Identifying a Novel’s Themes Using the Title and the Blurb

We usually need to read a novel in order to identify its themes. However, what if the title and the blurb (a.k.a. jacket copy) could suggest potential themes? It’s not a stretch sometimes. In today’s edition of Theme: A Story’s Soul, we’ll explore how both items can reveal a great deal about the ideas and… Read more »

#5OnFri: Most Impactful DIY MFA Articles of 2014

We’ve had an incredible year here at DIY MFA, with a lot on the horizon for 2015. We’ve expanded our team to include five new columnists and a podcast producer. We introduced DIY MFA radio and saw it jump to the top of the iTunes Arts section. We hosted a writing challenge and virtual writing retreat with… Read more »

Let’s Write: Why We Need Other Writers

Joining my first writing group last year may be the best thing I’ve ever done. (Aside from marrying my husband.) Exaggeration? No. Beginners luck? Sure. A lot of people try writing groups, and hate them. They have mediocre experiences, sometimes traumatic ones, and never go back. Many are fearful of sharing their work. Others live… Read more »

#5OnFri: Five Victorian Novels

If you’re like me, this holiday season you’ll probably see at least one version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and if you’re really like me, this might send you into a spiral of Victorian nostalgia. Well, good news! The nineteenth century saw the rise of the novel, so there are plenty of excellent books… Read more »

Episode 21: Outlining Demystified

Hello and thank you for joining me today! In this episode–titled Outlining Demystified–we’re going talk about outline techniques particularly geared for writers who hate outlines. When I first started writing, I hated outlines because I thought they were too constricting. Then I discovered these five techniques and a whole new side of writing opened up… Read more »

DIY MFA Is Going to Be a Book!

I am so unbelievably excited to share this news with you today. As of late last week it is official: DIY MFA will be a book and Writer’s Digest Books is going to publish it. The contract is signed, sealed and delivered, and in Spring 2016 the DIY MFA book will be coming to a bookstore near… Read more »

5 Rules for Rocking Flash Fiction

Last week’s challenge was to write a 100 word story to share how you got your name. Here’s mine: They weren’t big on surprises, my parents. They wanted to know right away. The suspense wasn’t fun, or sexy, or something they wanted to prolong. “Girl.” Repeated again and again, to family members, friends, and complete… Read more »

#5OnFri: Five Gifts for Your Writing Friends

Christmas shopping can be tough, especially when you want to give special gifts that make the recipients smile, assuring them that you know them, and you’ve been paying attention. Writers are one of the easiest groups of people to shop for, but for some reason, people are often stumped. They have no idea what a… Read more »