Interview with Xu Xi, writer of short stories, novels, essays, and a new "quirky" memoir. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Xu Xi. She recommends borrowing an idea from jazz improvisation. Look at what Xu Xi calls, “the facts of the fiction,” and pick something to work with. Improvise on it the way a musician might riff on a theme in music. See if the changes you come up with take the work in another direction. In the case of the novel Xu Xi read from in this interview, what if Gail’s child and his grandmother aren’t killed on page one, but later in the book? What if that phone conversation she remembers having with her son is a scene in the novel rather than a recollection? Or the other way around. What if a scene in your book COULD be a recollection. Might that make more sense? Move things around, riff on the facts in your fiction, and see what changes or comes unstuck. 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 South Burlington High School students)