A Novel Idea

In this monthly column, award-winning author Jessica Handler will take the fear out of fiction writing with practical advice about writing craft and the writer’s life. With humor and honesty, she’ll explore practical writing tips, including character insights, sensory integration on the page, innovative research techniques, and more. Each column will include a generative writing prompt.

I recently invited my friend Pete to speak to my undergraduates about his new book and his writing practice. He told them, among other things, that he…
We are writers because we are readers. Before we could read on our own, someone likely read to us, and we began the imaginative work of putting words…
Look away from the screen, and take a sensory inventory of what’s around you. What do you see? (For me, it’s a red bookcase, a striped mug, a geranium…
I promised you more about the “process journal” in last month’s column, so here we go. A process journal, which some people call a “case book,” is a…
A new year is traditionally the time for resolutions. We promise ourselves that this year we’ll do it (whatever “it” may be) better, that this time…