50 Tools that can Increase your Writing Skills (via Anastasiafloxy’s Blog)


# Writing Tool #1: Branch to the Right # Writing Tool #2: Use Strong Verbs # Writing Tool #3: Beware of Adverbs # Writing Tool #4: Period As a Stop Sign # Writing Tool #5: Observe Word Territory # Writing Tool #6: Play with Words # Writing Tool #7: Dig for the Concrete and Specific # Writing Tool #8: Seek Original Images # Writing Tool #9: Prefer Simple to Technical # Writing Tool #10: Recognize Your Story’s Roots # Writing Tool #11 Back Off or S … Read More

via Anastasiafloxy's Blog

The Universe in Miniature in Miniature (and the future of books) (via Small Press Reviews)


The Universe in Miniature in Miniature (and the future of books) As is well-documented, there’s been a lot of anxiety in recent years about “the future of the book.” Lately, that anxiety has focused on e-books and whether they’ll supplant traditional books as our preferred literary medium. Maybe they will, and maybe they won’t. But one thing’s certain: e-books can’t do the kinds of things that titles from Chicago-based Featherproof do. Scorch Atlas, for example, has the look of a book that’s been through hell … Read More

via Small Press Reviews

Giving it All Away: The Dorris Buffett Story – Review by Marc Schuster


Fans of Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater will find a familiar figure in Doris Buffett, the subject of Michael Zitz’s new biography, Giving It All Away. Like the fictional Rosewater, Buffett (the sister of legendary investor Warren Buffett), has made it her life’s mission to share her fortune with people in need. As with Rosewater, many who seek aid from Buffett are individuals who, through no fault of their own, have fallen upon hard times, and it’s not uncommon for Buffett to personally telephone those who request her help. Unlike Rosewater, however, Buffett was not — as some might imagine — born into wealth. Indeed, a good portion of Giving It All Away focuses on Buffett’s early years, during which she endured the verbal abuse of her emotionally distant mother.

Despite — or perhaps because of — the stormy relationship between herself and her mother, Buffett gravitated toward adults who could provide a template for the kind of woman she would one day become. Most notably, a widow named Florence Post opened her eyes not only to cultural issues but to the value of kindness as well, planting the seed of philanthropy and, more important, resilience in Buffett’s heart at an early age. In her life, Buffett has overcome depression, failed marriages, and bankruptcy, and if there’s one thing that these experiences have taught her, it’s that everyone encounters back luck from time to time.

Though Giving It All Away returns frequently to the subject of her generosity, Buffett also emerges as a complex “character” in her own right throughout the narrative. Most notably, Buffett’s involvement with anti-communist politics and her subsequent work with the Barry Goldwater campaign in the early 1960’s stands in stark contrast to her eventual support of Barrack Obama in 2008 and her interest throughout the last two decades in what might, for better or worse, be termed “liberal” causes. The irony, of course, is not lost on Buffett, who is quoted as saying, “There used to be a myth that communists were trying to take over America by influencing the five percent of college students who were most intelligent and the most sensitive… Now I’m trying to do the same thing.”

Ultimately, Giving It All Away paints Buffett as a social pragmatist. Though seemingly “liberal” on the surface, the causes she has supported over the years are all, in her estimation, beneficial to the whole of society. For example, as many states slashed funding for education programs in prisons, Buffett got behind many such programs and kept them afloat. Her reasoning was simple: although some might argue that criminals don’t deserve a “free” education, statistics show dramatically reduced rates of recidivism among those who have completed degree programs. For Buffett, then, supporting these and similar programs is pure common sense.

Inspirational without being syrupy, Giving It All Away does for readers what the caring adults in Buffett’s youth did for her: it gives us a template for generosity and, borrowing a phrase that gets repeated throughout the book, challenges us to pay our good fortune forward.

Read more reviews of books from small and independent presses at Small Press Reviews.

Thoughts on Writing: Creative Non-Fiction (via Fictionmagoria)


You're in your first college level writing class. Your teacher stands up at the front, some middle aged guy trying to channel the souls of Jack Kerouac and Hemingway at the same time. He tilts his beret, takes a sip of his Starbucks, and tells you you're going to be starting creative non-fiction today. Is it Fiction? Is it Non-Fiction? You don't know! And you can calm down, because neither does anyone else. Creative Non-Fiction (CNF) is the stran … Read More

via Fictionmagoria

Writer Reality Check (via Kristen Lamb’s Blog)


Writer Reality Check Okay, if you are a fan of this blog, you know I am all about helping writers. Part of how I help is that you can count on me for the unvarnished truth. I know there are a lot of people who believe they want to be writers. Hey, rock on! The more the weirder…I meant merrier. Yes…merrier. Where was I? Oh yeah. But, I do feel that our profession tends to get glamorized, and hopeful writers aren’t aware of what to expect. So when something comes flyin … Read More

via Kristen Lamb's Blog