reflective

Joan Didion’s and Barbara Kingsolver’s thoughts on short stories

It’s funny — aspiring writers are often encouraged to write short stories as a way of developing their writing skills, beefing up their portfolio, and making a name for themselves. What I’ve begun to learn, though, is that short stories actually have a higher level of difficulty than longer works. I always had trouble staying … Continue reading

reflective

What is success for a writer? (With reflections from Tim Parks on the ambition of aspiring writers)

I found this excerpt from the “Writing to Win” essay thought-provoking: Every year, I teach creative writing to just a couple of students. These are people in their mid-twenties in a British post-graduate course who come to me in Italy as part of an exchange program. The prospect of publication, the urgent need, as they … Continue reading

reflective

Ian Fleming explains how to become a wildly successful thriller author

It’s tough taking advice from successful authors whose success happened even a decade ago, since the publishing world is morphing at an unprecedented rate and “tried and true methods” don’t mean much anymore. Ian Fleming (author and creator of the whole Bond universe) wrote this essay in 1963, which is practically a forgotten age in the publishing world, now. … Continue reading