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Author Elena Delbanco, a co-founder of the Bennington Writing Workshops, whose debut novel, The Silver Swan, came out this spring from The Other Press


This week’s  Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Elena Delbanco. Write about a piece of music. This may sound easy, but it is not. Describing sound is difficult in much the same way that describing color or the quality of light can be difficult. Do you use metaphor? Do you rely on adjectives? But don’t rely too heavily, or the prose might be cumbersome for your reader. Try to convey the sound of the music, as well as the impact it has on the listener. Let your first try be clunky; don’t worry about it. Listen as you write. Maybe you’ll write unexpected words, nonsensical words. That’s fine. Go with that. See what happens. And later, revise.

Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several former South Burlington High School students).

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Interview from the archives with Vermont poet David Budbill. Subsequent to this conversation, David Budbill's Park Songs: A Poem/Play came out from Exterminating Angel Press in September 2012. A new book is expected next month. Perhaps he'll agree to come back on the show to talk about it.


Today's Write the Book Prompt is to allow an object to bring you into a setting. Imagine an object. For example, a bottle of lotion. Where is it sitting? Is it on a windowsill? Is that the kitchen windowsill? Does the person who lives in this house have the habit of rubbing lotion on her hands after she does the dishes? What is the rest of her kitchen like? And on and on. Begin with an object, focus on that to begin. Describe it. Pull back. What's next to it? And next to that? What colors are in the place? What furniture? Is there a trash can? Allow the first object to give way to others and, eventually, let yourself imagine an entire setting. 

Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several former South Burlington High School students).





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Interview from the archives with Wendy Call, writer, editor, translator and teacher. Author of No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy.

In fact, this week's live broadcast was with Vermont author Tammy Flanders Hetrick. But due to a strange set of circumstances, her podcast has been up for a couple weeks already. You can find it here

Public shaming has been in the news a lot lately. Even before the internet, shame and disgrace could be widespread and malignant. Just read The Scarlet Letter. This week's Write the Book Prompt is to write about a person who has been disgraced. Consider the reason for the disgrace. Has this person done something truly despicable? Or did he or she simply get caught looking foolish? Is the shaming mean-spirited, or does it come from a supposedly kind place. That "tough love" philosophy, for example. Does it get out of hand? How? Why? Why do crowds like a good public shaming? Are there larger lessons that can be conveyed subtly by writing about a person in this situation? 

Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several former South Burlington High School students).


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Write the Book's 351st episode (!) introduces Shelagh's new co-host, Gary Lee Miller, in an interview with Vermont author Sean Prentiss about his new book, Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave, published by University of New Mexico Press.


Sean Prentiss generously shared two Write the Book Prompts with Gary during their interview. The first is this: 

Find a piece of writing you love. Study it. What is the tone? What is the shape on the page? What is the title? How much dialogue is used? How are characters developed? What is the theme? Once you’ve studied the piece, then try to emulate it.  Write your own piece that mirrors or learns from the piece you love. Allow yourself to follow the original, but also to meander where you need. 

The second prompt for this week focuses on beginning and endings. If you have a draft of an essay, story or poem that you like but find yourself stuck with the beginning or ending, go ahead and add a second beginning or ending. Just tack it right on. Maybe start or end your piece with an overt idea, or start or end your piece with a scene that moves us to some new place or time. Or start with a powerful metaphoric image. This can be just the kind of writing play you need to get you where you want to go. 

Good luck with these exercises, and listen next week for another.

Music credits: I Could Write a Book by the Boston-based band, Possum.


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2011 interview from the archives with Seattle-based writer and teacher Priscilla Long. We discussed her wonderful book and writing resource, The Writer's Portable Mentor.


This week's Write the Book Prompt is to consider the word mentor. Have you ever had a mentor? Have you ever been a mentor to someone else? What have those relationships provided for you and the other person? Are you still in touch? Is the coaching/education/guidance ongoing, or was the mentorship a temporary situation? If you're no longer in touch, do you miss that other person? If you were the mentor, what did you get out of offering guidance to another? Consider all of these questions, and write.
Good luck with this exercise, and listen next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several former South Burlington High School students. 



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Vermont author Tammy Flanders Hetrick, whose new novel, Stella Rose, was published in April from She Writes Press.

