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Archive for August 2011

Originally from Vermont, Award-Winning Author and Journalist Christian Parenti, whose latest book is Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence.

This week's Write the Book Prompt was inspired by my interview with Christian Parenti. Write a nonfiction article or essay - or even just a paragraph - on a subject about which you're passionate. This subject might be climate change, women's rights, the work of a nonprofit whose mission you admire, your local school budget, an examination of various diets and their effects on health... whatever matters to you. Try to include in the piece adequate historical perspective to help readers understand the background,  an explanation of any confluence of events that might have relevance to your subject, and - as Christian Parenti said - always be sure to keep in mind the larger issues or core ideas behind the details of your story. Don't forget to read and do your research, if you hope to put this out into the world.

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

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Interview from July 2009 with best-selling author Mary McGarry Morris, who has a new book coming out in September 2011.
Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the interview you heard today with Mary McGarry Morris, who says that when she's developing a character, she tries to think the way that character thinks and have empathy for that person, no matter how different he or she may be from herself.  This week's prompt, then, is to think of someone VERY unlike yourself. How would you represent that person's character? What sorts of thoughts might you have? How would you speak? What might you be afraid of? What might you desire? Who would you like or dislike? What secrets might YOU be trying to hide? Stay open to that person's perspective, no matter how strange or violent or dishonorable or meek. Maintaining empathy for the full range of human possibility will benefit the development of your character in the long run.

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 from the archives (July 2009) with Sue William Silverman, author of Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You; Love Sick: One Woman's Journey Through Sexual Addiction; and Fearless Confessions: A Guide to Writing Memoir.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt comes from my guest, Sue William Silverman, who included it in her new book on craft, Fearless Confessions. Recall a photograph from childhood, or dig one out of an old album. Write a paragraph about it using the voice and sensibility of who you were when the photograph was taken. Then, write a paragraph about it through the voice and sensibility of who you are now. Next, write a third paragraph that combines the perspectives of the first two: a paragraph that speaks in both the Voice of Innocence and the Voice of Experience. 

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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Vermont Novelist Jennifer McMahon, author of the new book, Don't Breathe A Word.

This week's Write the Book Prompt was suggested by my guest Jennifer McMahon, in whose books, secrets play an important role. Jennifer says that when she's stuck working on character, she'll often do an exercise in which she asks a character: "What have you never told anyone?" The answers she comes up with sometimes surprise her. If you're work doesn't involve character, then pose the question to yourself. What have you never told anyone?

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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Award-winning Crime and Mystery Author Megan Abbott, whose latest novel is The End of Everything.

This week's Write the Book Prompt was suggested by my guest Megan Abbot. Select a long paragraph from a favorite book-Megan mentioned doing this with a section from the Great Gatsby-break it down and look at the sentence structure. Then rewrite the paragraph, keeping only each word's part of speech. Create a paragraph that works within a project of yours, trying to adhere (at least at first) to the original flow. You can change it in revision to work within your piece. But doing this first will bring out a new cadence or rhythm.

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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