#5onFri: Five Myths to Plunder for Ideas and Inspiration

Whether you’re writing a fairy tale retelling or just looking for inspiration, myths can provide a wealth of material to play with. Love, betrayal, war, politics, you name it–whatever you’re looking for, there’s a myth to help you. Myths can also serve as mini masterclasses in plot structure, for the framework on which the stories… Read more »

Beyond John Grisham: A Guide to Legal Fiction

“I’ve read all of John Grisham’s books. What other legal fiction authors would you recommend?” This is probably the most common reading question I’m asked at my day job as a librarian. For a long time, there was only one other author that wrote like Grisham – Scott Turow. Turow is often credited with inventing… Read more »

Writing By Reading

I do my best writing reading. Yes, you read that right. I write best when I read what I want: spicy romance, psychedelic fiction, heart-expanding poems. I finish one book; I pick up another. Along my meanderings, I discover good writing across authors, genres, and forms. How does all of this indiscriminate reading help my… Read more »

A Reading List for Stronger Creative Non-Fiction

Early this year, I read a book called The Kite and the String: How To Write With Spontaneity and Control –and Live to Tell the Tale. It’s a fiction craft book featuring some of the requisite advice you’d expect from a writer with several novels under her belt and loads of short stories in The… Read more »

Five Ways to Use the Library to Nurture Your Reading Life 

Web Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming Terri Frank to the DIY MFA team! In addition to being a writer, Terri is a professional librarian, and her column, “Your Personal Librarian” will give you tips and tricks to get more reading done, expand your knowledge of genres and authors and, of course, to read with… Read more »

How to Make Your Character Descriptions Perform Double-Duty

Web Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming Abigail K. Perry to the DIY MFA team! In her column, Let’s Talk Books, she’ll be dissecting passages from great writers, breaking down why what they do works, and how you can apply it to your own writing.  Have you ever walked into a park and people watched? How… Read more »

Eight Reasons Adults Read YA

There have been a few condescending articles throughout the years about why adults should not read young adult literature. I won’t bother linking to any of them, because I think they’re totally wrong and don’t deserve the web traffic. Despite how these articles denounce YA lit, adults still make up a large percentage of its… Read more »

#5OnFri: Five Tips for Reading as a Writer

When I made my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I was living in Florence and was quite literally inspired every time I turned a corner. As I walked down the quaint streets, beautiful sentences would write themselves in my head. One might assume, then, that my writing reflected the splendor of the city; elegant as the… Read more »

Mystery, Thriller, or Suspense: Does the Label Matter?

When you search for a book to read, do genre labels drive your choices? They certainly affect mine. If I want a fast paced, edge-of-your-seat-experience I look for a thriller. If I’m in a puzzle-solving mood, it’s off to the mystery section. And I expect them all to have elements of suspense. And yet, on… Read more »