Chicago Writers Association Blog
Chicago Writers Association Blog

February 2, 2021

5 Guidelines for Writing a Helpful Critique

By Maggie Smith

Last week my writing buddy sent me her new novel and asked for my feedback. This is the one I’ve been hearing about for a year, the novel she’s written that’s closest to her heart, and the one I feel will earn her a deal with a major publisher. And it got me thinking about the delicate balance between giving constructive criticism and dashing a writer’s dream so badly they…

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January 26, 2021

Write What You Don’t Know

by Samantha Hoffman

Arguably, the most famous piece of writing advice is "Write what you know," usually attributed to Mark Twain. It's sound advice, if you don't take it literally. It's unfortunate that Mr. Twain didn't say, "Write what you feel," or "Write what moves you," or "Write what you dream or imagine."

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January 19, 2021

What Writers Should Know About Taxes

by L.D. Barnes

Two things we can all be sure of are death and taxes. As a mystery writer, I deal with stories of death and as a tax preparer I deal with the intricacies of taxes. I prefer working on the former, but let’s talk here about the latter, since it’s that…

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January 12, 2021

What Your Sentences are Telling You

by Katey Schultz

A writer recently asked me if I revise line by line, in chronological order. It seemed like a simple question, but I had to stop and consider it for a moment. In one regard, yes, when I revise I start at the beginning of a story or particular scene that…

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January 5, 2021

How to Write a Memoir: 7 Creative Ways to Tell a Powerful Story

by Brooke Warner

Originally published in The Write Life

Whether you curl up with memoirs on a frequent basis or pick one up every now and again, you know powerful memoirs have the capacity to take you, as a reader, for an exhilarating ride.

When I teach people how to write and…

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December 29, 2020

Butt Off of Green Couch

by Tina Jenkins Bell

In 2000 I contracted a dangerous liver infection which had nothing to do with my lifestyle and much to do with the fact that my immune system was not my friend. My prognosis was dark, but I emerged.

Shortly after my amazing recovery, my brother Ricky was diagnosed…

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December 22, 2020

Historical Fiction…or is it Fact?

by Samantha Hoffman

Historical fiction is a very popular genre; think The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, everything by Phillipa Gregory. I admit, though, it's a puzzling one for me. How much of it is truth and how much is invented? If someone really wants to…

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December 15, 2020

Weaving Controversial Issues into Your Fiction

by Marian L. Thomas

How to Weave Controversial Issues into your Fiction's Storylines

Life is full of controversy and today's multi-genre fiction readers are clamoring for stories that take a human-centric approach. Readers crave relatability and connection. One way to ensure that your storyline connects is to weave in issues such as social injustice…

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December 8, 2020

The Big Switch – Writing Outside Your Genre

by J.B. Rivard

One of the challenges you’ll frequently encounter is writing in a genre different from your preferred or customary genre. As a novelist, for example, you may be called upon to write a nonfiction essay describing how you work. As a writer of self-help books, you may want to break…

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December 1, 2020

Walter Tevis, Vincent Van Gogh and Me

by Peter Ferry

Have you seen the Netflix seven-part series called The Queen’s Gambit? It is all the rage. Five stars everywhere. It's about a young American girl who is a chess prodigy – well, the chess prodigy. Think Bobby Fisher. She is a genius. She is also an addict.

The Queen’s…

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