Translating life into fiction can be a way to externalize our inner apocalypse... photo: Jon Sullivan ...and reading our fiction can lead us to an understanding of what we have locked away. Write about a Thanksgiving that became a turning point in your life, locate it in an exaggerated world of your creation, and animate it with people who enact … Continue reading truth to fiction
Exposition is risky - and necessary. At it's best exposition provides critical back story, or foreshadowing, it can enhance character development and help to convey place, time, and atmospheric subtleties that are not appropriate for dialogue. Used with patience, pacing and economy, exposition feels 'invisible' to the reader, it enhances story without intruding. A good way … Continue reading choreographing the Aleutian cackling goose
All stories must come to an end. Whether short story (up to approximately 7,500 words), or novel (approximately 60,000 words or more). For Animal Farm the end came at 29,966 words, for Madame Bovary 117,963 words, and for War and Peace 544,406 words (for more word counts go to PWxyz) Regardless of how many words it takes, don’t … Continue reading the end
When you write, be mutinous. If you’re not afraid, or insecure, or filled with foreboding, it’s probably because you’re obeying too many rules. "Grammar is a piano I play by ear." Joan Didion Essays & Conversations Find the pace and sound that's indigenous to you and use it.
“Literature was not born the day when a boy crying "wolf, wolf" came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying "wolf, wolf" and there was no wolf behind him.” Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature Take us to the moment … Continue reading cry wolf
Deciphering and articulating plot can feel overwhelming. photo: Jon Sullivan Even after characters have arrived and formed relationships, even though you know 'what happens'. Plot isn't just what happens, it's the consequences that drive story. Consequences shape and reshape how your characters cope, don't cope, try and fail. Consequences confound intentions, and disrupt relationships. Imagine … Continue reading plot vibrations
Think of your stories as your Frankensteins –made from the lost limbs stitched together, and animated by the cell memories, of people you’ve known. What shape will they take, grafted together in a plot that requires they move in synchrony. Built into this unnatural union is the tragedy and yearning it takes to invent redemption. photo:Rosendahl
Spring 2014 Weekend Workshop series for writers of fiction and nonfiction Designed for aspiring writers and veterans alike, this workshop series will provide creative and practical tools to take a book idea or book draft from inspiration to completion. Through supportive coaching and instruction, participants will: develop and enhance creative writing skills learn the creative art … Continue reading From Preface to Publish, Writing a Book DeMystified