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Archive for March 2013

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Australian novelist Poppy Gee, author of Bay of Fires, published by Reagan Arthur, an imprint of Little Brown.

Today I have two Write The Book Prompts to offer, both suggested by my guest, Poppy Gee. The first is to use the sense of smell in your work. If you write fiction, introduce a smell that can make your character think about or notice something specific. Poppy's second suggestion for a fiction writer who is stuck is to write four statements about your character in scene: the first three should be statements of action, and the fourth should be an emotional statement. So for example:

Helen walked the long way to work. She turned her ankle in the second block. Her ankle was really throbbing by the time she arrived. She wondered if she might have sprained it and worried it would be impossible to walk back home later.

Poppy says that, despite their simplicity, writing very basic statements like this will often ground her in scene and help her get started.

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

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

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This week's show has two parts. First, an interview with Mohsin Hamid, author of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, published by Riverhead. And then a smorgasbord of interviews with journal editors with whom I spoke at the AWP Conference in Boston. I asked what they were looking for in submissions, or what news they had to share with writers. These are the journals whose booths I visited. You can visit their websites by clicking on any one: Hunger Mountain, Redivider, Agni, Hotel Amerika, Columbia Poetry Review, Story South, Cave Wall, Ninth Letter, The Mom EggAdanna Literary Journal, Sonora ReviewSolstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices, Mid-American Review, Rathalla Review, Philadelphia Stories, Ploughshares, The Sun, Green Mountains Review, Memorious, New England Review, Florida Review, Barnstorm Literary Journal, The Cincinnati ReviewThe Baltimore Review, The Saint Ann's Review, iO, Triquarterly, The Missouri Review, and Upstreet.

Today's Write The Book Prompt is to write a story, poem, or essay in the second person.

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

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An interview from the archives with  Scott Russell Sanders, author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including A Conservationist Manifesto and Earth Works, his latest, published in 2012 by Indiana University Press. This show originally ran in two parts, but here is available as a single podcast lasting almost an hour and a half.

Today's Write The Book Prompt is inspired by a writing conference I went to at the end of last week and over the weekend: AWP 2013, which took place in Boston. AWP stands for Associated Writing Programs. In the time I've been going to the meeting, every couple years for the past ten years or so, attendance has exploded. This year they had some 11,000 writers show up. That's a lot of writers, and they need a LOT of space. So there's crowd control to think about, and which panels and workshops and readings are of most interest to you, social concerns, like What-again-is-the-name-of-that-guy-who's-walking-over-here-and-where-do-I-know-him-from? There will be dietary concerns, like do you have time to stand in that long line for a cup of coffee and a cookie, and if you do, will you not be able to get a seat in the How-I-got-my-book- reviewed-by-Oprah panel? There's the issue of having to sit for long periods of time on maybe not the most comfortable seats. But then there are the great things: seeing old friends, learning new things, returning home energized to write! So this week's prompt is to write a poem, a story, an essay or a personal narrative about some experience you've either had or can imagine having at a conference. It can be any kind of conference or meeting or reunion - whatever inspires you to write.

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

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Short story writer and novelist Moira Crone, whose latest book is The Not Yet, published by University of New Orleans Press and one of seven on the ballot for the Philip K. Dick Award - Best Paperback Original Science Fiction Novel of the Year (winner to be announced in late March 2013).

Click here to see artwork inspired by The Not Yet.

Today I have several Write The Book Prompts to offer, suggested by my guest, Moira Crone.

Conventional Fiction Prompts:

After he stopped her from jumping ...

I remember ...

I will never forget ...

Speculative Fiction Prompts:

Since there was no more religion, he decided to ...

Once the sky had smashed into smithereens, she ...

She read his arm to see where he was headed ...

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

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

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