Are All Writers Artists?

absorbed-2409314_1280Anyone can be a writer in the sense of putting sentences together that form longer narratives. But not all of these writers are artists. That’s the distinction I make between the work some people are publishing whether the book is self-published or travels the traditional route via a publisher, small or large. Continue reading “Are All Writers Artists?”

What role does music have in good writing?

stationery-1158791_1920I was fortunate to have piano lessons when I was a girl. In Canada, if students are learning classical music, teachers usually follow the Royal Conservatory of Music progression from grades one through ten and utilize the books for each level. These lessons include theory as well as musical scores for students to progress in. Continue reading “What role does music have in good writing?”

Thumbs up for online writing critique groups

group-4295393_1920Writers spend a lot of time drafting poems, stories, and essays/memoirs, but as every serious writer knows, drafts are only the beginning. I know that I spend an enormous amount of time reviewing and rewriting every piece that I hope one day will be published. Even though I’ve taught writing for thirty-five years, and I’m an excellent editor of other people’s work, I still need thoughtful feedback to help me in the revision process. Continue reading “Thumbs up for online writing critique groups”

Writing Back To Life

greeting-card-1096981_1920It’s wonderful to be writing again after my daily commitment was severely interrupted by launching and marketing Freefall: A Divine Comedy. Most people don’t realize how much effort is involved in publishing a book. It isn’t just the months of finetuning the manuscript before publication that are involved. It’s also all of the activities that happen after it’s been published. Continue reading “Writing Back To Life”

Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Slow Movement

I’ve resisted reading the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard’s work for several reasons. I wasn’t interested in a major dose of navel gazing for hundreds of pages. He seemed to represent the worst of our narcissistic culture, the constant selfies and focus on me me me. Why would I spend hundreds of pages following him through his past memories? What could a Norwegian writer offer me, a naturalized American (Canadian by birth) female of another generation?

Therefore, when my reading group decided to take on Knausgaard, I wasn’t happy about the choice, but I tried not to let my resistance interfere with the book selection. I’ve been mistaken before. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena didn’t interest me at first, but it was one of the best books I’ve read , along with Traveler of the Century, in importance and depth. So, I tried to be open to this new writer (new for me) and his approach to fictionalizing his life. Continue reading “Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Slow Movement”

Meet author Terra Ziporyn in this fabulous interview: “We should stop worrying about genres, reality, and imagination, and think instead about telling good stories.”

Terra Snider_WhatsUp Headshop_No SSL Button_April 2019Meet my guest author Terra Ziporyn, fiction and non-fiction writer.

  • When did you write your first book and how did it come about?

It’s hard to answer this question because I’ve been writing “books” since I was a kid, and the trajectory of my fiction and non-fiction is very different. I guess I completed my first novel during college, but it’s still in a drawer, along with various other novels I’ve written since then that may never go anywhere else. That first novel was inspired by the life of a troubled friend who life story needed telling. Whether or not it’s worth publishing remains to be seen—I’m a bit afraid to unearth it from my file cabinet. My first published book was an adaptation of my PhD dissertation, a historical study of the way medical research gets communicated in the popular media (Disease in the Popular American Press). That was back in the late 1980s. The first novel I published was Time’s Fool (2001), a historical novel that drew on my academic work in the history of science, centered on a 19th century utopian community. Continue reading “Meet author Terra Ziporyn in this fabulous interview: “We should stop worrying about genres, reality, and imagination, and think instead about telling good stories.””

What writers can learn from the composer Shostakovich

stationery-1158791_1920My husband and I recently attended a concert featuring the Shostakovich Violin Concerto #1 with soloist Christian Tetzlaff. The exhilarating performance is still reverberating within me, the work a stunning blend of instruments and tonal shifts. The opus also challenges any concert violinist to demonstrate his/her best relationship with his/her instrument and the score. Tezlaff not only lived up to the test, but he also surpassed it. He was one with the music and his instrument: in fact, he became the instrument. Continue reading “What writers can learn from the composer Shostakovich”

Why do people write?

desk-3076954_1920It’s wonderful to be writing again after my daily commitment was severely interrupted by launching and marketing Freefall: A Divine Comedy. I’ve felt hollow during that time, as if something vital were missing from my daily diet. In fact, writing is as important to me as food. What is it about writing that is so necessary for me and I’m sure for other writers? Continue reading “Why do people write?”

Book Marketing 101: Part Three

20160709_154446Though I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve discovered the value of doing readings while visiting in different locations. Usually, bookstores aren’t interested in having authors read at their venues unless that person has a following in the area. The conventional wisdom is that readings are more productive in areas where we have family, friends, or acquaintances. That might be true in some instances, but there are exceptions, particularly in small towns where there isn’t much cultural activity outside of the local bookstore. Continue reading “Book Marketing 101: Part Three”

Book Marketing 101

art-2417013_1920We writers are innocents in many ways, especially regarding the selling side of the publishing business. As long as we can stay in front of our computers, engaged in the dream world of our fictions, we don’t have to think of how these narratives will find their readers. Now that three of my novels have been published, I’ve had to make the adjustment. It hasn’t been easy. Continue reading “Book Marketing 101”

Giving Birth to a Fictional Character

sign-1298058_1920This is the second anniversary of my novel Curva Peligrosaand I want to celebrate it by discussing how I gave birth to it.

The novel opens with a tornado that sweeps through the fictional town of Weed, Alberta, and drops a purple outhouse into its center. Drowsing and dreaming inside that structure is its owner, Curva Peligrosa—a curiosity and a marvel, a source of light and heat, a magnet. Adventurous, amorous, fecund, and over six feet tall, she possesses magical powers. She also has the greenest of thumbs, creating a tropical habitat in an arctic clime, and she possesses a wicked trigger finger. Continue reading “Giving Birth to a Fictional Character”

A Writer’s Evolution


I’m standing on the street outside the Crescent Confectionary in Calgary, the city where I grew up. The place is lit from within. A couple sits at a table next to the window, eating. I feel like the little match girl, on the outside, looking into this place where I once worked. When I was thirteen, I went with Chester, my stepdad, to the Confectionary, and he asked Mr. Larson, the owner, to give me a part-time job. Chester bought all of our food there on credit, paying the bill when he was flush. Continue reading “A Writer’s Evolution”