A conversation about writing with James Scott of TK Podcast
August 29, 2017 § Leave a comment
Really enjoyed my conversation with James Scott on the latest episode of his terrific series of literary conversations known as the TK Podcast. James is a bestselling novelist (The Kept) and an excellent interviewer, with a real knack for asking questions about writing and life that lead to interesting places.
We talked about travel, the writing life, the binary nature of solitude, National Geographic, short fiction, how to sequence stories in a short fiction collection, the Cuba Writers Program, Ingmar Bergman, drug writing, Green Writers Press, Denis Johnson, The Grateful Dead, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Paul Bowles, and much, much more. Highly recommended if you’re a writer and/or a fan of literary podcasts! Here’s the link.
Two new craft articles out . . . and a translation to Italian
May 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
“Classic Omniscience Revisited: Lessons for the Modern Novelist in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.” Empty Mirror.
“Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Fiction Writer in the Modern Age? A Quiz.” Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
“A caccia del fantasma de Hemingway All’Avana,” Edizioni Sur (translated by Martina Ricciardi). (Originally “Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost in Havana,” The Millions.)
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.
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.
I’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.)
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.
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.
Fall writing courses at GrubStreet
September 5, 2014 § 1 Comment
Hey everyone, I’m pleased to announce a new series of day-long workshops on the writing craft that I’ll be conducting at Grub Street in Boston. If you’re not familiar with this organization and you live anywhere in a 100 mile radius, you really ought to check it out. My experiences with Grub Street have been overwhelmingly positive. It’s a magnet for blazingly creative people following all kinds of interesting paths in writing, and their classes are top-notch in terms of providing inspiration and the ongoing work every writer must do in honing the craft.
Click on the titles to read full descriptions and logistical info. I’d love to see you in Boston!
September 26, 2014: Opening the Historical Novel
October 31, 2014 (Halloween!): Harnessing the Dark Side: Suspense, Resonance, and the Archetypal Shadow in Fiction
November 1, 2014: Reaching for the Sublime: Image Systems in Fiction
December 5, 2014: Cracking your Sentences Wide Open