• Help! Perfection is getting in the way of my first draft.

    Welcome to  story and chai’s “Ask an Author.”  Here, we’ll respond to questions we’ve received about the writing and publication process, as well as new questions, which you can ask us on twitter, Facebook, or through email (jazobair AT comcast DOT net).  Sometimes we’ll ask other authors to “guest answer” your questions as well. We hope this is… Continue Reading

  • Can I See Your Query Letter?!

    Welcome to  story and chai’s “Ask an Author.”  Here, Aisha, Mohammed, and I will respond to questions we’ve received about the writing and publication process, as well as new questions, which you can ask us on twitter, Facebook, or through email (jazobair AT comcast DOT net).  Sometimes we’ll ask other authors to “guest answer” your questions as well.… Continue Reading

  • Writing Multicultural Characters

    by Medeia Sharif When I first started writing novels in the mid-90s, my early drawer manuscripts had what I’d call mainstream characters. Their names were Julia, Merrill, and Vivian. They had a variety of hair and skin colors, but none of them were anything specific. They weren’t Arabic, Hispanic, or Asian, although they did come… Continue Reading

  • Kick the Bear

    by Stephen Parrish I encountered some writing advice recently that suggested writers who struggle with plot should treat it like a sleeping bear. Approach stealthily, guardedly. Describe the setting, the bear’s surroundings: a cerulean sky, the cool grass beneath your protagonist’s feet, oak branches creaking obligingly in a gusting breeze. Describe everything but the bear.… Continue Reading

  • Prose Economy

    by Tracy Strauss When we’re sending out our work for possible publication, we are often required to submit our stories and essays within a specific, limited word count. How can we shape or carve or whittle down a longer work into one that will fit the submission guidelines of a particular publication, and still retain… Continue Reading