Tag Archives: revision

Now Sit Right Back

Something’s up. Twice in the past week, I’ve done something I rarely do. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did it, before last Thursday. I watched a TV show. Last Thursday found me scrolling through Comcast on Demand for Wolf Hall. Last night, I went to iTunes and downloaded The Americans. For many of you, this may seem either inconsequential (=dull) or too little, too late. I’ve never watched Breaking Bad, Homeland, Girls, or Downton Abbey; I’m hopelessly out of it when lunchtime conversation turns to Game of Thrones or House of Cards. I’ve heard of most … Continue reading

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How Revision Brings Us Closer

This first Friday in July, I’m thrilled to offer a guest post by my friend and colleague Monica Wesolowska. Her memoir, Holding Silvan, will blow you away.  And she’s got some nifty insights here, too.  Thank you, Monica! At a recent reading from my memoir Holding Silvan, a friendly young man in the audience asked how I’d managed not to be angry or bitter in the book about the people who’d failed me while Silvan was alive. I had to laugh. I could have said the memoir just came out like that because I’m naturally a lovely person, but catching … Continue reading

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If At First…

I’d like to share some good news.  Yesterday, I heard from an editor at a literary magazine that the revision of a story I’d sent them made the cut.  “We loved it!” she wrote.  Contract in the mail.  Wow! Yay! Yippee!  And Phew! It’s not always easy to share good news—and on a blog: Will it look self-congratulatory?  Gloating?  Self-promotional?  Slow down, I tell myself; it’s not as if I won the Pulitzer. Still, acceptance of short literary fiction is no easy feat, and the fact that it’s taken me almost an hour to write the two brief paragraphs you … Continue reading

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Done Yet?

When people ask me what I’m working on these days, I tell them the truth: my novel.  And then I get cagey.  Questions inevitably follow, questions like, “How’s that going?” Or “the same one?”  Or “Must be about done by now, huh?” The fact is, I’ve thought it done a few times now.  First, about (gulp) ten years ago, when I wrote what seemed to me the most achingly beautiful ending I could imagine.  (When you start to think of your own sentences as achingly beautiful, watch out.)  My trusted readers didn’t get the imagery, and pointed out a few … Continue reading

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How Much Is Too Much, Part II

Last week, I blogged about the quandary of how to respond to student work. Here, a few writing teachers I admire share their approaches. Laurie Ann Doyle teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley Extension. Her story “Restraint” will be published in Midway Journal  this summer. Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax and the forthcoming Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, has taught narrative nonfiction writing at UC Berkeley Extension, Boston University, and Harvard University. Wendy Tokunaga teaches fiction at University of San Francisco and Stanford Continuing Ed.  The author of three published novels, she has work in two new anthologies, Madonna … Continue reading

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