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Archive for April 28th 2009

Interview with novelist, essayist and short story writer Castle Freeman, Jr.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Castle Freeman, Jr. When he has gotten stuck in the past, Castle has tried this exercise to restart or rededicate himself as a writer. Take a very simple story, such as a fairy tale, a sequence of events, a dream or something that’s happened to you, and write a narrative of it. Get yourself in a frame of mind where you can go back to your roots as a writer. Keep it to two or three pages, and write very slowly, one word at a time, one sentence at a time. Write as though you’ve never written anything before; as though no one has ever written anything before. Set aside all that you think you know about the story itself and about writing. As Castle says, “Get a real fresh start, just for that little space.”

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion: Keep up on what's happening with Write The Book through two new sites: the blog and the twitter page! Check them out: http://writethebook.wordpress.com/ and http://twitter.com/writethebook

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

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Interview with poet Rauan Klassnik.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Rauan Klassnik. Rauan uses an iPod to shuffle his own thoughts (recorded as audio files), as well as excerpts from television and radio, in order to generate ideas for his poetry. If you don’t have an iPod, or prefer to work on paper, follow the exercise as Rauan explained it to me: Turn on your radio or TV. As you hear a song or conversation, randomly write down either what you hear or what it brings to mind. (If you write down someone else’s actual words, change the phrase later or put it in quotes in your poem.) Now change the channel and do the same thing again.  Do this six or seven or maybe ten times. Fill a page of paper. Then do that three or four or five times over, writing in blocks of text.  Then rework those blocks. Juggle the order around, change things, add things. When you need a change, skip to the second page and start doing it there. Work in batches. You can work with sound files and an iPod, set to shuffle, if you know how to use that technology to help you. But that’s not necessary. The exercise works just fine on the computer, using the cut and paste function, or with old fashioned paper and pen. This won’t necessarily result in a finished poem, but it’s a useful exercise for generating ideas and getting started.

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

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Unfortunately, due to a glitch, last week’s re-broadcast of an interview with David Budbill did not air. Please tune in this week and listen to a conversation with poet Rauan Klassnik. I'll re-schedule the  Budbill re-broadcast at a later date! Thanks.

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Interview with novelist and fiction editor of the journal Ploughshares, Margot Livesey.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is inspired by my guest, Margot Livesey. If you’re unsure how to proceed with a scene in a work of fiction, write from the perspective of an off-screen participant, someone who does not and will not have a narrative perspective in your work but might, given the chance, help you to see something you’ve been missing. As Margot pointed out, had she been stuck trying to write the scene between Cameron, her point-of-view character, and Davey, his friend, she might have written a letter from Davey to Cameron, simply to see what Davey would say about him and about the state of their friendship. Even if she weren’t planning to use the letter in her novel, the exercise of writing it, and approaching Cameron from Davey’s perspective, could be helpful in discovering how to move forward.

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

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