About Jack Heffron

Jack Heffron is an award-winning columnist for Cincinnati magazine. He authored The Writer's Idea Book and was founding editor of Story magazine, two-time National Magazine Award for Fiction.Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, his nonfiction appears in Best American Travel Writing. He has served as editorial director for three publishers over 25 years in the publishing business.

Enliven Your Fiction or Memoir by Weaving Complications into Your Story

Here is an article, originally posted in 2003 that deserves our writing attention again. In The Writer’s Idea Workshop, author Jack Heffron sets himself the task of letting his readers know what to do after a first draft is on the page.  In his manuscript, he writes: As we move deeper into the project we’re developing, … Continue reading

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Excerpt from Route 66, a Nonfiction/Fiction Book Project by Jack Heffron

In this excerpt from Jack Heffron’s book project that combines fiction and nonfiction, you’ll notice the strength of Jack’s scenes and dialog, exactly the craft skills he will be teaching this year at the June 9-12 Writing It Real conference. In the book, Jack told me, the protagonist, Jack Finney, is a retired advertising executive who recently has been … Continue reading

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Taking Chances

After years of writing, editing, publishing authors and teaching, Jack Heffron knows why we get stuck and how to work around that and back into our material. He’ll be teaching with Meg Files and Sheila Bender at our Writing It Real in Nashville April 25-28 conference. Join us for a chance to work with Jack as … Continue reading

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Smoking

Two years ago, Jack Heffron read this personal essay at our Writing It Real conference in Port Townsend. An exercise Jack offered this past conference involved writing a confession about something you haven’t confessed before. His assignment made me remember the entertaining and true-to-human nature essay he’d read to us the year before. Now Jack has given Writing … Continue reading

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The Conversation Itself

Jack Heffron is one of the most versatile writers I know. I’ve read his short fiction, creative nonfiction, books on writing, books that he has ghost written and books that he’s edited (including my own). Recently, I read some of his interviews and it brought up some questions that I wanted to ask him. Sheila … Continue reading

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Sometimes Writing is a Matter of Memory and Resolve

How do writers decide what to write about? In “Death on a Quiet Street“, by Jack Heffron and John Boertlein, Cincinnati Magazine, April 2008, Jack Heffron writes: Last September, I was having dinner with my friend John Boertlein when the Bricca murders came up. John, who grew up in Delhi and has known about the … Continue reading

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Dotting the Dragon’s Eye

This week, Jack Heffron, writer, editor and faculty member for Writing It Real In Port Townsend’s annual late June writer’s conference, shares “Dot the Dragon’s Eye,” Chapter Seventeen in his instructional book The Writer’s Idea Workshop: How to make your good ideas great, Writer’s Digest Books, 2003. Whether you are writing fiction, creative nonfiction or … Continue reading

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Fatherhats

After reading Jack’s instruction last week about narrating a day in your life to find material, you will be interested in looking into this story to find the quantity of details that come from such close observation, from the way one of the characters tugs at his beard and the other covers his ears and … Continue reading

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A Day in the Life of a Writer

Jack Heffron’s simple, masterful writing prompt will have you realizing how much content you have to write about in no time–well, in the time it takes to live a day and read the notes you put on paper. Taking notes in the way Jack suggests plus the bit of Fitzgerald he includes to show you … Continue reading

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An Interview with Jack Heffron

Jack Heffron was my editor at Writer’s Digest Books for almost a decade, and we have been teaching colleagues for going on six years now.I still have the editorial letter he wrote to me after he’d read Writing Personal Essays:How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page, my second book on writing and the … Continue reading

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The Flowering of Rabbit Hash

Writing It Real is happy to post an article this week by editor and creative fiction writer Jack Heffron. “The Flowering of Rabbit Hash” originally appeared this fall in Cincinnati Magazine.  Jack lives in Cincinnati where he works with Emmis Books.  As a fiction and creative fiction writer, Jack was hooked on an article idea … Continue reading

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Prompts to Make Shapely, Focused Stories (and Essays)

Writers often use prompts to help them come up with original ways of opening and organizing their work.  Whenever I dip into The Writer’s Idea Book and The Writer’s Idea Workshop by Jack Heffron, I find help for inventing and shaping ideas that I want to grow into finished pieces.  Here are some words from … Continue reading

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