Archive for October 2021

Vermont Author Michael Freed-Thall, whose debut novel is Horodno Burning (Rootstock).

Consider this Write the Book Prompt, inspired by my conversation with Michael: try using history as a frame from which to hang your characters in writing a story, poem, essay or longer piece. As you work, be sure you are accurately rendering the historical period, researching the industry, technology, customs, and events of the period. 

Good luck with your work in the coming week, and tune in next week for another prompt or suggestion.

Music Credit: Aaron Shapiro

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Vermont Author Melissa Perley, whose 2019 book The Violin Family (Rootstock) was recently named a winner in the Children’s Category of the 2021 Indie Reader Discovery Awards.

Here's a musical Write the Book Prompt: listen to a piece of music and try to describe it in your work. It's harder than it sounds! 

Good luck with your work in the coming week, and tune in next week for another prompt or suggestion.

Music Credit: Aaron Shapiro

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A conversation from the archives with Vermont author and former president of Vermont College of Fine Arts, Thomas Christopher Greene, about his novel The Headmaster's Wife (Thomas Dunne). 

On Friday, at a football game in Burlington High School's stadium, community members were treated to a very special halftime show featuring many students and teachers appearing in drag. According to The Washington Post, and yes, this was covered by The Washington Post, the idea came from Andrew LeValley, an English teacher and alliance adviser at the school. He is quoted as saying, “I was just really hoping to give our students — who are both out and the students that were in the stands who are not out — a moment to shine and feel loved, and know that there is a place for them in public schools.” I loved reading this story, both the spirit behind the event and the support with which the performance was met. This week’s Write the Book Prompt is to write about someone who wears clothing that is new to them and perhaps makes a statement about who they are or how they are feeling. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about dressing in drag, though that would be great. Also, though, a costume, a uniform, a borrowed outfit. What is the backstory? How does the person feel, dressed up in a new way? Do people notice? How do they react? Is there any consequence or change that comes about as a result?

Good luck with your work in the coming week, and tune in next week for another prompt or suggestion.

Music Credit: Aaron Shapiro

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Award-winning author Donald Antrim, whose new memoir is One Friday in April: A Story of Suicide and Survival (Norton).

In presenting his viewpoint that suicide is a disease, Donald Antrim experiments early in the book with a presentation of labels and names for mental illness. As you heard in the interview, this list begins, “Depression, hysteria, melancholia, nervousness, neurosis…” and goes on for nearly two pages. This week’s Write the Book Prompt is to use a list of words in an interesting way to make a point. Perhaps you are writing about the foliage season. Might it be interesting to present a running list of trees and bushes that offer brilliant color in the fall: maple, oak, elm, hackberry, white birch, larch, tamarack, hazelnut. What could you do to make such a list both interesting, as poetic sound, and evocative? How might you then transition back into your text to continue making your point?

Good luck with your work in the coming week, and tune in next week for another prompt or suggestion.

Music Credit: Aaron Shapiro

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Award-winning director and playwright Lisa Peterson, who has penned a translation of Hamlet for the Play on Shakespeare project, a series published by ACMRS Press.

This week’s Write the Book Prompt is to choose a piece of your work and try to translate it for a different audience than it was originally intended. Change the language so that it might have made sense three hundred years ago. Or put it into words you could read to a child. Change it to appeal to someone from a different culture. If you are bilingual, translate it into another language.

Good luck with your work in the coming week, and tune in next week for another prompt or suggestion.

Music Credit: Aaron Shapiro

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