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Archive for July 2013

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Literary Agent Stéphanie Abou, of Foundry Literary + Media.

Today's Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Stéphanie Abou. It's really threefold. First, Stéphanie says that sometimes, when you're stuck, it's best to gnaw at it for a while. Second, she recommends trying Proust's famous pastiche: when you get sick of your writing and you feel stuck, read a classic work and then write a paragraph or a page "in the voice of" that author, imitating that other voice. There's no pressure, because it's just to get you unstuck; you're not trying to access your own voice as much as do an exercise to get the world spinning again, get out of your own head. And then third, go back to writing pages about your character that aren't pretty or voice driven. Even just a bulleted list: she's 5'6" - brunette - she has brown eyes - she had a messed-up childhood. Going back like this will help you know your character better. What's her favorite color? Her favorite music? If you don't know your character well enough, the reader will pick up on it. So do this exercise, not necessarily to use in the work, but to better familiarize yourself with the person you're writing about.
G
ood 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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Poet Jenny Mary Brown, Editor-in-Chief of New South, Georgia State University’s journal of art and literature.

Today's Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Jenny Mary Brown. It's a prompt that was, in turn, suggested to her by her friend, the poet Christine Swint.

Choose a poem by one of the great old poets and type it into your computer. After you've typed it, go line by line and respond with your own original line. Delete the old poem's lines as you go. This is a useful process to learn someone's rhythms. Christine did it once with one of Roethke's greenhouse poems, one where he is on top of the greenhouse. Her poem ended up being about looking down at something from a great height.

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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Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea, whose tenth collection of poems, I Was Thinking of Beauty, is now available from Four Way Books. Skyhorse Publishing has just published A North Country Life: Tales of Woodsmen, Waters and Wildlife. This interview is also available to watch, thanks to production by RETN, the Regional Educational Technology Network in Burlington, VT.


Today's Write The Book Prompt is to write a poem that involves a recollection of an old friend, and a reaction to the natural world.
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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2013 Interview with the writer Abby Frucht, whose collection of stories, The Bell at the End of a Rope, is new from Narrative Library.

Today's Write The Book Prompt was mentioned by my guest, Abby Frucht, during our interview. You may recall that when we spoke, she said that she will ask new students to read the opening line or lines of a story, and then to use those lines to "project the objects, events, circumstances, characters, techniques, perspectives ... structural inclinations, anything that will take place over the course of the story." So today's prompt is to do this. Read the opening lines of a story - not one of your own, of course - and make a list of these story elements for which you might see the opening lines laying the groundwork. Then put down your list of gleaned ideas, read the full story, and see how the piece of fiction emerges from those early sentences. Don't look at this as a test of your ability to predict the story, but to understand how that author uses the early sentences to lead the reader into the story. In our interview, Abby said that the first lines have both the responsibility and the privilege of that introduction -- they lay down the clues about how the rest of the story might be drawn.

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 bestselling Vermont author Chris Bohjalian about his 2010 book, Secrets of Eden. Chris's latest novel, The Light in the Ruins, comes out July 8th, at the start of his Rock and Roll Book Tour with Vermont author Stephen Kiernan.

Today's Write The Book Prompt is inspired by Chris Bohjalian’s newest novel, The Light in the Ruins, which is described on his website - among other things - as a story of moral paradox. This week, write about a moral paradox.

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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