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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 …

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Efforts of Importance

by Sarah Earle I vividly remember the atmosphere of one of my first creative writing workshops.  I was nineteen, in college in Montreal, Quebec, with a now long-dead professor, his raft of gray hair yellowed by cigarette smoke.  It was cold outside (it was always cold outside) and unreasonably hot inside, and the mix of windowless conference room and sweaty …

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Embracing Habit and Ritual

by Kira Rockwell An aroma of medium coffee roast fills the studio with a hint of nutmeg and grounded earth. This warm drip, drip, drop into a clay mug her lover made signals the start of Marie’s day. After work, Julian pops into his local bodega for a sprite and a Kit Kat bar. Well, that and a friendly exchange …

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Character Need and Desire

by Jacqueline Sheehan Donald Maass, a huge literary agent and author, says that he rejects 90% of the manuscripts he receives because the author has failed to reveal the main conflict quickly enough, or to keep the narrative pace moving. Maass is surely not alone in this. In order to define our story’s conflict, we need to be able to …