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Fiction

'Boring' Protagonists Don't Have to Mean Boring Books

Dave Astor | Posted 07.02.2013 | Books
Dave Astor

When a key character in a novel is passive and/or modest, that spells trouble for the book -- right? Not necessarily. A seemingly boring protagonist ...

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Founder Chris Baty on Writing, Writers, Doing & Dreaming

David Henry Sterry | Posted 06.24.2013 | Books
David Henry Sterry

We watched as he built this strange, beautiful community of lunatics and dreamers who, every November, write a 50,000 word book in 30 days. NaNoWriMo, as it's called, now has hundreds of thousands of participants all over the world, writing writing writing.

Written in Blood: The Son by Philipp Meyer

Ilana Teitelbaum | Posted 06.25.2013 | Books
Ilana Teitelbaum

The Son is a novel that is an epic in the truest sense of the word: massive in scope, replete with transformations in fortune and fate, and drenched in the blood of war.

How Researchers Are Using Fiction to Make Their Reports Accessible to the Public

Patricia Leavy, PhD | Posted 06.24.2013 | Arts
Patricia Leavy, PhD

Here's the issue: because research is too boring and too difficult to read, very few people actually read it. The problem is that much of the research we're not reading is impacting us, or could.

Why I Wrote Complicit

Steve Fleischli | Posted 06.24.2013 | Green
Steve Fleischli

During my nearly 20 year legal career, I have worked on all sides of environmental issues - representing community groups, the government and even corporations. My new novel, Complicit, synthesizes much of what I have learned so far.

Calling All Post50 Fiction Writers

Rita Wilson | Posted 06.16.2014 | Fifty

Calling all fiction writers 50 and older! Huff/Post50 is seeking short-story submissions from our readers. We believe storytelling is a powerful art form and tool for self-expression, and we have a feeling there’s a lot of hidden writing talent among our audience just waiting to be discovered.

Fiction Gives Up, Admits Truth Is Stranger

Spencer Green | Posted 06.23.2013 | Comedy
Spencer Green

"Fiction has put up a valiant struggle over the years to be stranger than actual current events," said Fiction spokesperson Mickey Solls. "But frankly, it's decided that the time is right to throw in the towel. Congratulations, Truth -- you win."

6 Steps to Achieving a Writer's Dreams

Terri Giuliano Long | Posted 06.18.2013 | Books
Terri Giuliano Long

These six steps will help you to crystalize your needs, your hopes, and your dreams, and give you the tools to help you achieve them.

What Should Young Writers Read?

Lev Raphael | Posted 06.15.2013 | Books
Lev Raphael

Dan Chaon was recently taken to task in Salon for suggesting that young writers read literary fiction. Why? Because it's "terrible." But Chaon wasn't recommending that young writers read only literary fiction. His advice was actually more specific than that.

A Sexy New Novel About a Woman of a Certain Age

Mark C. Miller | Posted 06.08.2013 | Books
Mark C. Miller

Although the novel is perfect for women 40 and over in the dating pool, The Last Place She'd Look is filled with humor, insight, pain, defeat and sex that will be familiar and appealing to anyone who is in, has ever been in, or would like to be in the world of dating.

In Bonnets or Sweat Pants, We're Cultural Historians

Holly Robinson | Posted 06.01.2013 | Books
Holly Robinson

Whatever subjects we choose, as women writers we are cataloging historical and cultural events in ways that go far deeper than the two-dimensional stories told by photographs. We get into the heads of our audience in ways that movies still can't.

Is Most Contemporary Literary Fiction Really Terrible?

Lev Raphael | Posted 06.01.2013 | Books
Lev Raphael

I hear this complaint a lot, and it's just been repeated on Salon.com. Is it true?

Make Your Reader Sit up and Take Notice

Holly Robinson | Posted 05.26.2013 | Books
Holly Robinson

One of the best ways to elevate a book -- no matter what the genre -- from merely good to truly great is to sniff out stale images and replace them with fresh ones.

