Jeremy Pataky | Steam Ahead, Writers

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Thanksgiving’s just two days away. The calendar will flick that domino into the year’s remaining days, triggering the ol’ chain reaction. It would be easy to let time slip right by till the New Year ball drops. Don’t let it. On the cusp of the holidaze, I’m chiming in with a friendly reminder to take care of the writer in … Read More

Deb Vanasse | What’s Your Misbelief?

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One thing that can be easily said about writing—there’s no shortage of resources to help writers hone their craft. In general, that’s a good thing. But this abundance also adds to confusion as writers try out different rules and formulae, determining in one way or another that there are “have-tos” involved in this enterprise. There’s your archetypal approach—hero, mentor, guardian, … Read More

Deb Vanasse | Know It All

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It’s a crazy hypothetical, but let’s say you could only give one piece of writing advice, and the advice had to be expressed in a single sentence. Based on where we are along our trajectories as writers, each of us would choose differently. In large part because of the developmental editing assistance I render, my current choice is this pithy … Read More

Jeremy Pataky | Louise Erdrich Coming to Tutka Bay

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Word went out via email a while back to those on our mailing list announcing the exciting news that Louise Erdrich will be our guest instructor this year at our 8th Annual Tutka Bay Writers Retreat. We’re awfully excited that she’s coming and have heard—and seen, as reflected in the high number of applications coming in—that many of you are … Read More

Daryl Farmer | Writing the Indelible Moment

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This short piece reprises part of Daryl Farmer’s talk earlier this month in Anchorage, part of 49 Writers’ Reading & Craft Talk Series at Indigo Tea Lounge. The event was occasioned by his new book of stories, Where We Land. Tension, I tell my students. Dramatize, give your characters conflicts for them to resolve. This is how narrative works, I … Read More

Deb Vanasse | Unfit for Fiction

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  Let’s say you’re writing a novel, and somehow—maybe owing to the 24/7 news cycle or to the protest signs leaning against a wall in your garage or to the hours you’ve spent organizing indivisible enthusiasts—you come upon the idea of writing a narcissist into your fiction. Don’t do it. A narcissist operates like a wrecking ball. Oblivious to the … Read More

Guest Blogger Cinthia Ritchie | Why I Hired a Beta Reader

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  I did something I thought I’d never do: I hired a beta reader to help with the beginning chapters of my second novel. I’d been struggling for months, with no end in sight. I was literally making myself sick with the worrying and the obsession. I had, no exaggeration, over twenty takes of the first chapter. And I couldn’t … Read More