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Road to Publication: Killing Your Babies Part Two

A memoirist always runs the risk of offending the living when capturing them in prose. But he also runs the risk of offending them by omission. In Part One of this series I discussed how I have reduced my manuscript of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road over the course of the last year, in anticipation […]

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The Artist’s Road Memoir will be Published this Fall

So it’s official. I’ve signed with an enterprising independent publisher and my memoir–four years after I first started working on it–will be published this October. So many readers of The Artist’s Road have traveled with me as I’ve chronicled this pursuit. I’ve shared my highs and my lows, and there were a fair number of […]

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A Passionate Defense of Journalists

Have you ever, in your line of work, had someone threaten to throw you off a balcony? That happened to a New York City television reporter the other night, and the one doing the threatening was a U.S. congressman. The episode itself–and the congressman’s first attempt at an “apology”–demonstrates a phenomenal misunderstanding of the critical role […]

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Rebecca Skloot on Producing Creative Nonfiction

Readers are embracing creative nonfiction like never before, even if they may not know that what they are reading is defined as such. That is forgivable, as writers, editors and instructors in the creative nonfiction space are still struggling with defining creative nonfiction, or CNF. Perhaps more accurately, they are struggling to define its boundaries […]

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Remembering the Day We’ll Never Forget

I found myself in the middle of chaos on September 11th, 2001, covering an impromptu evacuation of the U.S. Capitol as a Washington, D.C., based reporter. That emotional trauma came as I was struggling with an adjustment to life as a divorced father of two children. When the 10th anniversary of 9/11 came in 2011 […]

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4 Steps To Slashing that Manuscript in Revision

My mission: Reduce a 384-page first-draft memoir manuscript to 300 pages. Why? Because I know a tighter book will be a more pleasurable read, and because I know it will be easier to sell a shorter book to a publisher than a longer one. I’ve spent the last two months revising the memoir I wrote […]

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What Drives Some Memoirists from Truth to Fiction?

I remain obsessed with “truthiness” in memoirs. I know I’m not alone; my March post on the subject generated 187 comments. I believe I have arrived at three key principles for writing a memoir that is worth reading without truthiness. It is as follows: 1. Believe in your story. 2. Rely on your writing to […]

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MFA Nugget: What the Heck is a Postmodern Memoir?

MONTPELIER, VT: I would never miss a lecture by Vermont College of Fine Arts instructor Patrick Madden. Like his essays, his lectures provoke curiosity and reflection. And like his essays, he remains frustratingly elusive when it comes to the simple takeaways that so work in a blog summation. But in this lecture on the “postmodern memoir” […]

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Imagining History, or Creating True Scenes You’ve Never Seen

No matter what type of creative writing you pursue–fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry–a compelling scene can deepen the reader’s immersion in your words. In two weeks I’ll be giving a lecture at my final Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing residency titled Imagining History: Creating True Scenes You’ve Never Seen. I’ve provided a teaser of […]

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A Two-Year MFA in Writing Reading List in One Post

“So I would imagine you have to do a lot of reading in an MFA program,” I am sometimes asked. The answer is yes, and appropriately so: some believe the best way to learn to write is to read a lot, and to read critically. So what have I been reading the last two years […]

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