Writer Unboxed

about the craft and business of fiction

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Root Down and Rise Up

Like all your Writer Unboxed columnists this week, I’m writing this in advance of the inauguration, a time of stress and worry and hopefulness and joy. We don’t know what will happen. And not knowing, not having control, is terrifying. In these days, it’s hard to concentrate. It’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to write. In yoga, there’s an expression:...

Flog a Pro: Would You Pay to Turn the First Page of this Bestseller?

But first, let’s celebrate an anniversary or two. Today marks the 15th anniversary of the first post on Writer Unboxed. A thousand congratulations to Therese and the cofounder, Kathleen Bolton (hi, Kath, hope you’re reading this), on such a long-lived and successful blog. WU is a go-to stop in my morning blog reading every day it’s up . I know I’ve...

A Semi-Colon Moment

I was asked to write something to mark the day—something to encourage a re-set as we turn the proverbial page on a difficult and divisive chapter in American history. But the truth is that I don’t know with certainty what this day will bring. I’m not writing this piece on January 20th, and at this point several outcomes seem possible, ranging from peaceful...

Focus!

The Codex Gigas. Matchbox to provide scale.   I didn’t get a lot of editing done early in January.  I spent too much time constantly refreshing the home page of the Washington Post and checking my Facebook news feed – I have a lot of friends who are fellow news junkies.  Given what was happening, it was hard to look away. Which makes me think of...

Writing Self-Care for When the World is Afire

At graduation, by all objective measurements, I should have been a well-trained family doctor. Yet during my first three years of medical practice, I don’t think a day passed when I didn’t want to tear my hair out in perplexity. People would walk in with vague symptoms that didn’t seem to fit any specific diagnostic pattern. In my newly minted state,...

Take Five: Desmond Hall and Your Corner Dark

Good morning, WU Tribe, please welcome new WU contributor Desmond Hall! He’s taken the time to answer a few questions about his forthcoming novel, Your Corner Dark, releasing January 19th. Desmond was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and moved to Jamaica, Queens. He has worked as a high school biology and English teacher in East New York, Brooklyn; counseled...

Stories, Short and Not

Image – iStockphoto: Pali Desperate Literature It’s always been interesting to me that late and early in each year, several news items we touch on at Publishing Perspectives have to do with short stories. This normally is sustained no longer than the stories themselves are. Within a week or two, this little confluence of storytelling and issues of...

7 Sneaky Ways to Spotlight Story Wisdom

photo adapted / Horia Varlan The Truth that resides in the beating heart of a novel is sacred to its author. Its pursuit called the writer to the page and inspired the perseverance to publish against daunting odds. Once your story feels deeply true, you long to share it—and your target audience will long to read it. Even though your main reason for...

Writing in Wild Times

Last night I sent an email to my editor, to which was attached the revised manuscript of my novel. The last six weeks have passed in a blur. I’ve been hunkered down dealing with a structural report that required rewriting large portions of the book, while beyond the insulating walls of my workspace the world was growing ever crazier, or so it seemed....

What to Expect from an Editor

Letting other people—even those close to you—read your novel for the first time can be stressful. You’ll wonder if they’re going to judge you, if they’ll recognize themselves in there, or if you really want your mother to know that you know about these things. But after the first few times, you get used to it, and you’ll offer your manuscript to pretty...

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