This week’s  Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Tammy Flanders Hetrick. It’s essentially the idea that prompted her to write her novel, Stella Rose. Imagine knowing that you weren’t going to be there. Imagine having three months to prepare. Now write. 

Good luck with this prompt, and please listen next week for another.  

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Two interviews this week! The first, with former Williston Observer columnist, French-trained chef and memoirist Kim Dannies, whose new book is Everyday GourmetThe second, with best-selling author Sue Monk Kidd, whose book, The Invention of Wings, has just come out in paperback from Penguin.


This week’s Write The Book Prompt was generously suggested by my guest, Kim Dannies. Either use the following phrase for inspiration, or as a starting point: “He was slicing limes...” 

Good luck with this exercise, and listen next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several former South Burlington High School students. 

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Gary Lee Miller to Co-Host Write the Book Radio Show and Podcast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 22, 2015 Burlington, VT—Shelagh Connor Shapiro is happy to announce that Gary Lee Miller will be joining Write the Book Radio Show and Podcast as a co-host. “After producing the show on my own for seven years, I look forward to Gary’s contributions. He’s an excellent writer and reader, and I know he’ll bring his own style to the show. Listeners are in for a treat as Write the Book transitions into this next phase.” Gary’s first interview, a conversation with Vermont author Sean Prentiss (Finding Abbey) airs June 8th.

 

Write the Book Radio Show airs every Monday from 2-3 p.m. on WOMM-LP in Burlington ("The Radiator"). Write The Book features interviews with authors, poets, agents and editors for an audience of writers and curious readers. The show is also podcast and can be found on iTunes. Close to 300 interviews are archived on the podcast site: http://writethebook.podbean.com  Past guests include Howard Frank Mosher, Chris Bohjalian, Ann Patchett, Howard Norman, Sydney Lea, and Kate Atkinson. Write the Book guests often have a Vermont connection.

 

WOMM-LP - The Radiator - is a noncommercial low-power FM radio station located at Burlington College in Burlington, Vermont. A nonprofit listener-supported media center, The Radiator’s programming fosters community awareness and civic engagement; the station serves the surrounding community through locally oriented programming.

For more information please contact: Shelagh at writethebook@gmail.com or Gary at garygmiller@mac.com

Houston author Chris Cander, whose new novel is Whisper Hollow, published by The Other Press.


This week I’m offering you two  Write The Book Prompts, thanks to the generous suggestions of my guest, Chris Cander. She just participated in a literary showdown recently, at Brazos, her favorite local bookstore in Houston. The event was in honor of independent bookstore day. Four participating Houston-based novelists were given a prompt and had thirty minutes to create a story each. Chris is a fan of working under pressure, which she says helps a writer bypass self-censorship. The bookstore employees picked out a romance novel that had “Texas” in the title. They read the first page aloud, which was full of raw passion and prairie angst, as Chris puts it. The main character was fleeing a difficult and traumatic situation. So the challenge was to write a story that would expand upon that summarized trauma in detail. Chris says it was a great prompt with a rich, ripe setup. It was fun and funny, because there were no expectations. She says you could do anything with this. Pick a genre. If you write literary fiction, pick something pulpy; if you write mysteries, maybe pick a historical novel. Then spend 30 minutes turning a piece of it into something different. It can help to unblock you and it’s a lot of fun, particularly in a group.


Chris also has found this second prompt useful. Because confession had a large role to play in her book, Whisper Hollow, Chris offered herself the challenge of letting a character she was having trouble with write a confessional letter to see what that character would say, what information might emerge to help her push through.


Good luck with these prompts, and please listen next week for another.  

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Award-winning New Hampshire writer and Dartmouth professor Ernest Hebert, on the writing life and completing his series, The Darby Chronicles, published by UPNE.


This week’s  Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Ernest Hebert. He tells his students to take a page and draw a line down the middle. On one side, write one thing that you like about yourself (loyal to friends). On the right side, write something you don’t like about yourself (petty streak). Keep going. Fill the page. You don’t have to show anyone else. Just keep it for yourself. According to Ernie, in that language you will find all the characters you will ever need for a career in writing.

Good luck with this exercise, and listen next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several former South Burlington High School students. 

Listen Now:


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