Friday, June 25, 2010
When I eavesdrop on some of the conversations, I am impressed. The feedback is s accurate, helpful, and kind. This class has been together for months and they respect each other. A very necessary aspect of helpful feedback that opens doors for writers, rather than shutting them down.
In this corner of the room, I hear
Posted by Mary Carroll Moore at 12:34 PM
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Yet some writers go down this path and find it's not the be-all, end-all it's advertised. How can you evaluate such a huge step, especially if you are aiming to get a book published in this lifetime?
Posted by Mary Carroll Moore at 7:41 PM
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I like practically everything I've read of Bloom's work. I appreciate the intricate weavings she manages, and I often recommend her to students struggling with character and pacing.
There's a trend in publishing right now of such collections, sometimes called story cycles. Olive Kitteridge won much attention last year; it's a group of stories about a small town in Maine and a fierce retired schoolteacher. It's tricky to create a story cycle that keeps the reader engaged as well as a novel, leaving us wanting to dive into the next chapter without hesitation once we finish one story. Short stories by their nature are complete in themselves. But a story cycle must release some of that finished feel and create a whole-book rhythm.
In Olive Kitteridge, author Elizabeth Strout stays with the traditional rules--a group of characters, a single place--which gives sense to the collection. Olive builds a strong emotional arc and can be looked at as a three-act structure without much difficulty. Act 1 sets the stage for
Posted by Mary Carroll Moore at 11:33 AM
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Jan was not a close friend, but she was a person I admired. She was intensely creative, a quilter and artist, and I liked how her creativity seeped onto everything she touched. I felt privileged to know her.
She and I had lunch about six months before she died, quite suddenly, of cancer. She survived treatments for breast cancer, was dealing with bone cancer, and carried a cane. We met for lunch in a restaurant called the Good Earth, and each of us ordered a big salad. I remember how Jan's cane hung across the back of her chair; I remember how its silver tip caught the overhead lights.
Posted by Mary Carroll Moore at 3:00 PM
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Writing Outside Your Story: Using Short Self-Assignments When You Don't Have Anything to Write About
Working on a book project often brings me a sense of being so overwhelmed, I can't think of anything to write about. I make brainstorming lists of topics, and this helps. But sometimes I have to write outside my story, just to get the momentum going again.
Short self-assignments help tremendously.
In her book, Thunder and Lightning, Goldberg told the story of a time when she and a friend were stuck, unhappy, and unable to think of how to move forward creatively. They tried talking. They tried taking a hike. But nothing worked until they both sat down and did a timed writing session. As I remember the anecdote, they picked a topic outside their current writing projects, something that had less importance or weight, and this freed up the stuckness.
Posted by Mary Carroll Moore at 10:40 AM