The Bubble Method: How to Get the Most Out of a Writing Workshop

There are many types of writing workshops out there, some more effective than others at giving you useful feedback on your writing.  Whether you’re new to the workshop scene or have been participating in critique sessions for a long time, there’s one workshop method that’s been proven time and again to help writers improve their… Read more »

Critique vs. Discussion: What Kind of Feedback Do You Need?

We have a rule in the workshop I teach: we’ll critique any work as long as the writer has not yet submitted it for publication.  When it comes to discussion, we’ll discuss any piece of writing published or not.  Why this distinction between critique and discussion?  And what exactly is the difference between the two? … Read more »

3 Things To Look For In a Critique Community

This week at DIY MFA we are working on something new and exciting: we’re creating a DIY MFA writing community.  The plan is to use the DIY MFA Facebook page to create a forum where writers (that’s you!) can give and receive feedback to each other.  We’re still working out the details so stay tuned… Read more »

Prompt: The Name Game

To wrap up our week-long series about naming characters we’re going to play a game.  In the picture below there are two lists of names.  Select one name from each list (or even pick two names from the same list.)  You can pick names that you think go well together, or if you’d rather leave… Read more »

3 Steps to Naming Your Characters

Naming characters is one of those things that baffled me for a long time.  How would I ever find the right name for my characters?  Names like Humbert Humbert, Holden Caulfield, Hannibal Lecter, Mary Poppins or even Wilbur (Charlotte’s noble pig friend), names where immediately the character would come to mind.  Names like that always… Read more »

Writing for Teens: Interview with Elana Johnson

We end our week-long celebration of Teen Literature with an interview today with the charming Elana Johnson.  I began following Elana’s blog when I first started exploring the blogsphere for fellow writers.  Immediately it became one of my go-to writing blogs because of her honest, no-nonsense advice and her generosity to other writers.  She’s one… Read more »

Reading Teen Lit

Of all the books I read in a given year, I’d estimate 90% of it is young adult literature (YA). This hasn’t always been the case. In fact, I only started reading it a few years ago, when I was well past my teen years. The truth is, YA wasn’t very popular when I was… Read more »

Find Your Talisman

Each book has a central idea or theme that carries the story. The idea may be something abstract like love, faith, freedom, truth or adventure. As you work, the idea will develop its own story. longing for a mother discovering “truth” about oneself searching for home finding a religion In a way the whole story… Read more »

Writing YA: Capturing the Teen Voice

Today we have a double-guest post by Taryn Albright and Kate Coursey, freelance editors at Teen Eyes.  This editing service looks at manuscripts through the eyes of teens (both Taryn and Kate are under 20) and helps writers nail that ever-elusive “teen voice.” When I met Taryn and Kate at BookExpo, I knew I had… Read more »