Featured class: Writing Green: Poetry on the Side of Nature with Thomas R. Smith starts July 23.

Reading Like a Writer: Perspective, Intimacy, and Dare Me

Posted on Fri, Jul 22 2016 9:00 am by Allison Wyss

Megan Abbott's Dare Me is an intense novel about friendship. It's also about power, desire, and cheerleading. I've written about it previously. But after my class (How'd They Do That: A Craft-Based Book Club for Writers) discussed it, I can't help writing more.

The book is written in first person, but it's a special kind of first person. Even though we are ostensibly in Addy's head the whole time, we get frequent access to the thoughts and emotions of other characters. Addy tells them to us.

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10 Tips for Creating a Kick-Ass Author Bio

Posted on Thu, Jul 21 2016 9:00 am by Abra Staffin-Wiebe

Every writer needs an author bio, whether you're on the New York Times Bestseller list or you're about to submit a story for the very first time. You might wonder, But where do I start? The good news is that an author bio isn't that difficult to write, as long as you keep a few points in mind.

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Lit Chat: Meet Shannon Gibney

Posted on Wed, Jul 20 2016 9:00 am by Molly Fuller

By the time we met for coffee at 10 a.m., Shannon Gibney had already had a busy day. A friend’s job was on the chopping block for what amounts to a civic duty, and Shannon wasn’t going to let her get fired over it. Crystal Spring, a Washburn teacher, was arrested in May essentially for monitoring the arrest of a black man (not illegal, btw). Minneapolis Public Schools got wind of the arrest and marked her for termination, pending a vote from the board of education, for her “unbecoming” behavior, though she hadn’t been convicted of a crime (and all charges were later dropped). The school board vote was scheduled for the following Tuesday, and Shannon had been working to mobilize the community in protest of Crystal’s firing. (P.S., the community support was significant, the school board voted the right way, and Crystal was reinstated as an MPS employee.)

I thought this story was a great way to introduce you to Shannon because it gets at the root of her work: for her, activism and writing are inextricably linked. Writing is a vehicle she uses to illuminate issues that need a place in the public sphere, and one of my favorite things about Shannon is the multitude of formats and genres she does this in; from her journalism to her creative writing, activism is the basis of her writing life. 

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Why I Loved My Time at the Loft as an Intern

Posted on Fri, Jul 15 2016 9:00 am by Emylisa Warrick

The summer has gone by so quickly, but it seems like I just arrived. I was so excited to learn that I got the summer Marketing and Communications internship at the Loft. They interviewed me remotely and, suddenly, here I was. Here are several things that I look fondly on and would gush about whenever my friends/peers/colleagues asked me how my time at the Loft was going.

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publish.me: On the Power of Words

Posted on Thu, Jul 14 2016 9:00 am by Dawn Frederick

Without going into full details, there’s a good chance anyone reading this post has experienced the same emotional roller coaster of the last week; of which it seems we’re all dealing with a figurative case of whiplash now. It’s hard to focus when the world is in such turmoil, as getting basic things done is a task of sorts. What can we do to find solace, to find the strength, to stand on our feet again? 

Personally, my refuge is reading books. This habit has carried me through life, through the ups and downs. Through the good and bad times.


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Writing the Common Application Essay

Posted on Mon, Jul 11 2016 9:00 am by Heidi Czerwiec

Many college applications require an essay component to get to know prospective students as individuals rather than just lists of grades, accomplishments, and activities. The Common Application Essay offers prospective students a choice of five broad prompts from which they can produce a variety of topics. Nonetheless, it’s easy to fall into clichéd patterns of answering: for example, the prompt that asks applicants to recount a failure and what lesson was learned can lead to a trite answer about a brief setback or lapse of judgment with a moral tacked on at the end.

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Five Things to Remember When Submitting to a Lit Journal

Posted on Fri, Jul 8 2016 9:00 am by Trevor Ketner

As an associate editor for Slice Magazine, I have seen a lot of submissions, what we call “slush” in the industry. When faced with a pile of two hundred poems it’s amazing how some of the things I used to give myself a pass for as a writer when I was submitting, really got under my skin as an editor. Here are just a few tips for submitting creative work that I wish someone had shared with me early on in my writing life.

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The Possibilities of Narrative Poetry: A Close Reading of Alan Shapiro's "Eggrolls"

Posted on Thu, Jul 7 2016 9:00 am by Katie Vagnino

When I tell people that I'm a poet, the follow-up question is usually "What kind of poetry do you write?" Initially, I struggled to articulately describe my style—I am not drawn exclusively to one subject, and dabble in many different forms. However, there is one adjective that does seem to characterize both the poems I write and those I'm most drawn to read again and again: narrative. I like to tell stories in my poems, create small worlds inhabited by characters. 

When I first started writing poetry in high school, I was also heavily involved with theatre, and so I wrote primarily persona poems from perspectives I wanted to explore: a widow waking up on the first day after her husband's funeral, the man whose task it is to compose fortune cookie messages. As I continued to write and read more poetry, I realized I could experiment with other points-of-view and not always write from the first-person vantage point of one character.

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Writing Rules: Make or Break?

Posted on Wed, Jul 6 2016 9:00 am by Robin Rozanski

At some point in your writing life you’ll be presented with a set of rules. Show, don’t tell. Write what you know. Outline your plot. Kill your darlings. Don’t get them wet, and never feed them after midnight. Oops, that last bit is for for Gremlins. Eventually your work begins to detach from these rules, and you ask: what happens if I break the rules? Maybe editors won’t like it, maybe readers will be turned off. But amid those fears you have to ask yourself a different question: What’s at stake if I don’t break the rules? What happens to individual voices and artistic vision?

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Alissa Nutting and the Simple Singing Sentence

Posted on Tue, Jul 5 2016 11:00 am by Erin Kate Ryan

I recently had occasion to reread Alissa Nutting’s great short story, “Dinner,” from her first collection, Unclean Jobs for Women & Girls. The story is a precise, diamond cut example of marrying the absurd with emotional resonance, of mastery of physical peril as an engine to scene, and, I was happy to rediscover, of the power of the short, surgical sentence.

Craft your own simple singing sentences in my summer class at the Loft, "Sentence by Sentence" which starts July 14!

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