Archive for the 'Mysteries' Category

Interview with Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher.

Prompt: This week’s Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the interview you heard today. Howard Frank Mosher mentioned during our talk that he had twice, in the course of writing his new book, Walking To Gatlinburg, asked his wife Phyllis to cast and read Nordic runes as a helpful form of inspiration. He did this partly because Phyllis was studying runes at the time, and partly because runes were the inspiration for the Kingdom Mountain pictographs that play a role in his new book. This week's Write The Book Prompt, then, is to cast runes. For help in understanding how to do this, try these websites (or Google "Nordic Runes," and see if you find other references):

http://www.ehow.com/how_5830139_make-own-rune-set.html

http://www.runemaker.com/casting.shtml

Set yourself a question or problem that you'd like to resolve in your work, and let the runes offer suggestions. These could inspire a course of action for your character, for yourself, for the plot, or for the structure of the project. Keep your mind open and see what presents itself.

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 author Kathryn Davis.

Prompt: This week’s Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the interview you heard today with novelist Kathryn Davis. To avoid getting stuck and maintain her interest in an ongoing project, Kathryn said she does two main things. First, she does not read over what she’s written at the end of a given writing session; she waits and reads that work when she next sits down to write. Second, as she finishes each writing session, she winds down by allowing herself to free write for a page or so. This encourages thoughts and ideas that might have been deterred by her more focused or controlled thought process as she was working. She mentioned that useful ideas often come out of this end-of-day free writing. The next time you write, try these two strategies. First, do not allow yourself to read over your work when you finish writing at the end of a given day. Wait until your next writing session. And second, spend five or ten minutes free writing after a regular, disciplined writing session, and see what fresh, useful and relevant ideas might result.

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 literary agent Janet Reid, of FinePrint Literary Management.

Today's Write The Book Prompt is to write a query letter. It should be a single page long. And according to Janet Reid, it should be "as well written, and carefully thought out as you can make it." Avoid hyperbole and cliche. Avoid the expression: my book is about. If you query by snail mail, always include an SASE: that's self-addressed stamped envelope. ALWAYS include your email address and phone number on the query letter. And address the letter to a specific agent, not to a long list of names in an email. And not to Agent, as in, "Dear Agent." And be sure to check out Janet Reid's excellent chart, What You Need Before You Query as well as her second website, Query Shark.

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 latest book, Secrets of Eden.

Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the work of my guest, Chris Bohjalian. As we discussed in the interview, Chris allowed one of his narrators, Katie Hayward, to have a point of view about something she hadn't witnessed, that is, her parents having danced lovingly at a wedding. Katie relays details about this moment by way of a home movie she's seen of the dance.

This week, experiment with unusual ways to let your characters narrate events they may not have first-hand knowledge of. Let a father find a note that his daughter wrote to her boyfriend. Let the detective overhear a conversation in the washroom. Give that philandering husband have a frightening and possibly prophetic dream. Or, as Chris did, share an event with your narrator by way of a reasonably reliable video recording.

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 Canadian Mystery Writer Louise Penny.

Prompt: Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the work of my guest, Louise Penny. In her latest novel, The Brutal Telling, published by Minotaur Books, a division of the St. Martin's Publishing Group, Louise Penny employs the literary device of the story within a story. In her book, this device serves to help set up who certain characters are, and what are their fears and temptations. Ultimately, the inner story carries weight that a reader might not have expected at the start of the book. Other reasons to use one or more stories within a story might be to entertain, to establish an unreliable narrator, to fill in background or history, or to establish relevant fables and legends that might influence characters. As you write this week, consider trying to involve a story within your story. If you're working on a novel, be careful not to digress so wildly from the main plot that you'll lose your reader. But, as an exercise, see if subtly weaving another story into the texture of your work might serve it in some useful way.

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

Readings by Louise Penny, from The Brutal Telling (New York: Minotaur Books, a division of the St. Martin's Publishing Group). Copyright © 2009 by Louise Penny. Recorded with permission from Minotaur Books.

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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