How to Improve Writing Skills

You have the drive, you have the passion, and you’re more than willing to put in the time it takes to finish a manuscript. But you also want to make sure your work is clean, compelling, and perfectly structured. Help for doing just that can be found right here.

How to Use Facts in Your Fiction

Details, details. You need them to make your story believable, but too many can drag your plot to a halt. Here’s how to strike that just-right balance of fact in your fiction.

by Karen Dionne

The Best and Worst of Writing Advice

When you gather a panel of writers to discuss the best and worst writing advice they’ve ever received, the conversation promises to be as colorful as it is informative—and this one with spy novelist Alex Dryden,  mystery novelist Lisa Gardner, author Alex Kava, and debut author Daniel Palmer, did not disappoint.

Secrets to Success in YA

R.L. Stine, bestselling author the iconic Goosebumps and Fear Street series, says that with every novel young readers pick up, they are looking to answer one specific question.

by Jessica Strawser, reporting from ThrillerFest 2010 (New York City)

The Ins and Outs of First-Person POV

In his session “The Pros and Cons of the First-Person Viewpoint,” blockbuster novelist David Morrell took an intimate look at this hotly debated POV.

by Jessica Strawser, reporting from ThrillerFest 2010 (New York City)

Motivate Your Characters Like a Pro

In his session “The Psychology of Character Motivation,” Edgar-nominated author D.P. Lyle, MD, shared this invaluable exercise for developing your characters’ motivations as your story unfolds.

by Jessica Strawser, reporting from ThrillerFest 2010 (New York City)

How Poeming Is Like Dating

We’ve been discussing the composition of poetry on Twitter today. It sounds like many poets (including myself) tend to treat writing poetry like dating. Start off for funAt first, it’s just an image. Or an idea. Or a line. Something small and (what initially) seems unique triggers the beginning of a poem....

Poetry Workshop: 014

Okay, I haven’t tackled one of these poetry workshops in a while, so let’s look at a poem from Khara House. Here the original draft: Our daily bread, by Khara E. House Pull one thread to unravel a sweater–one thing leads to another. Hansel and Gretel scatter breadcrumb path–come the birds, eat the...

Tips for Writing and for Life

In this special expanded edition of MFA Insider, a distinguished writer and longtime professor shares a wealth of advice he’s been compiling for (and from) his students for decades.

by Leslie Epstein