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Notes on the Craft

Concrete, practical methods for improving your writing.
Chuck Palahniuk

36 Writing Essays by Chuck Palahniuk

36 exclusive craft essays on writing you won't find anywhere else online. The knowledge here is equivalent to what you'd get in an MFA program.
Taylor Houston

Punctuation Pairs: How To Combine Punctuation

In: Grammar
As if the rules of punctuation weren’t confusing enough, what do you do when you have more than one punctuation mark to contend with?
Leah Dearborn

The Machine With a Soul: Typewriters In the Past, Present, and Future

In: Abstracts
Perhaps our fondness stems from that image in the collective cultural imagination: a man with his typewriter, clacking away in a lonely hotel room, bottle of cognac at his side.
Leah Dearborn

Better With Age: Giving Elderly Characters the Spotlight

In: Character
Every living person on the planet has experienced childhood, but the same can’t be said for old age. Older characters have more history, so creating such a person takes considerable imagination.
Leah Dearborn

Bodices Don’t Rip: Writing Accurate Historical Fiction

In: Research
Sitting in a classroom or wandering through a sterile museum, we often feel estranged from history. But history is really about people, and that’s what makes it such fertile ground for writers.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Writing About Taboo Subjects

When writing about taboo subjects, be careful how you do it.
Leah Rhyne

How to Survive Your First Live Reading or Book Selling Event

In late June, I survived my first ever live, public reading event....and you can too! Here's how I did it.
Max Booth III

Forget Heroes and Villains, There is Only Point-of-View

In: Character
You want to make your characters realistic? Think of everybody as the protagonist.
Emma McMorran Clark

Play It Again, Sam: Tackling the Rewrite

In: Rewriting
Sometimes the best way to tackle a revision is to just start over.
Taylor Houston

Typos: Funny or Foul?

In: Grammar
Typos are a part of everyday life, but sometimes they can be downright dangerous. Here are three types, from the innocent to the egregious!
Leah Dearborn

The Curious, Poetic Lives of the Rossetti Siblings

In: Research
Born to a literary scholar obsessed with the works of Dante, siblings Christina and Dante Rossetti would respectively become some of the most famous poets of the Victorian era.

On Research: The World is Full of Experts

In: Research
The author of 'The Last Policeman' trilogy extolls the virtues of going out into the real world for your research.
Gayle Towell

Edit My Paragraph! Episode Three

In: Rewriting
This monthly column explores writing craft by offering detailed edits of paragraphs submitted by readers.
Leah Dearborn

Take Your Characters Out to Lunch: 5 Development Exercises

In: Character
Like going on a date, character exercises are part of the process of getting to know another person better (in this case, an imaginary person).
Gayle Towell

Edit My Paragraph! Episode Two

In: Rewriting
This monthly column explores writing craft by offering detailed edits of paragraphs submitted by readers.
Leah Dearborn

Live Dangerously with Second-Person Perspective

In: POV
Second-person perspective is one of those things that becomes more intriguing the more you are told not to use it.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: How to Put Together an Anthology

Tips and information about how to put together an anthology of short stories.
Emma McMorran Clark

Slipping Into Someone Else's Skin

In: Character
Great characters aren't just words: they're living, breathing people, as real as you or me. But where do they come from? How does one birth a character with depth and soul?
Leah Dearborn

Believing In the Nonexistent: An Introduction to Fictional Realism

In: Abstracts
Have you ever wished that Rivendell existed so that you could go there next spring break? Fictional realists argue that technically, it does.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Death in Fiction

Death in fiction — who, what, when, where and why.
Taylor Houston

Seven Songs, Seven Literary Devices — Celebrating the Poetics of Songwriting

Songs are poems, too. Or, the article in which I mention Katy Perry, Yeezy, Ezra Pound, Dante, and Flight of the Concords.
Leah Dearborn

The Archetypes of Hayao Miyazaki

In: Character
Revered Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki has announced his retirement, but not before years of contribution to the art of storytelling.
Gayle Towell

Edit My Paragraph!

In: Rewriting
This column illustrates editing techniques by offering detailed edits to paragraphs submitted by the readers.