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Writing Prompt Wednesday

Writing Prompt Wednesday

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“I had nothing to confess, so I made things up.” (from “Ramona” by Sarah Gerkensmeyer) What lies does your character tell? Why? Is he trying to protect someone he loves? Is she trying to be cool in front of new friends? Has the evil White Witch given him enough Turkish Delight to woo his allegiance? Is […]

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Inspiration and Imagination

Inspiration and Imagination

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I just bought Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer (a beautiful and fun book on craft) and wanted to share a couple of gems from the early pages on Inspiration and the Creative Life. Mainly: Inspiration is a continuing process, and creative play strengthens the imagination and, thus, storytelling. “‘Inspiration’ is […]

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Literary Roundup

Literary Roundup

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by Debbie Vance NPR reports: “Nasa Confirms a Lake Superior on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus” — What this means for us? Scientists may start traveling out to Saturn to look for subsurface aquatic life. I sense an onslaught of underwater sci-fi coming… “Water on Enceladus sets up an interesting dilemma for planetary scientists: it’s long been […]

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Literary Roundup

Literary Roundup

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The eighth edition of Art Dubai is taking place March 19-22, 2014 at Madinat Jumeirah. Over the last seven years, Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the MENASA (Middle East/North Africa/South Asia), has become a cornerstone of the region’s booming contemporary art community. Recognised as one of the most globalised meeting points in the art […]

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Photographic Writing Prompts

Photographic Writing Prompts

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by Debbie Vance “Photographs, which cannot themselves explain anything, are inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy.” “To collect photographs is to collect the world. Movies and television programs light up walls, flicker, and go out; but with still photographs the image is also an object, light-weight, cheap to produce, easy to carry about, accumulate, […]

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Literary News Round-Up

Literary News Round-Up

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by Debbie Vance Tuesday morning folks–time for a good dose of news both fun and frivolous. (Although I don’t think it’s frivolous at all, actually. What better way to start plugging into your literary community than by learning about it? (Although, if you do need a bit of frivolity this morning, there just may be […]

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Contest, Craft-Talk, Cormorant

Contest, Craft-Talk, Cormorant

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by Debbie Vance The deadline for Kenyon Review‘s 2014 short fiction contest is fast approaching! Only four days to polish up those short short stories and send them out into the world. (March 1 is the deadline.) Kenyon Review has published the top three winners from the 2013 contest online, and I just finished reading […]

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Writing Warm-Ups

Writing Warm-Ups

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by Debbie Vance Runners jog before sprinting, yogis do downward dogs before inversions, lovers have foreplay before sex…why is it that writers believe they are the sole subset of humanity that can accomplish their main objectives without any warm-up exercises? In her craft book, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg says this: Knowing the […]

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On Love and Romance

On Love and Romance

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Luminary by R.S. Thomas My luminary, my morning and evening star. My light at noon when there is no sun and the sky lowers. My balance of joy in a world that has gone off joy’s standard. Yours the face that young I recognised as though I had known you of old. Come, my eyes […]

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Live the Good Life

Live the Good Life

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by Debbie Vance Last week, Design*Sponge featured an interview with Brit McDaniel, ceramic artist and startup studio owner, on her experience as an artist/entrepreneur. Brit says she felt “lost” in her life–she had a presumably non-creative job up until a year ago–and she gave up, went back to school, ran a Kickstarter campaign, and successfully opened […]

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Haruki Murakami on Storytelling

Haruki Murakami on Storytelling

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by Debbie Vance Haruki Murakami is recognized as the most popular–and the most experimental–Japanese writer to have been translated into English. His fiction “inhabit[s] the liminal zone between realism and fable, whodunit and science fiction”–and expertly, at that. In reading his 2004 Paris Review interview, The Art of Fiction No.182, I was struck time and time again by his […]

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Literary Roundup: News Both Fun and Frivolous

Literary Roundup: News Both Fun and Frivolous

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by Debbie Vance Literary Roundup: News Both Fun and Frivolous “I am not a novelist, not really even a writer; I am a storyteller” — A compendium on the art of storytelling a la Isak Dinesen. “As the Sun Has Risen” — Mere Christianity by CS Lewis presents a rational argument for Christianity…with links to Lewis’ […]

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Joseph Beuys and the Languages of Art

Joseph Beuys and the Languages of Art

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by Debbie Vance This morning I read “Final Ascent: Joseph Beuys and the Languages of Art” by Thomas Micchelli on HyperAllergic (a forum on art and culture) and was struck by the idea of language within visual art. In the case of Beuys, the language is both literal, as he often incorporates handwritten words into […]

