze, but that's okay.
I’ve been taking good care of myself for the last couple of weeks. I can’t decide if I am taking care of myself because the writing is going well or vice versa. Did I tidy up my writing area to get myself to write, or did… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on October 5, 2010 at 8:58am —
Tayari Jones on how to take criticism from an editor.
I’ve just finished a new novel, The Silver Girl
. For this post, I am going to share with you something I wrote when I received my editorial letter. It’s is a long document-- about five pages, single spaced, telling the writer what to do to make the book stronger. Some of it is praise, but most of it is criticism. No matter how much you know that… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on September 28, 2010 at 7:30am —
Tayari Jones helps on how to defend yourself against all the distressing news about women writers.
I’ve been having a hard time writing lately and I have been trying to figure out why. At first, I thought it was because school has started. Being on the faculty of a newly instituted MFA program is pretty demanding. But although my job does eat up my writing time, it… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on September 21, 2010 at 3:30am —
Tayari Jones reminds you that the title of your book is a first impression, so make it a good one.
One of the challenges of writing a book or story is figuring out what to call the darn thing. The title often is the first impression that you will make with readers. I think we’ve all bought books just for the title, and sadly, we’ve all been turned off by a title too. Titling… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on September 13, 2010 at 3:30am —
Tayari Jones says that censorship isn’t always evil, but it will seriously undermine your writing process
Self-censorship is not always a bad thing. I think we all have things that we would like to write about, but don't think it would be worth the fall out. The question of what's worth it is entirely up to you. That said; never censor yourself while you are still writing the story. Save the censoring… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on September 7, 2010 at 5:00am —
Tayari Jones on adding conflict to wake up a sleepy story.
When I was in high school, a harsh reprimand was, “Stop instigating!” (Odd diction for kids, but it’s what we used to say.) In a more formal parlance, it meant, stop provoking conflict. While this is a good rule for life, it’s not such a good rule in fiction. In an… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on August 31, 2010 at 7:00am —
Tayari Jones warns against letting what “needs to be done” get in the way of what else needs to be done—your book.
It's time to introduce a new term-- Workcrastinaton. If you're like me, you think that procrastination involves Law & Order marathons and Twitter, and these are insidious forms of procrastination, for sure. But there is another, more sneaky, incarnation--… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on August 24, 2010 at 8:01am —
Tayari Jones discovers that to get to the heart of the story, you have to get to the heart of all your characters--even the ones you don’t like.
As a professor of creative writing and also the facilitator of many workshops, I have learned that sometimes the problem with a story is a personal problem
, not a writerly problem
. For example, a person who relies too… Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on August 17, 2010 at 7:30am —
Author Tayari Jones introduces us to 'Surviving the Draft'--How to push your book over the finish line. Continue
Added by Surviving the Draft on August 10, 2010 at 8:00am —