Posts tagged ‘story’

June 22, 2011

How much surprise do you like in a story?

How much surprise do you like in a story? I like a story to be unexpected at every turn. It doesn’t need to have multiple or parallel plots or one plot with many trailing sub-plots, but I find it’s the smaller surprises that help define a story and its characters. In my own life I find a competition of motives and possible actions which give spontaneity a chance to bloom. I expect any new detail to have its own story, so I pick and choose to create the characters and the themes. Among those things, I like to choose the one least probable.

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June 18, 2011

Happy Father’s Day, Dads

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Hope you’re proud of the courage it takes me to write well. I am inspired by the courage you showed that day on the Santa Fe when you guys rescued so many men from the USS Franklin in the battle of Leyte Gulf (plus the courage it took to have five kids). And I remember you too, Mom. And to all the other Dads in the family: Thomas, Joe, Ben, Martin, Tommy, and Steve. Hugs, all.

June 9, 2011

Real pirate treasure is shown is this slide show.

Real pirate treasure is shown is this slide show. Click this link:

http://www.slate.com/slideshow/arts/pirate-treasures#all

May 26, 2011

If you don’t have the guts to finish a novel, is there another way?

For $12,000 you can get Geoff Dyer to show you how to finish a manuscript. You’ll have to jet to the UK and sit in a classroom for nine months. If all you ended up with was a meandering text-vacation through a Dyer-like brain, was it worth it? For my money nothing exceeds the process of putting ass to chair, pen to paper, and heart to mind. Of course, it won’t get you an advanced diploma in creative writing from UEA, The University of East Anglia, but I don’t remember Scott Fitzgerald needing one to explore his ambition or Willa Cather to explore her American frontiers. The next novel I read had better be something unlike anything I’ve read before. Anything like anything is a waste of time to me. I don’t even like to read fine writers who tend to repeat themselves too much. Someone once said a writer has one basic story to tell. This may emerge through many novels, but still a good writer will make each one new. Whether it’s a muse or a certain gut-feeling that propels the writer, I want, as the reader, to be able to touch that spirit in some way as I read. There should be music between those lines—can you find that in classroom?

April 10, 2011

How to learn to learn to write

Two Girls Invent a Spring Day
(for Charlotte)

A mommy, a doggie, a soccer ball, and two three-year-old girls.
One kicks it to the other and she runs away as if chased by it.
One kicks it to her again and she jumps over it twice as it rolls.
The other, tired, says new rule: kick it to yourself so I can sit.
New rule: I kick the ball to the doggie and I sit, too.
New rule: you stand on your head. I stand on my head.
New rule: the doggie should stand on his head.
Look at the doggie and giggle. Look at the sky and giggle.
New rule: when the doggie runs away, I kick the ball at him.
New rule: you have to giggle when you run.
Uh-oh, Mommy calls. Kick the ball to the far corner so
she has to run after it. Laugh at Mommy as she kicks the ball.
Kick it back to the corner again. Laugh at Mommy again.

If I could imaginate like these girls, I wouldn’t
have to walk across a park to a library
to get a book full of it: I’d kick a ball. I’d run.
I’d stand on my head. And I would laugh at Mommy.

March 17, 2011

The rough draft sticks to my skin

For me a novel’s rough draft can sometimes devolve into a landslide of research, for use beneath the surface of the story and beneath the surface of the writer. How do you know when too much is too much? Sometimes it freezes me up, prevents me from zooming ahead on the opening-up to a fast-write first draft. I do love the spewing forth of the story without too much control: the elements of discovery that occur only at top speed when the imagination and my fingers are rocking at an allegro pace. Or speed punk. But I also want so much to get the story right. Get the geography right. Get the motivation right. The character’s mind and heart. For me? Perhaps, in tribute to the Japanese I’ll do a little Shinto purification, Misogi, with waterfalls . . . write in the bathtub.

February 20, 2011

Plot teaser for Tesora

After a sixteen-year-old cabin boy steals pirate gold, he is left marooned, but he finds a new life in Cuba and falls in love with the daughter of a slave. His hopes for happiness turn to doubt when the pirates surround him and the townspeople must decide whether or not to fight to save the life of the only white man in town.

September 12, 2010

Photo of Words

Here is a photo of a page in a book that speaks of the importance of stories. The photo is by Anne Abrams. The link to her photos is on the home page of this blog.

Book about the importance of stories

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