The Mark Program


Writers' Reel: The Art of the Pitch

In this video from Thnkr, bestselling author Daniel H. Pink introduces some very creative and effective pitches that all writers should try.


Sunday I got to the PEN offices over an hour ahead of time. Anticipating traffic and road closures due to the marathon, I thought I would need more time. I grabbed my notebook and walked down to the Coffee Bean. The extra chunk of time allowed me to sit with a story.

Bookmark This: How to Write a Sex Scene

Author Steve Almond has some excellent rules for writing about sex. Utne has republished his three-page essay on the tricks of the trade. Here's a sampling below. Read the full text here.


Last Sunday I had my Mid-Project Review, and that same night, someone stole my car. I had just left a party to drive home, but the car was not where I’d parked it. I scanned the block. No car. Trying not to panic, I noticed two guys nearby hanging out in their yard, and asked if they’d seen a blue Subaru parked there. They had, but also recalled two guys getting in it and driving off.

Writers' Reel: The Story of Charlotte's Web

E.B. White frequently wrote about animals. Once, he even wrote a letter to his wife from the perspective of their dog. In this Bookd Margins video by Thnkr, Michael Sims, author of The Story of Charlotte's Web, shares fascinating details about White's eccentric life.

The Gift of Criticism

Image: Kelley MacDonald

Yesterday I had my Mid-Project Review for The Mark Program. Usually, I get so nervous in interview-type situations that everything becomes a blur. I become both energized and exhausted. It’s exciting and, at the same time, I leave bone-tired and not remembering half the things I’ve said.

Early Morning Writing

Driving to work each day, I pass by the Alcove in Los Feliz. The Alcove is a charming indoor/outdoor restaurant/café. A few months ago I learned they opened at 6:00 AM. Ever since, I’ve wanted to get up an hour early so I can go there before work. Every time I plan to do this, however, something gets in my way. Mainly I get in my own way. I am not a morning person.

Bookmark This: Literary Feuds of 2012

Woody Allen with his pet flea.

Seattle, I'm Sorry

I’m starting this blog post on a plane returning from a brief trip to Seattle, where I re-connected with old friends and saw a play called These Streets, about Seattle's underground music scene in the early '90s. I lived there for most of that period and for the majority of my 20s. Just being in the city again brought back many memories, and seeing the show on top of it only dipped me further into this endless pit of nostalgia.

Writers' Reel: John Hodgman on How to Make It As a Writer

Author and former literary agent John Hodgman gives tips on how to make it as a writer. Find out why writing what you know may not be enough.