Two new articles on the writing craft
April 9, 2017 § Leave a comment
“As a species, we’re ruled and dominated by our over-developed hominid imaginations. Setting is what propels us into the dream of story, because its lucidity — its sensory concreteness — activates our imaginations on a subconscious level, irresistibly, without our knowledge or permission.” — from “Research Notes: A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing,” an illustrated meditation on place and the writing process at Necessary Fiction
“We read novels and stories for distraction, for entertainment, yet the best fiction also gives us something life itself cannot: direct exposure to the internal life of another human being. It is this unique backstage access that makes good fiction more immersive and emotionally gripping than any other narrative medium.” — from “What Are Writers For? A Fiction Writer’s Perspective,” at GrubWrites.
New craft article out at Fiction Writers Review
March 20, 2017 § 2 Comments
I’m a big fan of Fiction Writers Review and it’s an honor to be welcomed home from a trip abroad with the news that they’ve published my article, “Shadow Play: Dreams, Visions, & Hallucinations in Fiction.” Here’s a brief excerpt:
A vibrant inner landscape is something fiction can offer far more fulsomely than any other narrative art, which is the reason novels and stories will never be fully supplanted by movies or TV or video games. Fiction is irresistible because it offers the reader a defamiliarized version of the universal mind, in all its wisdom and agony and strange, conflicted beauty.
For fiction writers, this is where it gets fun. The inner landscape is our native domain, and we have certain freedoms and privileges within it that are not readily available to other artists. Our stories unfold primarily as refracted through our characters’ minds, meaning that we’re uniquely positioned to push against the outer limits of objective reality. We can play around with space and time and perception in really interesting ways—including via dreams, visions, and hallucinations.
Read the full article here.
Rudyard Kipling Award for Young Writers
June 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
What a fun privilege it was to serve as a judge for the Rudyard Kipling Award for Young Writers, the culminating ceremony for which was held this past weekend at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro. The purpose of the award is to encourage local youngsters to engage with writing and literature, and to celebrate the significant and little-known legacy of Rudyard Kipling in the local area.
Click here to listen to a brief podcast of a recent radio interview about the award.
And if you get a chance to visit the great writer’s historic home, Naulakha, near the base of Black Mountain in Brattleboro, it’s a magical place and I highly recommend it. The contest winner’s prize included an overnight with her family and friends!
What Novels Can Do That Movies Can’t
January 10, 2015 § 1 Comment
In anticipation of the 10 week novel class I’m teaching at GrubStreet this winter, I have a little piece up at The Grub Daily called “What Novels Can do that Movies Can’t, and Why We Need to Keep Writing Them.” Here’s an excerpt:
“One of the great things about being alive in the twenty-first century is the abundance of good movies – and, lately, of good and even great TV series. But the happy truth is, even in this environment, novels are holding their own. This may be due to what novelist and writing teacher John Gardner referred to as the “vivid, continuous dream” of fiction, which is more than a writing workshop cliché.”
Read the whole post here.