Friday, July 24, 2015

Three "Lures" to Attract Stronger Theme in Your Fiction and Memoir

Tomorrow I will be at one of my favorite writing havens--the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis--teaching a room full of writers about theme.  How it emerges from your work, almost without you knowing.  How it connects to authentic voice. 

Especially:  How theme revealed by certain elements in your story.

I thought it would be fun to give a tiny taste of those elements, in case you live far from the Twin Cities (or even the U.S.) and won't be joining us.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Satisfaction versus Hunger: Two Pivots in Our Stories and How to Toggle Between Them to Keep the Writing Fresh

Good discussion this week in one of my online writing classes:  Bored with her story, a writer asked:  "How do I keep my own interest in my book?  Without reinventing the plot every five minutes?  How can I keep my writing fresh for me, first?"

Smart woman.  She knew that her own boredom with her chapters would soon translate into boring writing.  Right now, it might just be an overactive Inner Critic.  Soon, her blahs would indeed translate to the page.

We toggle between two pivots as we write a book.  When things are clicking along, the writing going well, it's easy to fall into complacency.  A kind of satisfaction or contentment.  Like in life, too much of that becomes boredom.

Friday, July 10, 2015

It's All about Showing Up with Your Real Self: What Keeps Us Away from Our Authentic Creativity?

One of my favorite books to shake myself out of creative slumps is a thin little volume called Creative Authenticity.  Author Ian Roberts covers a vast landscape in just 175 pages:  essays on the search for beauty, craft and voice, the dance of avoidance, methods for working.  I especially like his tips on when to recognize that moment when you're ready to "show"--to put your work out into the world. 

Roberts's passion:  the nature of authenticity in art.  How do we find and develop our real voice?  What happens when we shy away from our emerging authenticity?  Why are we so afraid of this authenticity?

I recently took a voice lesson from a master teacher.  I wanted to give my spouse a birthday gift of a lesson but I decided to take one too.  I speak for a living, I sing for pleasure, and I'm curious about my voice and what it reveals about me.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weeding through the Mass and the Mess: Making Sense of Your First Draft

A reader from New York has been working hard on her first draft of a novel for over a year.  First drafts aren't easy.  Initially they require sitting down and writing a lot.  Not necessarily from chapter 1 to The End, but a lot of scenes need to accumulate.  This is the benefit of writing classes, writing marathons, and writing practice.  This is why Nanowrimo (National Novel Writer's Month) is so popular.  You can accumulate pages toward this first draft.