Monday, August 29, 2011

Should I Share My Poetry and Fiction Online?

It's the "Catch-22" of publication: you want to publish your work, but many publishers want you to have following before they'll publish your work.  To get the following, though, you need to share your work online...but then it counts as "already published," and then you can't send it on to magazines or booksellers.(thanks to Luna S. for pointing this out!)  Read on to learn how you can navigate this tricky aspect of self-promotion.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Writing the Novel: Intertwining Plot, Conflict, and the Tapestry of Character Development

Image: Simon Howden /
Novels are complex creatures. They involve a complex weave of characters and events which must still fascinate the reader from the first page to last.

The key to unlocking your novel lies in integrating the personal conflicts of each individual character with the central conflict of the whole novel.  The goal is to help the reader sympathize with your characters as they struggle not only to "solve" the core problem of the novel, but also as they try to face the dangerous facts of their own lives.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do I Need an Agent to Publish My Book?

The publishing world is changing rapidly due to improvements in technology and media. However, many facts of the literary landscape mean that agents should still be a relevant (and very important) part of your publishing plan.

Do you need an agent?  Yes and no - it depends on where you are as a writer and what you want for your book.  Read on to learn more about when and why you should find an agent.  (Thanks to Joserie F. for asking this question.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

How to Write a Novel: The Quick Guide

Writing a novel can bee an extremely difficult experience, and yet it remains one of the most rewarding experiences in writing. Public adoration aside, the sense of accomplishment runs deep.

To help you reach that, here are some tips on how to write a novel.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lead Online Writing Groups with 12Writing

Are you ready to encourage fellow writers in an upbeat atmosphere?  Would you like a place to share your own work and receive feedback?  Looking for experience teaching a writing workshop?  Then consider joining 12Writing as a Writing Group Leader.

Becoming a Group Leader

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Motivate Your Students with Purpose-Driven Lesson Plans

Image: healingdream /
Our students are now more distracted than ever.  As writing teachers trying to hold the attention of our students, we compete with Facebook, Netflix, and the upheavals of the modern family.

To keep our students focused on our classes - and, more importantly, to keep them interested in writing - we need to give our students a reason to to study.

Learn to Market Yourself and Mentor Your Students with Cameron Herold's Double Double

Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less
Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less

No, I don't normally read business books.  But I've been trying to expand 12Writing into something profitable, and this book came highly recommended.  But you shouldn't read this book just because you're maybe interested in business - this is actually a book about building a solid foundation for any organization.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Traditional Workshops vs Freewriting Workshops and the Amherst Method

The structure and goals of the writing workshop have changed a great deal over past hundred years.  To benefit the most from a workshop, you should familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of workshops.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Google Wave: Edit This Poem!

Google Wave is out!  And this may be the best way yet to have real-time collaboration online.  I think this may revolutionize the way we conduct creative writing workshops, but we'll just have to see.  Please click Read More below to see a sample of Google Wave in action.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Do I Choose an MFA Program?

Choosing to move past the "lone ranger" stage of writing and on to an MFA program can be a big step forward for any writer.  But it does represent major changes in terms of the time and effort you dedicate to your work, and you want to make sure you choose an MFA program which fits your needs as a writer.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Starting a Literary Magazine for Johns Hopkins Undergrads

Very soon, I'll be sponsoring an Undergraduate Online Literary Magazine for Johns Hopkins.  The name, format, and submissions process are still to be worked out - my goal is that the undergraduate editors will learn to manage and produce online issues mostly on their own, and I can work more as a supervising editor.  Since Hopkins isn't among the Ph.D. programs I'm applying to for next year, I hope we can make the magazine largely self-sufficient either by the end of the semester or by the end of summer.

If you're a student at Johns Hopkins and would be interested in taking part, please contact me.  For updates on the magazine, visit our Word Planet Literary Magazine and Follow Us on Facebook.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Surviving the Writing Conference - AWP 2011

Have you attended a writing conference? Have you experienced the bug-eyed wonder of a room filled with over a thousand students and writers and writing teachers clumped around the islands of agent booths and presentation tables? Or maybe you've had the choice between six or seven panels you really want to see...except they're all in the same time slot, and you haven't eaten since breakfast, and breakfast was nearly eight hours ago...and it wasn't what you'd call a large bagel...

Ph.D. Programs in Creative Writing Go Global

At AWP this week, I met someone who's looking into a low-residency Ph.D. program in Ireland that - get this - encourages genre writing. You can earn a Ph.D. in Creative Writing with a focus in science fiction, fantasy, or even magical realism from Warnborough College, and the courses are all conducted online. (and don't fall into the trap of thinking this would be an easy course of study - a quick look at the Creative Writing Modules reveals some real meat to the coursework).

But this is part of the growing trend in low-residency education. Bath Spa University also offers a Ph.D. which is open to genre fiction, and they are introducing a new low-residency program starting this fall.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Revising the Website - New Look for IFP

Yes, it's a lot of work putting together a website.  It's even more work making it reliable while looking good.  So I'm very happy to unveil the new look of my Introduction to Fiction and Poetry homepage.  It's even more a product of Blogger now than it was before, but it does look better.  And I took the background photo myself - with an iPhone, no less.

But let's not kid ourselves - the main reason I'm posting this link is because I have to reset the www subdomain yet again.  But that's okay.  Hopefully, it will all be worth it.