Read Like an Agent

Ever wonder what literary agents look for when they read your first pages? While at the Backspace Agent-Author Seminar I had the opportunity to sit in on some small group workshops and observe how agents responded to the opening pages from different writers. By listening to agents give feedback, I got an inside look at… Read more »

Summer Reading 2012

When I was a kid, my local library did a summer reading challenge. You had to keep track of your books in a reading log, move your name tag across a giant game board with each book you read, and if you got to 25 books you’d win a T-Shirt. In middle school,  I won… 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 »

Top 10 Book Picks

To finish off our lists of favorites before tomorrow’s Blog Party, we’ve put together one last list: Top Book Picks. Every writer needs a personal library but even if you don’t have these books on your shelf, browsing a library or bookstore can be the next best thing. Next time you have a severe writer’s… Read more »

Why Moms Matter in YA and Children’s Literature

The first thing you learn when writing for children and teens is that you have to get rid of the parents.  With parents or other adults around, the kids don’t have as many opportunities to go on adventures or get into trouble.  The easiest way to solve this problem is to kill off (or otherwise… Read more »

Short Fiction Suggested Reading

I struggled to come up with a perfect suggested reading list for this month’s Master Class on Short Fiction, but I kept finding myself hitting the wall.  Some of you may have heard me lament the absence in the world of a perfect short story anthology .  I’ve found ones that are OK but never… Read more »

Why Short Stories Matter: Guest Post by Emma Komlos-Hrobsky

Emma Komlos-Hrobsky was one of my very first friends at the MFA program I attended.  We served on the staff of the Writing Program literary magazine (LIT) together and I could tell right away from her comments while evaluating submissions that Emma had an eye for awesome fiction.  We both graduated in 2010 and Emma… Read more »

What is a Verse Novel?

What makes something a verse novel?  Simply speaking, a verse novel (or novel in verse) is exactly what the name implies: a novel that is told in verse rather than prose. It’s a bit more complicated than that, though.  Why aren’t works like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid called epic poems and not… Read more »

Reading Verse Novels

Today I’d like to welcome Caroline Starr Rose back to DIY MFA.  Caroline and I met through the blogsphere in 2010, when she hosted a Verse Novel Challenge on her blog.  Being a fan of verse novels, I joined the challenge and have had the pleasure of following her writing and publishing journey ever since. … Read more »