Summer writing seminars at GrubStreet

May 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

grubstreet-logoLooking forward to teaching three intensive one-day seminars on critical aspects of the fiction writing craft this summer: descriptive writing, the novel opening, and point of view/psychic distance. I’m very much enjoying my association with GrubStreet, a Boston-based organization run by kind and wonderful people and frequented by many talented aspiring and established writers. If you’re within striking distance of downtown Boston, come join us!

Here’s a link to all of my upcoming GrubStreet workshops.

Author interview: Inside Historical Fiction

April 21, 2015 § 2 Comments

cropped-screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-4-57-33-pmIt was a pleasure to be interviewed recently by the author M.K. Tod for her Inside Historical Fiction series. We had a nice talk about the ingredients that go into the making of great historical fiction, the research process, recent trends in the genre, and more. Here’s an excerpt:

MKT: Are historical novels inherently different from contemporary novels, and if so, in what ways?

TW: There’s a quote that I love from Andrew Miller, writing in The New York Times Book Review a few years ago, about the appeal of distance, and of “the strangeness such distance produces and of the lives lived recognizably in the midst of that strangeness.” He compared historical fiction to science fiction, pointing out that both genres require the writer to depict the only world he or she can possibly know—“the here and now”—in other terms.

To me, this notion captures much of what I love about historical fiction, both in the writing and in the reading: it’s at once a dream we have to enter and an oblique reflection of ourselves. In my experience, this kind of mind-altering immersion is harder to find in contemporary novels—if by “contemporary” we mean novels that are set in times and places very similar to the quotidian spheres in which we tend to live out our lives.

Read the full interview here.

Spring novel writing classes at GrubStreet

March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

grubstreet-logoIt’s been a great experience working with seven talented aspiring novelists in my 10 week Novel in Progress course this winter. I find that focusing in on particular aspects of craft of fiction is immediately beneficial in terms of one’s own work, and even more so in the long term, because it leads to greater fluency and range as a writer.

For these reasons, and because I very much enjoy teaching, I’ve agreed to offer yet another 10 week Novel in Progress course on Thursday evenings beginning April 9th. If you’re near Boston and working on a novel, join us! We have a lot of fun. And if my current students are any indication, you will make great strides on your project.

If you’re interested but can’t commit to 10 weeks, your can join one these intensive, one-off classes:

Voice and Dialog in Historical Fiction (Saturday, March 28, 10-5)

Crafting the Killer Novel Opening (Saturday, April 11, 10-5)

The Lost World: Harnessing the Power of Descriptive Prose in the Novel (Wednesday, June 17, 6-9 PM)

Click here for the full details on all my GrubStreet courses.

What Novels Can Do That Movies Can’t

January 10, 2015 § 1 Comment

grubstreet-logoIn 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.

Winter writing courses at GrubStreet

December 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Well, I must say I had fun this fall teaching several day-long classes on the writing craft at GrubStreet. It’s nice to have an excuse to spend more time in Boston, and GrubStreet students tend to be well educated, well read, open-minded, serious about writing, and eager to learn their craft. In this environment the learning experience definitely runs both ways. There’s something wonderfully inspiring about spending a stretch of time geeking out about craft with a bunch of other literary-minded introverts, and I believe it’s essential for a practicing novelist to keep educating himself in the analytical aspects of the craft. That’s exactly what teaching these classes does for me — and if I can help other aspiring writers get closer to their goals in the process, that’s certainly an excellent bonus.

grubstreet-logoI’m very much looking to teaching two more GrubStreet classes this winter. The first is a ten-week novel-writing class, in which we’ll be discussing many different aspects of the craft, including structure, scenes, dialog, characters, language, voice, point of view, image systems, backstory, the opening, and more, in addition to generating quite a bit of in-class work of either the first draft or the revised variety. The second class is a day-long affair focused on voice and dialog in historical fiction. So, Boston area writers, if any of this intrigues you, I urge you to take the leap! (And feel free to contact me if you have questions or doubts.)

New England book mini-tour

October 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

IMG_3820Thrilled to be embarking on an autumn mini book tour, during which I’ll be speaking, reading, and signing at several of New England’s great independent bookstores and libraries. Here’s the schedule of events. Come on out, I’d love to see you and sign your personal copy of Will Poole’s Island!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014, 6:30 PM
Bank Square Books
53 West Main Street
Mystic, Connecticut
 
 
 
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2014, 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
TOADLOGOThe Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough (11AM)
12 Depot Square, Peterborough, NH
&
The Toadstool Bookshop in Keene (2PM)
At the Colony Mill Marketplace in Keene, NH
 
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2014, 4:00 PM
world-eye-logo-fbWorld Eye Bookshop
156 Main Street, Greenfield, MA
 
 
 
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2014, 2:00 pm
DFL-logo-duxoval-largeDuxbury Free Library
77 Alden Street, Duxbury, Massachusetts

 

Interview up at Fiction Writers Review

September 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Very pleased to mark the publication of this interview with Alden Jones and the Fiction Writers Review. We had a nice discussion about the “genre” of historical fiction, the process of researching Will Poole’s Island, the differences between writing novels and short stories, and more.

fwr pic

A brief excerpt:

“Here’s the thing about writing historical fiction: you’re not trying to reconstruct or mimic history, which would be altogether boring even if it weren’t impossible. What you’re trying to do is to create a new version of it that will tell a good story while simultaneously capturing something essential, not only about the period, but also about contemporary life.”

Read the complete interview here.

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