From Category: Essays on Writing
The University of Chichester hosts this online literary forum on the art and craft of the short story. The forum provides members an opportunity to enter into academic and creatively-based discussions on a range of literary topics. The site also features exclusive, in-depth interviews with leading authors such as A.S. Byatt and Hanif Kureishi.
Tim Weed is an award-winning novelist, lecturer, and travel-writing program director. His "Storycraft" blog analyzes great novels and short stories from a craft perspective to help aspiring fiction writers. Featured authors include Tolkien, Hemingway, Steinbeck, James Joyce, Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, Hilary Mantel, John Le Carré, Donna Tartt, Ray Bradbury, Phillip Pullman, Peter Carey, Leslie Marmon Silko, and many others. There are also more general posts on the importance of narrative in the modern age, what literature can do that film cannot, the archetypal Shadow in fiction, the art of the scene, and more.
In this 2022 blog post, publishing expert Jane Friedman talks about the benefits and limits of asking for feedback as a beginning writer. The takeaway: perseverance and passion are more important than any one person's opinion. "If I were to tell you today that your project is a waste of time, would you abandon it? If so, perhaps it's best that you did. To keep writing in the face of rejection is required of every professional and published writer I know."
In this 2017 essay from the blog of the literary journal Ploughshares, Chloe N. Clark discusses four stories that self-consciously re-use common fictional tropes about women in order to subvert these tropes. While beginning writers are often told to avoid clichéd roles for their characters, it can be an effective postmodern literary technique to make the characters themselves aware of and commenting on the limited identities they are forced to embody.
Queer fantasy writer Ana Mardoll, author of the Earthside series, discusses how to acknowledge the existence and needs of transgender people when creating a fictional world that includes widespread access to body-modification techniques. This piece was published on xer Patreon page (a platform to support content creators with recurring donations); a complete book of essays on the topic is also available for download on a pay-as-you-wish basis..
The website of well-regarded literary journal Creative Nonfiction offers articles on how to define the genre, its signature techniques, and sample essays from the magazine.
In this 2016 article from Literary Hub, Tobias Carroll surveys some techniques that great novels and films have used to show the reality-distorting effect of grief and other overpowering emotions. Carroll is the managing editor of Vol. 1 Brooklyn and the author of the novel Reel (Rare Bird).
In this essay from the bulletin of acclaimed literary journal Glimmer Train, award-winning short story writer Lillian Li explores how to include nonwhite characters who are neither arbitrary nor tokens.
AJ Wells, a judge for the self-published book competitions at Writer's Digest, breaks down the key ingredients of a successful entry. Professional cover design is a must, as is editing to eliminate extraneous details that slow down the story. Don't rush the book into print without making it as polished as possible.
Cheryl Morgan is a science fiction critic, radio presenter, and owner of Wizard's Tower Press. In this 2015 article from speculative fiction magazine Strange Horizons, she discusses tropes in transgender and genderqueer character representation and how to create gender-diverse worlds in a respectful and accurate way.
In this essay on the Tor Books website, widely published fantasy and science fiction novelist Kate Elliott discusses two-dimensional stereotypes and sexist tropes to avoid in fiction writing.