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Archive for November 2009

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Interview with Scott Russell Sanders, author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction. His latest is  A Conservationist Manifesto, published by Indiana University Press.

Prompt: Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the work of my guest, Scott Russell Sanders. The excerpt he read from his new book, A Conservationist Manifesto, is really intended for two audiences. Here's some of what he said as he introduced the pages he read during our interview:

What I try to do ... is tell [the children of the future] what I have loved, what I have valued about the earth during my time alive ... and also what my hopes for them are... At the same time, ... I'm speaking of course to the contemporary reader ... and inviting the present reader to think about the effects of our lives on the prospects for future children.

As you write in the coming week, consider your audience. Who will read your words and how would you like your work to impact those people? Do you want the reactions of your audience to affect the way you write, or would you rather just put words on paper, tell your story, convey your ideas? If you're writing an essay, as Scott Russell Sanders did in writing "For The Children," you may well want to think about your audience ahead of time. If you're writing a poem, reacting to the world around you in a personal way, you may be less inclined to worry about how your reader will react. In either case, this bears consideration. Who will read your work, how will they react, and is that important to the process of creation itself?

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

Readings by Scott Russell Sanders, from A Conservationist Manifesto (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009). Copyright © 2009 by Scott Russell Sanders. Recorded with permission.

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 Elaine Sopchak, former owner of the Book Rack and Children's Pages and founder of Vermont Voices Marketing Firm.

Prompt: Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the work of my guest, Elaine Sopchak, former owner of the sadly now-closed independent bookstore, The Book Rack and Children's Pages. Next time you're in a book store, pay attention to how things are laid out. Why is the children's section where it is? Where is fiction? Is there a tactical reason for its placement in the store? How about nonfiction? Is it all together, or is it placed in groups by theme: history, biography, science, memoir? Are there special displays, and if so, what's featured? What kind of poetry selection does the store have? Does it carry the books you want?

Here's the writing prompt part of this excursion. Notice what books you pick up as you wander the store. What catches your eye? Author reputation? Jacket cover? Title? When you turn the book over in your hands, does your interest build or lessen? Why? What, specifically, is drawing you to each work? Think about your own writing then. Will it draw readers like you? Do you want it to? If so, does anything need to change in the way you're approaching your work? This exercise has two goals. One, to reacquaint us with the hard work that is accomplished by booksellers. And two, to remind us about what it is that draws us, at first glance, to the books we love.

Good luck with this prompt, and please listen in two weeks 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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