Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘writer’s block’

Shop Talk |

"My novel is going nowhere"

You may have said those words once or twice yourself, perhaps? (If not, please leave this blog. Now.) It may comfort you to know that you are not alone in that sentiment: even established writers think so, now and then—and have for decades, if not centuries. To prove it, Michael Hoffman has combed through the letters of Joseph Roth, finding every mention of his novel The Radetzky March, which would become his masterpiece. Here’s a sampling: November 20, 1930 Joseph Roth to Stefan Zweig: “‘The Radetzky March,’ it’ll be called, set in the Dual Monarchy from 1890 to 1914. I’ll […]


Shop Talk |

Get Writing: Steal on the First Pitch

In our “Get Writing” series, we share some of our favorite exercises for classroom (or personal) use. Enjoy! You’ve played your most inspirational music. You’ve flipped through your most weathered paperback. You’ve stood on your head, gone on a jog and even cleaned your apartment. Twice. But if that first sentence just isn’t coming to you, don’t force it. Borrow someone else’s. The secret to this writing prompt is not having access to that second sentence. With two, you’re just a reader enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor. You’re going down their path. But armed with just one sentence, […]


Shop Talk |

Ode to Barton Fink

I first watched Barton Fink years ago in Chicago, and wasn’t sure what to make of it. It’s one of the Coen brothers’ lesser-watched films. John Turturro plays the title character, hired to write a Hollywood script, and his rendition of writer’s block still makes me want to crawl out of my skin. The wallpaper peels, his neighbor Charlie at the Hotel Earle (a genius turn by John Goodman) interrupts him, Barton loses himself in a picture of a woman on the beach that hangs on his hotel room wall. People may debate the symbols of the movie itself, but […]



Literary Partners