Archive for the 'Magical Realism' Category

A new interview with the author Mohsin Hamid, whose latest novel is The Last White Man (Riverhead). 

This week’s Write the Book Prompt is to write about a drastic change in a character’s life - even something unlikely or impossible - that changes their world in some way, bringing both difficulty and relief. 

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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Author Steven Wingate, whose new novel is Of Fathers and Fire (Univ. of Nebraska Press - Flyover Fiction). 

This week’s Write the Book Prompt was generously suggested by my guest, Steven Wingate. He calls it “The Endless Sentence,” and it is designed as both a loosening up exercise and a means of exploration. It requires only a timer and your favorite writing implement (analog or digital). You simply set your timer for five minutes and start writing, and everything is allowed except one single punctuation mark: the period. Steven explains that writers rely on periods instinctively to separate thoughts from each other. If our thoughts feel like they’re getting too uncontrolled or scraggly, we end one sentence and start another. But if you take that tool away from yourself, you’re forced to keep flying through your thoughts with less control than you’re used to. Steven argues that this is a good thing because it means freedom—which is essential, especially early on in a project when you’re looking for a narrator’s (or character’s) voice. When you remove the period, you slip beneath your own radar and do things that surprise yourself. This can lead you to a new understanding of characters and settings, or maybe even to self-standing flash pieces with intriguing musical or formal features (e.g., lists or recurring verbal motifs). Try this especially when you’re feeling stuck or when a writing day hasn’t gone according to plan.

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

Music: Aaron Shapiro

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Author and Goddard College Professor Laurie Foos, whose novel The Blue Girl came out in July from Coffee House Press

This week's Write the Book Prompt was generously offered to Gary Lee Miller by his guest, Laurie Foos. It’s based on Gabriel Garcia Marquez's story, "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings." Several pages into the story, there are several lines that are suggestive of whole stories (beyond that of the man with enormous wings). Write a story based on one of the following: a woman (or man) who since childhood has been counting his/her heartbeats and has run out of numbers; a man /women who can't sleep because the noise of the stars disturbs him/her; a sleepwalker who gets up at night to undo the things he/she has done while awake.

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

Music credits: "I Could Write a Book," by the Boston-based band, Possum.

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