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Debunking Writer's Block

Debunking Writer’s Block

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by Debbie Vance Writers often complain about “writer’s block,” as if we writers have an inherent disability that prevents us from effectively completing our work. In no other field is there a specially designed label for failure. Henry Miller says, “When you can’t create you can work,” which is, I think, a good foundational perspective […]

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Flying Books and Short Films

Flying Books and Short Films

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by Debbie Vance The illustrated children’s book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, illustrated by William Joyce and Joe Bluhm, is a classic tale about the power of story. Morris Lessmore is an ordered man who keeps a tidy account of his life. One day, a terrible storm comes and disrupts […]

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5 (not so) Obscure Children's Books by (sometimes) "Adult" Lit Authors

5 (not so) Obscure Children’s Books by (sometimes) “Adult” Lit Authors

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by Debbie Vance Following the example set by of a recent BrainPickings article–“7 (More) Obscure Children’s Books by Famous ‘Adult’ Lit Authors” by Maria Popova, which includes Aldous Huxley‘s The Crows of Pearblossom, Gertrude Steins‘ The World is Round, and James Thurber‘s The 13 Clocks–here is our own list of obscure (maybe) but beautiful children’s books (not necessarily […]

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"Marginalia at the Edge of the Evening" by Alice Oswald

“Marginalia at the Edge of the Evening” by Alice Oswald

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“Marginalia at the Edge of the Evening” by Alice Oswald, from Woods etc. (faber and faber) now the sound of the trees is worldwide and I”m still here/not here at the very lifting edge of evening. and i should be up there. Bathing children. because it’s late, the bike’s asleep on its feet, the fields hang […]

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Kickstarter Campaign to fund Christian Piatt's First Novel: Blood Doctrine

Kickstarter Campaign to fund Christian Piatt’s First Novel: Blood Doctrine

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Calling all literary supporters! Christian Piatt is a well-known author and blogger in the areas of faith and popular culture. He writes for Huffington Post, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, Patheos and others, and he has several books published, including the Banned Questions book series, a memoir on faith and family called PregMANcy, and his forthcoming book for Jericho Books called postChristian. He has started a […]

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Ready, Set, Novel! : Writing Prompts for your New Year's Resolution

Ready, Set, Novel! : Writing Prompts for your New Year’s Resolution

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by Debbie Vance In these last few days of December, it seemed appropriate to offer a little extra oomph to spur y’all on towards those writing projects you’ve been lining up, thinking over, dreaming up, imagining…waiting until the holidays are over and you stop crying to really start into them. (Be honest. We all do […]

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Banyan Tree, Tiger, Leviathan: To Tell the Truth

Banyan Tree, Tiger, Leviathan: To Tell the Truth

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by Debbie Vance Parcels of fibs! Packets of moonshine! Tales so tall you couldn’t see the top of them! The three brothers were incredible storytellers. So begins an old Indian folk tale–”To Tell the Truth”– in which three storytelling brothers come upon a princess in the road. They challenge her to a story contest: They […]

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Writing as a Gift: Fable Writing

Writing as a Gift: Fable Writing

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by Debbie Vance The holiday season is upon us, which means so is the biggest gift-exchange of the year. This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing as a gift–poems, short stories, that kind letter you’ve been meaning to write to your mother but haven’t yet–and then I found a beautiful children’s notebook at […]

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Know Your Own Bone

Know Your Own Bone

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by Debbie Vance Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life offers many and myriad writing tips and is a faithful companion to many a working writer. I’d like to take one idea from Dillard and look inside it. Or rather, encourage you all to look inside it. Namely this: we each have something that only we love. A […]

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T-giving List #1

T-giving List #1

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by Debbie Vance As we approach Thanksgiving (it’s THIS week!!) I’ve been thinking (as have most of us, I’m sure) about the things in my life I’m thankful for. To honor a writerly tradition, let’s focus not on the big, dramatic events, but on the small details that often go unnoticed and unappreciated, but go […]

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Five Senses to Good Writing

Five Senses to Good Writing

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by Debbie Vance Good writing should interact with all of the senses. This is not new knowledge. We all love reading books that make us really feel–feel the cool, November air rushing in our faces as we run down the leaf-strewn street to the library just before it closes, cheeks flushed pink and tongues bitter as we […]

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