About the Blog:
The best way to learn to write is to read good books. Every week on this blog, I post a link to a contemporary short story or novel excerpt that is free and available online. I choose fiction from all genres (literary, science fiction, young adult), from well-known writers like George Saunders to about-to-be-well-known writers like Laura van den Berg, and from a wide array of journals and publications. If you are a writer, or simply someone looking for good fiction, this blog provides links to works by some of the country’s most exciting writers. When possible, I post a brief Q&A with the writers.
In the exercises, I take the stories apart in order to show how they work and to find techniques that can be borrowed by any writer. Each post culminates in a writing exercise designed to put the technique to work.
About Michael Noll
Michael Noll teaches writing at Texas State University and independent workshops and craft seminars in Austin and New Mexico. He edits Read to Write Stories, a site that offers writing exercises based on published stories, novel excerpts, and essays. He was the writer in residence at the Katherine Anne Porter House in Kyle, TX, and is currently at work on a story collection set in rural Kansas and a novel, Seven Attacks of the Dead.
Upcoming Classes and Events
BookPeople and The Writer’s League of Texas
In this free event, I’ll be speaking alongside Sarah Bird, Manuel Gonzales, and Margo Rabb about the ways that writers learn from genres outside their own comfort zone.
March 29: Writing Your True Story for a Magazine
The Writer’s League of Texas, Austin, TX
In this class, you will bring material (ideas, notes) and leave with a substantial portion of a finished 800-word essay such as appears in Narrative Magazine’s “Reader’s Narratives,” The New York Times Magazine’s “Lives” section, and numerous online magazines The class will use guided writing prompts and exercises, analysis of published work, a Q&A session, and the opportunity for direct feedback on your work. The class is open to everyone.
June 14: MixedRemixed Festival, Los Angeles, CA
I will appear along with several journal editors at this terrific conference created by the writer Heidi Durrow. Details coming soon.
June 23-29: Writing Your Life Into Stories
Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM
Learn to tell your story within the genre of one of the oldest literary forms and, yet, also one of the most exciting in contemporary American writing: the personal essay. In the course, we’ll read a variety of personal essays in order to discover styles and structures and strategies that can bring your essay to the page in its truest, most authentic form. Through guided writing, exercises, and workshop, we will practice those strategies and bring our essays to life. The class is open to everyone and is held at the former home of painter Georgia O’Keeffe.