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Motivational Words From 10 [Particularly Badass] Writers

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The Fiction Writers Review has great interviews with Rosalie Morales Kearns (Virgins and Tricksters sounds great, BTDubs), Laura Kasischke, and
Holly Goddard Jones.

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Here’s the most recent installment of Ploughshares‘ For Those About To Write (We Salute You), featuring 27 writing prompts. Not big on prompts for the sake of prompts myself, but I like looking through them in case something strikes me. In this case, something did strike me.

Ploughshares also shares a roundup of posts on Getting Published.
Perhaps read that with From the Slush Pile…, a post on how to get published in Ploughshares itself.

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I do feel grateful. This is the fifth novel I’ve written but the first to be published, so I feel pretty lucky and relieved. I would probably have written five more novels if that’s what it took. But after that, I would have started taking singing lessons or something. Maybe I’d sign up for singing lessons and embarrass myself during the try-outs for American Idol.

The Tin House interview with Christine Sneed.

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When we are rescued and our suffering ends–this is when we experience the deepest happiness. That is why suffering has value.
     Tragedy is a failed attempt at saving someone from suffering. Such failed attempts are impossible to forget. In the context of both individual and national histories, tragedies are unforgettable.

The Kirkus interview with Ludmilla Petrushevskaya.

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At the totally badass LitReactor:

How to Fail and Why You Should Keep Failing

6 Ways to Fall in Love with Writing

Breaking Hearts

10 Questions with Fight Song Author Joshua Mohr

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Rumpus: A memoir like about your years as a dominatrix, in someone else’s hands, might be one of those where you have to trudge laboriously through the exposition until you get to the exciting or tawdry parts. But your writing is so beautiful. I was studying it, going back and back over it. The sentence construction is so great.

Well, I’m sold.

The Rumpus interview with Melissa Febos.

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Describe your routine when conceiving of a book and its plot, before the writing begins. Do you like to map out your books ahead of time, or just let it flow?

Honestly, it’s never happened the same way twice. I tend to plan as I go, the sentences revealing to me the characters and the events of the story. Then I go back in and try to figure out the pattern, the shape, and make it all fit and make sense; I don’t really separate the writing from the planning, as I’m doing it. Sentences lead to other sentences, characters grow, events happen. My only trick is to switch to some other project when one gets stuck. And they always get stuck. Without sounding overly sentimental about the process, I’d say trying to describe how you tend to conceive of a book is like describing how you tend to fall in love.

Jess Walter: How I Write

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8. Omniscient: Reader Drops Acid Gets To Live In Everybody’s Heads

YOU ARE NOW A GOLDEN GOD. Or, you just quaffed a cup of ayahuasca and now you’re hallucinating. Either way, omniscient POV allows us to become not a dude at the window or a telepathic lemur but rather, a hyper-aware psychic cloud floating above and within all the character action. We are granted a backstage pass to every character’s internal world.

25 Things You Should Know About Narrative Point of View

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What does it mean to be a working writer?

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I’m pretty sure I’ve shared a link to this Elizabeth Gilbert TED lecture before, but here it is again. Just in case.

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Never sell yourself short. Writers are notoriously neurotic (present company included). This means that we alternatively love and hate everything we write. But before you go off bemoaning the utter lack of writing anything comprehensible, be sure to seek out and commend yourself on the jewels that lay hidden amongst the rubbish. Enjoy the moments of greatness even if you don’t believe they come often enough.

Love, Alex Haley