Aimee Liu

Novelist, Essayist, Teacher

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New Resource Newsletter for Creative Writers

Hello Everybody!

I’m writing to announce a new sprout (aka Section) at my Substack publication, Legacy & Lore. It’s especially for writers of creative nonfiction and fiction, so if you’re working on a novel, memoir, short stories, or other prose project, this post is for you.

I’m calling this new section MFA Lore, and it’s meant to deliver on my newsletter’s initial promise to share the wealth that I’ve gleaned over more than four decades of publishing and teaching creative writing at the MFA level. I realized recently that I’ve been so preoccupied with my own Chinese-American Legacy lately that I’ve neglected those of you who are writing about your own Lore. Hence this corrective sprout.

You can check it out and subscribe HERE

Direct from the MFA Archives

Why MFA? I know there’s some dispute about the value of graduate degrees for writers who “just want to write.” I shared that hesitation for years, publishing more than three novels and four nonfiction books before getting my own MFA at Bennington. But the knowledge, insight, and community I gained at Bennington ignited my writing life and improved my work in too many ways to count. My goal here is not to motivate you to get an MFA (unless you’re so inclined, of course) but to give you a taste of the wisdom I’ve absorbed while studying and teaching in an MFA program.

It was my good fortune to join the faculty of Goddard College’s low-residency MFA in creative writing program immediately after I graduated from Bennington, and I taught there for 15 years. Each month, I sent my students packed editorial letters with writing advice and general conversation about literature. Here’s a snippet from one of those exchanges:

Our narrator, presumably, is a girl nobody respects and who would rather die than ask for anybody’s respect.  Why?  What makes her tick?  How does her clockwork get rearranged in the course of this day?  What does she learn that she never knew?  What preconceptions get overturned?  What price does she have to pay?  How will this day change her life?  You need to have all this in mind as you rewrite.  MAKE EVERY LINE MATTER.  MAKE EVERY ACTION CHANGE SOMEONE.  MAKE EVERY CHANGE CAUSE AN EFFECT IN SOMEONE ELSE.  THINK STIMULUS, RESPONSE.  AND SURPRISE.

My plan for this newsletter is to unpack and distill wisdom like this, culled from the archives, and share it twice a month with you. What was good for my students, I suspect, just might be helpful to you.

What about paid subscribers?

With this new section, I’ve decided to add a personalized benefit called Write On for paid subscribers. Bear with me, I’m new to this! But my intention is to tailor some of this writing advice to your particular concerns, especially if you’re in the middle — or muddle!— of a writing project. To be clear, this is not meant to be an editorial service. I won’t be reading or offering feedback on your work, but I do want this to be a forum for general writing issues that bedevil you. Some examples:
  • POV confusion

  • How can we write about living family members?

  • How do we orient the reader?

  • Strategies for keeping track of multiple plotlines


In specific terms, I’ll build bimonthly Write On posts around your comments and questions. As our community grows, I plan to add a monthly Writers in Conversation post, introducing you to some of the fabulous writers (including my astonishing former students!), editors, and agents I’ve met since my first book was published waaaaay back in 1979!

That’s the plan! I just need you to join this merry band. No MFA required!
You can subscribe or upgrade your subscription HERE.

Also, one other little goodie just released. I was featured along with a slew of great authors talking about the value of audiobooks in our writing lives, over at Hasty Book List HERE.
Happy Audiobook Appreciation Month!

And... write on!