Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

Writing Villainously for Fun and Profit

Of all the characters I create, I enjoy writing my villains the most. I practically cackle with glee whenever I start dreaming up all of the awful things they will do to my other characters. Maybe that’s because in my real life I am so well-behaved that it feels ridiculously fun to be bad…even if […]

Writing the First Sentence

A student once gave me an ancient how-to manual for writing engaging fiction. Tip #1 was this: Have a strong first sentence! Here’s the example: “Damn,” said the duchess as she stumbled on the stairs and her cigar flew into the nearest planter. Quaint, right? Even back then the author might have had his tongue […]

Writing. Without the Clutter.

Recently, I’ve become a fan of the writer Lydia Davis. OK, “fan” may not be a strong enough word. Disciple? Groupie? I haven’t stood at intersections waiting for red lights so I can thrust copies of her books through the open car windows of startled motorists, but don’t think I haven’t considered it. Though Ms. Davis […]

Writing Dialogue: Less is More

When I began writing fiction, my learning curve was steep. And the steepest part of that curve? Dialogue. Every time I had a character speak, I felt like I was wearing someone else's shoes. Now, dialogue is one of my favorite elements of any story I write, but it took time and few lessons learned […]

Writing, Revising, and Chiseling: Seven Steps to Done.

This might sound weird, but revision is my favorite part of writing…which is lucky, because I do a lot of it. Writing fiction is kind of like sculpting, only harder, because, unlike a sculptor, a writer has to create her own clay. Your first draft is the clay. Revision is sculpting, molding, refining that clay […]

Teacher Trouble

I am currently taking AP English Lit and my teacher is incredibly tough. I feel like every time I throw out an idea that I have spent hours researching and developing that she sees it as wrong. Now I would like to think of myself as an analytical person, however I am having problems formulating […]

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