Ghost stories have a rich literary tradition, but for most of my life, I dismissed them. I don’t believe in ghosts, and I’ve seen enough horror movies to know I’m not interested in seeing another. However, I just finishedDenis Johnson’s Train Dreams, a finalist for the Pulitzer, and was surprised to see a very moving account of a ghost.
It made me realize how many ghost stories are in the literary canon. There’s Poe’s The Raven, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, basically all of Nicolai Gogol’s work, and more recently Michael Cunningham’s Specimen Days, among many others I’m forgetting. We love ghost stories!
Earlier this week, I read “Poppies,” a short story by Ulrica Hume, one of our authors on Story Cartel. Initially, I had only planned on skimming a few pages, but the first line hooked me. Before long, I was finishing the last page.
Great first lines have that power, the power to entice your reader enough that it would be unthinkable to set the book down. How, then, do you write the perfect first line?
If you’re like most writers I know, you probably dream of getting published. But as I’ve worked with writers for the last six years, I’ve found that most are woefully unprepared for what publishing actually takes, and this means that either they never figure out what it takes to get published or when they finally DO get published, they find themselves disappointed with the process and with how many books they sell.
How do you prepare for getting published though? There are several steps, but the first step is building an author website. In this article, I’m going to share a step-by-step guide to building a simple author website yourself that will support all of your publishing efforts.
Honestly, throughout most of high school and college, I was a mediocre essay writer. Every once in a while, I would write a really good essay, but mostly I skated by with B’s and A-minuses. I know personally how boring writing an essay can be, and also, how hard it can be to write a good one.
However, toward the end of my time as a student, I made a breakthrough. I figured out how to not only write a great essay, I learned how to have fun while doing it.
The best way to become a better writer is to write and then to publish your writing, whether you publish it on a blog, in a book, or with a close friend. It’s only by practicing writing, and getting feedback on it, that you can improve.
That being said, it never hurts to learn from those who have gone before you, and over the years, we’ve compiled a lot of excellent advice from the best writers on how to become a better writer.