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Creative Control in the Age of Kickstarter

How much creative control do we cede when other people’s money is involved? Before I get to Kickstarter, let me throw in a historical anecdote. Galilee Galileo was not only the Father of Modern Science, he also earned a decent income from book sales. He was driven enough by profit maximization to eschew writing his […]

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How One Author Combined Personal Essays Into a Coherent Memoir

It is the height of hubris to edit an award-winning creative nonfiction author who also happens to be your mentor. But I decided the brilliant proposed title of Sue William Silverman’s guest post–”E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many (essays) One (book)”–wouldn’t translate well in a tweet. So I’ve imposed a more utilitarian title on this […]

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Are You Talking to Me? Use of the Second Person

Perhaps it’s because I don’t like being told what to do. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to reflect on some of the things I’ve done. But as a reader I generally do not care for the use of the second person. I’ve been forced to rethink my position after reading Sue William Silverman’s masterful […]

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Why I Left my Literary Agent

It was the hardest professional decision I ever made. Harder than leaving a stable think-tank job to join a start-up as its CEO. Harder than walking away from that successful start-up four years later to answer the call of an art-committed life. After three years of labor, with the finished memoir in hand, I chose […]

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Celebrating an Escape into Fiction

News flash: A compelling novel can magically transport you to another world. Apparently this lifelong reader needed that reminder this past weekend. I’ve been feeling creatively underpowered, as I’ve written, but I’ve also been physically unwell and busier than usual at my day job. So this weekend I traveled to a dystopian future world called […]

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How I Failed to Avoid the Post-MFA Slump

I have a confession to make. It has been six weeks since my last serious effort at creative writing. One thing I’ve learned from interviewing artists is that even the best of them sometimes find themselves in a slump. And we can be very supportive of each other in these times, as I discovered when […]

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A One-Week Social Media Withdrawal

Consider this post a “closed for business” sign for one week. I have before learned the value to my creative process of occasionally going off-grid. A week ago I received my memoir manuscript back from the accomplished memoirist and editor I hired to give it a final read. Her suggested revisions were dead-on, answering the […]

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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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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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How Does it Feel to Have Earned an MFA?

“How does it feel to have earned an MFA?” It’s a question I have heard frequently from well-meaning people, and I have had no answer. It has been exactly one month since I received my diploma in front of my wife, daughter and son in the grand chapel of College Hall at the Vermont College […]

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