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It’s About the Love

by Dori Ostermiller In an interview a few weeks ago for ArtsHub of Western MA, the interviewer asked what I thought had made Writers in Progress so successful. I puttered and sputtered around this question for a while, trying to get a grip on what that word even meant, or whether I would ever use it to describe any of …


Research and Backstory in Fiction: A Strong Foundation, or a Tangled Web of Trouble?

by Jacqueline Sheehan As fiction writers, we create worlds for our characters to inhabit, and those worlds must be authentic–full of interesting context and realistic setting detail. As a fiction writer, you should know not only what your character likes to eat for breakfast, but what song they might be listening to on the radio in, say, 1971. You should …


What Does Psychology Have to do With Fiction?

by Jacqueline Sheehan An understanding of human psychology is perhaps the best preparation for writing fiction. What would motivate a character to dispose of her husband’s ashes in a bizarre manner, for instance? Why would your protagonist become diabolically obsessed with a dog? Why would an intelligent and athletic teenaged girl decide that food must be earned by acts of …


Lower Your Standards and Keep Going

by Dori Ostermiller It’s amazing, the myriad ways we avoid creative work…  Yesterday, during the hours I’d put aside for writing, I scoured my stove, gave myself a Tarot reading, took my dog to the ‘puppy store’ for treats, did fifteen sun salutations.  When I finally got myself to the computer, there were five or ten ‘urgent’ emails, which led to …