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Archive for January 2010

Interview with Canadian Mystery Writer Louise Penny.

Prompt: Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the work of my guest, Louise Penny. In her latest novel, The Brutal Telling, published by Minotaur Books, a division of the St. Martin's Publishing Group, Louise Penny employs the literary device of the story within a story. In her book, this device serves to help set up who certain characters are, and what are their fears and temptations. Ultimately, the inner story carries weight that a reader might not have expected at the start of the book. Other reasons to use one or more stories within a story might be to entertain, to establish an unreliable narrator, to fill in background or history, or to establish relevant fables and legends that might influence characters. As you write this week, consider trying to involve a story within your story. If you're working on a novel, be careful not to digress so wildly from the main plot that you'll lose your reader. But, as an exercise, see if subtly weaving another story into the texture of your work might serve it in some useful way.

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

Readings by Louise Penny, from The Brutal Telling (New York: Minotaur Books, a division of the St. Martin's Publishing Group). Copyright © 2009 by Louise Penny. Recorded with permission from Minotaur Books.

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 Leslie Ullman.

Prompt:This week's Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Leslie Ullman, during our interview. She mentioned this exercise-the poetic inversion-twice during our talk. Take a poem that strikes you in some way-it can be a poem of yours or one by another writer-read it through a couple of times, and then jot down casually, phrase by phrase, opposites to something in the poem. Use the work as a starting point only, writing opposites that occur to you as you read each line. Then put the exercise aside. Look at it later, and see what's coming at you. Do this without any expectations, but just to see what comes of trying to create an inversion of the original poem.

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)

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Interview with author of fiction and nonfiction, Lawrence Sutin. His latest book is When To Go Into The Water: A Novel.

Prompt: This week's Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Lawrence Sutin. Describe your opposite. On paper, as an exercise, describe your personal opposite: whatever that means to you. Whether it means gender, age, psychology, physicality. Write in vivid detail a human being who, in your sense of things, is absolutely opposite to yourself.

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)

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Interview with poet and author of fiction and nonfiction, David Huddle. This interview from the archives was the first show aired on Write The Book, back in March 2008.

Prompt: This week's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by my guest, David Huddle. In his essay, Issues Of Character, which appears in his book, The Writing Habit (published by The University Press of New England) he suggests six ways to bring a character to life in a story. They are: Information, Physical Appearance, Thoughts and Feelings, Actions, Sensory Experience, and Speech. He fills an entire essay with helpful explanations of what he means and examples of fine characterizations, but at the very least, the list itself may be of help to a writer who is stuck, trying to build a character. So, as you write this week, focus on your weakest character, and see if you might improve on his or her presentation on the page by studying the information, physical appearance, thoughts and feelings, actions, sensory experience, and speech that you, as the writer, have provided to the reader about this character.

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)

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