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Outlining Your Story: A Complete Guide

Some writers like to keep it spontaneous – they start a story with just a blank page and a single idea in their head. Others make a truckload of notes prior to the draft, often extensive enough to be archived in their own right as notes (as with Joyce Carol Oates). I’ve tried it both […]

Yes, I’m Submitting To The Top-Tier Publications – And You Should, Too

By September 2020, after three months of first-page drafting and halfway-through abandoning, I had my first short story ready to submit to magazines. I applied promptly to the names that appeared at the top when I Googled for the best literary magazines to submit to – Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Granta Michigan Quarterly Review, Missouri Review, […]

How My MBA Has Influenced My Literary Fiction Writing

Most people are surprised to hear that I have an MBA, and I can see why. Yes, writers don’t necessarily have backgrounds in the liberal arts, but an MBA – especially the cutthroat Indian version – is pretty much the opposite of artistic. People go to Indian B-schools to get the highest-paying job they can […]

To Pass Or Not To Pass? When A Writer You Love Disappoints You

I was recently on a John Dickson Carr kick, seeking a break from literary fiction in favour of something lighter and more plot-based. Traditional detective fiction is a genre I have the highest respect for, as coming up with a really original mystery plot and setting without resorting to gimmickry or deux es machina isn’t […]

Your Old Drafts Matter More Than You Realise

If you’re anything like me, you have cringed over things you wrote long ago. Flipping through old drafts, stories, poems, even diary entries almost inevitably unearths some laughable sections — stuff that was so crudely written, so silly, that you can’t help but wonder how far you have come since then. And sure, a lot of it […]

Announcing: My Literary Podcast!

A special post to tell you about something I’d been meaning to do for a while – start a podcast of my own! Introducing The Silent Town Show, hosted by yours truly, where we talk about pretty much everything to do with writing literary fiction! I’ve designed the podcast to be a companion to this […]

When The Writers You Don’t Admire Get You Down

It’s one thing to feel disheartened by the greats. At the end of the day you admire them and they’ve earned their stripes. They’re part of the canon. But then there are the contemporary writers. The ones who are aspiring for greatness just like you, only they’re a little further along in their journey. Scratch […]

When The Writers You Admire Get You Down

It happens a few times every week – I read something spectacular, whether it’s a book or just a sentence, and I go, “I wish I’d written that.” Perfectly normal part of reading as a writer, yes? Here’s what tends to happen after that – “I wish I’d written than, but I can’t. I’ll never […]

The Nonsense Of An Ending: How To Make A Story End Well

Back when I started writing short stories, I got teased a lot by my boyfriend (now husband) about how often I killed off my characters. “But that’s just the story,” I’d protest, “it called for a death.” “Well, it’s interesting that you keep dreaming up worlds where people need to die.” Well, what can I […]

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