Chicago Writers Association Blog
Chicago Writers Association Blog

August 3, 2021

Bringing Dark Subjects to Light

by Jane Ward

Literature holds a mirror to life. Reflected back we’ll sometimes see beauty—the sunsets, the babies being born, the love that grows between people. At other times, darkness; illness, trauma, death. As uplifting as it is to write a love story, writers must also tackle the painful parts of life. It feels true to me that we can’t understand pure joy unless we know joy’s opposite.

Fictional worlds provide writers and…

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July 27, 2021

Jumpstart your Writing

by Tina Jenkins Bell

Ophelia Chambliss, artist

I recently had the opportunity to talk to a group of writers during a “Coffee and Conversation” program at Write On Door County in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. The conversation included important questions such as, where do you get your inspiration for writing? and. what’s a…

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July 20, 2021

Writing Advice from Elizabeth Strout

Writing advice from an interview with Elizabeth Strout and Bates College president Clayton Spencer by Emily McConville.

Write in scenes

“I just make a mess,” Strout told Spencer, who had asked her if she had a writing routine. “I’ve learned at this point that I don’t write from…

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July 13, 2021

How to Write a Nonfiction Book

by Boni Wagner-Stafford

Most writers will tell you that writing nonfiction is easier than writing fiction. This is the good news. The less good news: that doesn’t mean it’s less work to write a nonfiction book. While fiction writers often use a basic outline and then go wherever the story and characters take…

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July 6, 2021

From Self-Published to Traditionally Published

by Samantha Hoffman

I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to tell you a personal story because I think it's inspirational, the story of how I went from self-published author to St. Martin's Press author. It's the dream, I believe, of many of us, that our indie-published book will come to the…

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June 29, 2021

Little Green Monsters: How to Handle Writer Envy

By Ryan G. Van Cleave

It’s human nature – you see something delicious, you want it. Writers run across this situation with regularity as their peers encounter success, and that includes me, too. Here are three of my own I want that! moments.

I went to graduate school with Adam Johnson (Pulitzer and National Book…

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June 22, 2021

10 Ways To Hook Your Readers (and Reel Them in for Good)

by Ann Garvin

When I wanted to write an essay about my difficult relationship with my brother I had to figure out a way to make it interesting to other people so I turned to these 10 elements to keep the story rolling.

There are authors who have such fantastic first…

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June 15, 2021

8 Tips for Getting Your Short Fiction Published

By Maggie Smith

Eighteen months ago, when I became managing editor for the literary journal Write City Magazine, I got 1-2 submissions daily. This year that number has doubled. Perhaps it’s due to the pandemic and writers having more time. Perhaps more people are trying their hand at fiction and starting with…

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June 8, 2021

How Flash Fiction Improves Your Writing

by Sudha Balagopal

(Editor's note: Don't forget to submit your shorts (fiction or nonfiction) to CWA's Summer Flash Contest)

Five years ago, after writing long fiction for years, I became fascinated with flash fiction. Today, I'm a proud flash fictioneer, a practitioner of the style that's been called sudden fiction, short-short,…

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June 1, 2021

Summer Flash Contest

Submissions are Open

In Chicago, we love summer! CWA is celebrating our favorite season with our first-ever

Summer Flash Contest

Submit your very best work, in any genre – fiction or nonfiction – in 500 words or less. There is no restriction on style or theme.

Submissions will be open…

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