Do We Need to Identify With a Protagonist to Enjoy a Novel?

Evan Gottlieb | Posted 05.21.2013 | Books
Evan Gottlieb

From the 18th century onward, novels have shown themselves to be remarkably effective, durable technologies for encouraging us to extend our understanding to others. And if that isn't a good reason to pick up a good book, then I don't know what is.

Bilbo the Billionaire: A Short History of J.R.R. Tolkien's Greed Wars

Scott Thill | Posted 05.18.2013 | Entertainment
Scott Thill

From An Unexpected Journey's talented filmmakers and canny copyrights to the spiritually exhausted Tolkien estate, everyone's fighting for Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium as if their economies counted on it.

Ayana Mathis, Author of the Bestselling Novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, on How She Reacted When Oprah Winfrey Called

Brad Listi | Posted 05.18.2013 | Books
Brad Listi

Here's an excerpt from Episode 157, my conversation with Ayana Mathis, author of the bestselling novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. It was hand-selected by Oprah Winfrey as an official pick of Oprah's Book Club 2.0.

The Pinkerton Detectives -- Good, Bad, and Ugly

Maryka Biaggio | Posted 05.15.2013 | Books
Maryka Biaggio

The Pinkertons have cropped up in many popular books and films over the years, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Dashiel Hammett, a one-time Pinkerton detective, admits he drew inspiration from his detective days in crafting such characters as Sam Spade.

How I Wrote a Novel Without an Outline

Carolyn Bass | Posted 05.14.2013 | Books
Carolyn Bass

My first novel, The Nexus, came to me in furious rushes of story and I wrote it without an outline. Here's how.

Lenore Zion, Novelist and Sex Therapist, on How a Wild Night in High School Helped to Inspire Her New Book, Stupid Children

Brad Listi | Posted 05.11.2013 | Books
Brad Listi

Here's an excerpt from Episode 155, my conversation with Lenore Zion, an author who also works as a sex therapist.

The AWP Conference in Boston: Where Writers Swim Like Fish

Holly Robinson | Posted 05.08.2013 | Books
Holly Robinson

Over 11,000 writers, editors, and publishers turned out this year for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs' Conference, making it one of the biggest literary hootenannies for anyone with a passion for putting words on the page.

Sam Lipsyte, Author of The Fun Parts, on Rejection, Depression and (Eventual) Vindication

Brad Listi | Posted 05.08.2013 | Books
Brad Listi

In this segment, Sam Lipsyte talks about his early struggles, the deep disappointment he felt when his novel Home Land was rejected--and how it eventually went on to be published to great acclaim.

'Birds of Paradise Lost': A Conversation With Author Andrew Lam

Andrew Lam | Posted 05.05.2013 | Books
Andrew Lam

EDITOR'S NOTE: New America Media editor Andrew Lam has made his name as a journalist, but in his newest book, his past as a Vietnamese refugee reverbe...

Writing About Places I've Never Seen

Jay Neugeboren | Posted 05.04.2013 | Books
Jay Neugeboren

I've never been to Singapore and/or Borneo, or to any other place in Asia, and when people ask me about the book, and discover this is so, they seem bewildered. As in: How can you write about a place you've never seen or been to?

Historical Fictions: Stranger than Truth?

Evan Gottlieb | Posted 04.30.2013 | Entertainment
Evan Gottlieb

This awards season, several movies that contended for Best Picture prizes came in for an unusual degree of scrutiny regarding their historical accuracy -- or lack of it. But playing fast and loose with history is nothing new.

'Fish Out of Water' and Into the Pages of Books

Dave Astor | Posted 04.30.2013 | Books
Dave Astor

Readers -- many of whom have been "fish out of water" themselves during vacations or after moving to new towns (or countries) -- can compare their own real-life experiences with the fictional ones depicted by authors.