August 18, 2020 § 4 Comments
Had a lot of fun writing this essay now up at CRAFT Literary: “Practicing the Ecstatic: On the Value of Escapist Fiction in the Internet Age.”
“Novel-writing is another kind of work that demands a sustained and often grueling daily practice. While scribbling or typing is less explicitly physical than dance or carpentry, ecstatic transportation is a defining characteristic of fiction as an art form.” Read the full essay here.
This isn’t my first time around with CRAFT, a nicely produced, very well edited publication dedicated to, well, the craft of writing, both fiction and CNF. You can check out all their stuff here.
March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’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)
February 11, 2015 § Leave a comment
The Historical Novel Society is an organization I respect, so I am quite honored that they have deemed Will Poole’s Island important enough to feature. Their reviewer made some interesting points about the book, and I think that in the final analysis he “got” it. What more can a first-time novelist ask?
Here’s the quote the reviewer references regarding my approach to mythic thinking within the novel:
“Unless we can find some way to understand the reality of mythic thinking we remain prisoners of our own language, our own thoughtworld. In our world one story is real, the other, fantasy. In the Indian way of thinking both stories are true because they describe personal experience . . . Historical events happened once and are gone forever. Mythic events return like the swans of spring . . . They are essential truths, not contingent ones.” – Robin Ridington
Read the full review here.
February 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
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.
October 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
Had a great discussion with Troy Shaheen of Putney Student Travel on writing, travel, and leaving the digital world behind. Here’s an excerpt:
“For me, writing is an essential part of traveling. It’s a way to filter the experience, to interpret and record and bestow meaning. Travel allows you to see the world fresh; good writing does the same thing. This is why travel programs with a writing component, or writing programs with a travel component, are so consistently enriching. Travel lends itself naturally to writing.”
You can read the full interview here. And here’s a photo with a wonderful group of young writers on a Putney Student Travel program in Ireland in 2013:
July 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
Great news this morning from one of the world’s greatest independent bookstores: Will Poole’s Island has been selected as Nantucket Bookworks‘ Teen Pick of the Month!
If you’ve been lucky enough to visit the mysterious and evocative isle of Nantucket then you know that this bookstore and its partner store, Mitchell’s Books, are essential landmarks for readers and must-do stops in historic downtown. It’s a great honor to receive this nod from what has long been a rainy day refuge for me and countless others — all the sweeter because the historical and physical landscapes of the island were so important to the writing of the novel.
Order the book directly from the bookstore here.
July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
It was a true pleasure to chat recently with Literary New England Radio Show host Cindy Wolfe Boynton about Will Poole’s Island. We discussed the genesis of the book, some of the historical research that went into it, the extent to which the protagonist is an autobiographical figure, and my version of the 21st century writing life. Cindy asked good questions, and I began by reading a brief excerpt from Chapter Four of the book. All in all, a most enjoyable conversation!
The show, which also features distinguished New England authors Deborah Harkness, Erika Johansen, and Courtney Maum, aired Monday, July 14, 2014, and is available as a podcast for you to download and hear at your own leisure by clicking here.
Note: Once you download the podcast you can move the cursor to whatever point you want to start listening. My portion of the interview begins at minute 38.50.