stephanie roberts author kayak

I have read enough formulas for writing to have utter conviction that there is no formula for writing outside of writing. A deaf adherence to a myriad of writing tips and hints can end up being poison in the system of your own creativity.

With that caveat established, I have found that when I lose my way in a narrative it often helps me to write the ending. I start writing a short story with a 1500 word limit only to be 2800 words in with nary a cohesive end in sight. At that point, I ask myself, where do I want this to go? What do I want to see happen? And then I write it down. I may even eventually change the ending, but I have found it helps me to plot a course when I can head toward a flag I’ve already staked.

the bar lucciola

I found the bar where we met Leonardo in Italy. I wanted to spell it correctly in my work. It is a great flaw of my personality, as an artist, that I feel like I’m lying if I take liberties with actual places. I do let the facts get in the way of a good story—not a strength as a fiction writer or poet, and I have to work to overcome that tendency.

bar lucciola stephanie roberts author

Writing fiction…


Writing fiction helped my poetry because writing is good for writing.

Poetry is all b…


Poetry is all blood and pauses. I look forward to closing the door on fiction for a time, and dedicating myself to poetry. In fiction, you have to withhold some of your blood or the work would be unreadable. In fiction, you need to know how to use that fine brush, perhaps the finest brush. That Japanese brush that costs thirty dollars and has only five camel hairs. You need to establish commonality. But poetry comes out like arterial spray and needs to hit like an arrow shot through your spine as to cripple you. At least that is the way I like my poetry.