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I Wasn't Born Yesterday: The Beauty of Backstory

8.31.13

Novelist Eleanor Henderson discusses the beauty and necessity of backstory in fiction, offering a counterpoint to a previously published article in which novelist Benjamin Percy warned writers about the dangers of backstory.

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Ghost in the Machine: A Typewriter, a Postcard, and the Objects of Memory

by Maria Mutch

The Literary Life

May/June 2014

<p>A writer’s search for a typewriter brings her face to face with both present and past, and helps her understand ideas of friendship, memory, connection, and loss.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

No Ideas but in Things: The Importance of First Objects

by Elizabeth Kostova

Special Section

January/February 2014

<p>Channeling some of our earliest memories, and specifically the physical objects that often exist at the center of such recollections, can prove to be a productive writing exercise—and might just open the floodgates to inspiration.&nbsp;</p>

Pedestrian Adventures: Walking to Inspiration

by Celia Johnson

Special Section

January/February 2014

<p>A number of writers—including Dickens, Thoreau, Woolf, and Wordsworth, to name a few—have turned to walking for inspiration. This essay explores the myriad benefits that ambulatory excercise can have on the creative life.&nbsp;</p>

Urban Tumbleweed: Perambulatory Poetry

by Harryette Mullen

Special Section

January/February 2014

<p>Poet Harryette Mullen explains how daily walks inspired her most recent collection, <em>Urban Tumbleweed: Notes From a Tanka Diary</em> (Graywolf Press, 2013), and shares a selection of poems from the book.&nbsp;</p>

Rethinking Restriction: Creative Limitation as a Positive Force

by M. Allen Cunningham

Special Section

January/February 2014

<p>While writers often express the need for fewer restrictions in their writing lives, one author argues that implementing limitations may actually lead to surprising—and productive—results.</p>
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