“Release,” A Poem by Kristin Henry

After I read Kristin Henry’s poem “Release,” I was drawn to reread it many times over the days I was reading contest entries. I admired its embedded rhymes (“back away./ Her airy body; delirium-like, but true. I’ve/heard them, too) and its rhythms, the way its italicized dialog tells a rich, full story, and the way … Continue reading

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Searching for Mother in the Cochise Stronghold

I am proud to present Martha Sarkissian’s place-winning essay. When I read this essay about making a trip to where the author’s mother had grown up, I was impressed with the way she organized her essay around her short stay, skillfully using dialog with a friend who accompanied her and the man who hosted the … Continue reading

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A Need to Write

Recently, I met Beckie A. Miller online and learned that her writing career began with the need to write about loss. This week in our series on writing grief, I am sharing her first published essay, a recent humorous essay she’s written, and her commentary on the development of her writing life. Beckie describes the … Continue reading

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Tethered

Writing one’s way through grief is a process that helps us integrate our loss into our interior life. Writing about loss, we face life without the physical presence of someone we loved dearly. Having written a memoir about the loss of my son and teaching an online class called “Writing Grief” for those who want … Continue reading

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Inside the Writing of A New Theology: Turning to Poetry In A Time of Grief

A few months ago, Writing it Real subscriber Leslie Wake suggested that she interview me about the writing of my memoir, A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief. We began an email correspondence that resulted in the interview we are posting this week. I was honored to be asked to talk … Continue reading

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“In The Fragments” by Sindee Ernst

When guest judge Anna Quinn selected Sindee Ernst’s essay as our Winter No-Contest Contest winner, she wrote, “A wonderful piece. Writer uses specific sensory detail beautifully to evoke feelings of leaving one’s childhood home and discovering another. Strong ending.” Sindee wrote back: Thank you so much for this great news. I enjoyed working on that … Continue reading

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“The Cheetah, The Spider and Me” by Gloria Orlando Ives

So often as writers we know we have captured something in our drafts and have brought the work as far as we can at the moment, but sometimes we miss seeing what our writing is leading us toward. That’s when we need an outside reader who can help us identify the core energy in our … Continue reading

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“He Was Surprised And So Was I” by Meg Hannah House

Meg Hannah House won third place in this winter’s Writing It Real No-Contest Contest for her personal essay “He Was Surprised And So Was I”. Our contest was designed so that entrants wrote in response to words they came across in print or heard on TV or the radio or overheard in conversations. All of … Continue reading

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Write an Ending Your Readers Will Savor

A saying goes: Readers pick your current novel if you impress them on the first page, and they’ll buy your next novel if you wow them on the last page. Though all readers enjoy an impressive beginning, the impact of a strong ending can’t be overlooked. Think back to the experience of finishing the last … Continue reading

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Getting to First-Person Writing

Over the last few years, I have been getting to know retired Seattle Times journalist Ross Anderson and his wife, Mary Rothschild, a retired Seattle Times editor. Since moving from Seattle to Port Townsend, the couple has made many contributions to our town’s local newspaper, The Port Townsend Leader, and to writers and many others … Continue reading

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Writing From Historic Journeys

Career journalist, Ross Anderson, worked for over 30 years at the Seattle Times, covering everything from the police beat and courts to commercial fishing, though most of his time was spent writing about politics, serving as chief political writer, congressional correspondent and political columnist. Among other awards, he won a 1990 Pulitzer Prize for national … Continue reading

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Writing Gritty Characters

Last week we posted an interview with Harmoni McGlothlin, writer and writing enthusiast, whose website is connecting writers and offering publishing opportunities. This week, she adds her viewpoint on writing strong characters to our fiction article archive by looking into the narrator in the film Fight Club based on a book by Chuck Palahniuk. If … Continue reading

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Interview with Harmoni McGlothlin

After being asked to be a judge for a creative nonfiction contest at Notes & Grace Notes, an online site for writers, I read the editor’s mission statement and was impressed with the venue for writers seeking peer response and an audience: Our mission is to nourish new talent, reward excellence, and help writers achieve … Continue reading

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E-Reading

As the publishing industry moves online, you may have ordered books on your computer or gone on your local library’s website to request books or an inter-library loan. But would you ever consider reading a book on a computer or subscribing to your favorite magazine’s electronic edition? Each year, a greater portion of the books … Continue reading

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Instant Literary Pleasure

All of us are in front of computers more than we ever imagined we’d be. Though we often talk about longing for time to curl up with a book, we still find ourselves instead in front of a screen. I’ve had to accept reading on the screen in my life as a writer and editor, … Continue reading

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Interview with Memoirist Melissa Hart

Melissa Hart’s memoir Gringa: A Contradictory Childhood is the story of growing up between the polarity of her parents’ worldviews and the harsh judgment of a dominant culture and surviving. As reader, I was engaged in this tale from the beginning when Hart’s mother leaves her marriage to live in a lesbian relationship and full … Continue reading

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Small Things Hold Great Meaning

Writing poetry does take a certain frame of mind–one in which the poet realizes that small things hold great emotional meaning. We have to trust that whatever comes to mind and heart can help us begin poems. The following exercise is meant to help you find topics for poems and see how well you can … Continue reading

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What is Poetry?

William Wordsworth famously defined poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” and Emily Dickinson explained the sensation of poetry this way, “If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry.” Today, Mark Flanagan writes for About.com that poetry is “the … Continue reading

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To Delight in the Feel and Taste of Words in My Mouth

This week during National Poetry Month, William Mawhinney offers us an account of the way sound is at the root of his poetry practice. His books, Songs in My Begging Bowl, which appeared in 2002, and Cairns Along the Road, which appeared in 2009, are both available through him for $10 each. To order, email … Continue reading

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Using Lyric Techniques in Your Writing: Part Four

Giving Attention to Sentence Construction and to Locution In this last installment of the series on paying attention to the sound your words make on the page, we will discuss the use of interesting (to the ear) sentence variety and phraseology. When you write, write. When you revise, pay attention to what you might do … Continue reading

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