January 2013

Bookmark This: John Steinbeck's Advice for Beginning Writers

John Steinbeck

We're excited to share this treasure from John Steinbeck, whose thoughtful reflections on the art of writing constitute an invaluable resource for all writers. Below is Steinbeck's "letter" to beginning writers:

Dear Writer:

Falling in Love Again

It’s been years since I’ve fallen in love. The old-fashioned, moon-eyed, swooning, heart-palpitating kind of love. A love like the first time, or the second, third, or even fourth time, when all the good moments were pure bliss and the bad ones led to black pits of self-hating despair. Am I too jaded for that kind of love now, too smart, too set in my ways? Do I even want it?

MALI: Rebels Burn Historic Books

Monday, January 28, 2013
Freedom to Write News


A French military truck passes a bus in Mali as the army advanced towards Timbuktu. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

A Shot of Positivity

Just as our bodies need shots to ward off disease, our minds need vaccines against negativity. We're surrounded by negative messages all the time, not to mention those we produce internally, so I’ve found that giving my mind a shot of positivity on a regular basis helps fend off negative self-talk.

Bookmark This: Francine Prose

Losing Control

I can write. What I mean is that I usually have no trouble sitting down and stringing words together. Sentences beget sentences, and eventually, when I’m lucky, I find a crumb of a story. The hard part isn’t the writing, but maintaining control of it.

In Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern says, “A beautifully complex story is often complex not because of a complicated surface, but because of an impressive depth.”

Usually, But Not Always

In fifth grade, Mrs. Ran told me I wasn’t allowed to bring notebooks to school anymore, which I thought was ironic, because that’s exactly what happened to Harriet in my contemporaneously favorite book, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.

Know What's In The Well

Workshop began this week. I got tons of great feedback, and in the next two weeks I'll do a major rewrite of the story we workshopped. I also have an assignment from Antoine: I need to identify my central character's presence, both thematically and physically, in each of my stories.

RAN 02/13: SAUDI ARABIA

RAN 02/13
January 2013