• The Craft of Writing

    How to REALLY Revise Your Novel

    In Which I Come Face to Face With Real Revision As a freshman in College Writing 101, I wrote a narrative essay that my English professor thought was pretty good. It was exciting, about the time I popped my trail motorcycle off a log blocking the trail. So when it came time for the step of revising the rough draft into a more polished piece, I figured I didn’t need to do much more than check my commas. My story had everything it needed to earn me an A. “So what should I do for revision?” I asked my professor, expecting to hear something like, oh, your paper is perfect. You…

  • The Craft of Writing

    Finding Inspiration for Writing Fiction

    Where Does Inspiration Come From? I used to think authors got inspiration for their books in their dreams, as though book storks dropped off entire novels in their brains while they slept. I desperately wanted that to happen to me. But at the heart of that fantasy was the knowledge that dreams don’t usually produce entire books, and if ideas didn’t come in dreams, then where? And how would I ever get one good enough to turn into a book? Because I knew I wanted to write. I’ve been at it since I was a kid. In the seventh grade, I wrote a short story and my teacher told me…