Author Archives: Carla Norton

To Russia Without Love

  Just days ago, investigators concluded that Putin most likely ordered the 2006 murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died in a London hospital bed at age 44. Litvinenko, who had been stricken by a sudden and mysterious illness, became the first known victim of an obscure type of radiation poisoning.  His death is all too reminiscent of the ricin poisoning of Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov, who was killed via injection of a toxic pellet by an “umbrella gun” on the streets of Continue reading →

MFA? Yes, please, but hold the kale

Writings posted on the internet have a shelf life shorter than strawberries, so it’s a surprise each time there’s a new buzz of interest about an article I wrote a couple of years ago titled The Pros and Cons of Getting a Creative Writing MFA. Its latest circulation by is especially timely since I’m about to fly to Vermont to give a reading at Goddard College as a visiting alumna. I’m flooded with warm feelings prior to my trip north (which is fortunate, considering Continue reading →

Breaking News: Crisis Reveals Character

With the daily carnage on our streets and all the conflict pouring out of the Middle East, it’s hard not to despair. You might recoil from all the violence and hate-speech, but if you’re writing a novel—and can keep your hands from shaking—I suggest you shed your fear and open your eyes. There’s no shortage of villainous material. If you need a model for your antagonist, there are plenty of individuals clamoring for your attention. And in the midst of crisis, you can count on the Continue reading →

Desperately Seeking Structure

November is National Novel Writing Month (aka #NaNoWriMo), which means countless writers are pouring out torrents of words. But the Muse doesn’t always bother with plot, so writers sometimes get swept through their opening chapters and deep into a story before realizing they haven’t a clue how to end it. This post is for those busy souls in the midst of the creative process. Some of you are using the classic three-act approach, others are writing by the seat of your pants. And while you’re cranking Continue reading →