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Imitation: Yoga for the Writing Voice

Posted on Mon, Oct 12 2015 9:00 am by Carolyn Williams-Noren

Lately when I think about how we develop as writers, I think of how our bodies can change.

Sometimes change comes through the conscious mind: we study, then understand, then act. I go to the physical therapist for pain in my knee. She takes in the particulars of my gait, analyzes how I stand, how I run, and what hurts, and then she prescribes: strengthen here. Stretch here.

This reminds me of the feedback we give each other in workshops and writing groups. We read and think, and then we advise: strengthen this. Stretch this. Avoid gerunds. Don’t use passive voice. Show; don’t tell. Here’s how to solve this.

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Why We Love and Need Metaphor

Posted on Fri, Oct 9 2015 9:00 am by Jennifer Burd

The longer I live, observe the world, and write, the more I get the feeling that metaphor is one of the things that makes most of us get up and get going every day, though we probably don't consciously think about it that way. It is deep in our thinking, our language, and our doings. We are drawn to it through our artistic impulses and through our reading, writing, observation of nature, relationships, travel, spiritual activities, and inner thoughts about how we want to shape our lives or help others. Some people have more of a need to formalize it in works of art than do others, but I believe most all of us gravitate to it on a regular basis.

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Celebrate the Literary Arts at The North Shore Readers and Writers Festival this November

Posted on Thu, Oct 8 2015 1:15 pm by Rachel Gabriel

Just a basalt stone’s throw from Lake Superior, the Grand Marais Art Colony will host the inaugural North Shore Readers and Writers Festival on November 5-8, 2015. Readers and writers alike will find many opportunities to learn from and engage with more than 20 established authors and book professionals, including keynote author, Lorna Landvik. There will be readings, workshops, panel discussions, and community events, many of them led by Loft Literary Center teaching artists.

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The Twin Cities Book Fest is Coming

Posted on Thu, Oct 8 2015 9:00 am by Tierney Chlan

Get excited, because the Twin Cities Book Festival is coming soon. I’ll admit, I’ve never been there before, but it sounds like a wonderful time.

From 10 a.m.5 p.m., Saturday, October 17 at the State Fairgrounds, authors and readers will gather together for readings, discussion panels—anything and everything literary that you can imagine. Will Laila Lalami be kicking things off on Friday night with a reading from her latest award-winning novel? Yes. Will publishers and lit organizations be present for the all-day book fair? Yes. Will there be an entire area dedicated to children’s and YA? Yes.

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How to Attract Readers (or Publishers) With an Engaging First Page

Posted on Wed, Oct 7 2015 9:00 am by Angela Foster

The Minnesota Book Awards changed the way I write and teach. In 2006, I judged the memoir category for the program. The UPS man became a regular at my home. He would set the brown-cardboard containers inside my kitchen door and I would eagerly open the box flaps. The smell of new books—that heady mix of fresh ink and binder glue—assaulted my nose.

The books, a mix of soft and hard covers, totaled almost forty. I had promised to read them all. But where to begin? How could I be assured I would not run out of energy towards the end? 

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Navigating the Book Cover Design Process

Posted on Mon, Oct 5 2015 9:00 am by Laura Drew

I spoke recently with an author who had decided to self publish her book and was finalizing the design of its cover. Though she had enjoyed the design process, she found it nerve-wracking to be making all the final decisions. At the same time, a friend of hers was pursuing a more traditional publishing route and didn’t have much say at all regarding her final cover.

“I don’t know which is worse!” she told me, exasperated.

The answer is that neither is worse. Both scenarios have their ups and downs, and both, if pursued properly, can result in an appealing and appropriate cover.

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An Interview with Author Vanessa Blakeslee

Posted on Fri, Oct 2 2015 9:00 am by Robin Rozanski

Vanessa Blakeslee's debut short story collection, Train Shots (Burrow Press) won the 2014 IPPY Gold Medal in Short Fiction. Her debut novel, Juventud, explores the idealism of youth, the complexities of a ravaged country, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive and is scheduled for release by Curbside Splendor Publishing this fall. She’ll be reading from Juventud at 7 p.m. on October 14 at Magers & Quinn Booksellers. To welcome her to Minneapolis I asked her to share some thoughts on the writing process, goal-setting, and writing with confidence.

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It's a Rough Draft, Not an Excuse

Posted on Thu, Oct 1 2015 9:00 am by Tierney Chlan

This is just a rough draft. A very rough draft. Definitely not finished. So, please, let me know what’s wrong with it, I want to know how to make it better, but know that I wrote it very quickly, and late at night when I was super tired, and also I haven’t read through it all because I didn’t have a chance to edit so…

If I had a nickel for how many times I prefaced a critique of my writing with some form of the above statement, I may have enough money to pay off my student loans. One of my chief writerly sins is using rough drafts as a crutch, as a cop-out for writing that doesn’t meet my standards for what I hope my writing can/should/will be.

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Loosely Literal: Seven Short Stories Made Possible By Birds

Posted on Wed, Sep 30 2015 9:00 am by Sally Franson

1. “Do you think we’ll ever be as happy as we are now?” Monica asked.

They were on the cabin’s back porch sipping white wine spritzers. Jake didn’t like wine, but a bottle was included in the honeymoon package. From across the lake he heard a loon call. He wondered when the pizza delivery guy would get there.

“Honey?” Monica poked his arm. “Haha, I mean, hubby?”

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Literary Roundup: Thurber Prize, Banned Book Week, and Julie Schumacher Interview

Posted on Tue, Sep 29 2015 8:44 am by Chris Jones

Today's roundup congratulates Julie Schumacher on winning the Thurber Prize, celebrates Banned Book Week, and looks back at a Julie Schumacher interview. 

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