Archive for the 'Technology' Category

An interview with Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jennifer Egan about her new novel The Candy House (Scribner).

This week’s Write the Book Prompt was generously suggested by my guest, Jennifer Egan—an exercise she assigns her students that she says has been helpful. Imagine yourself in a physical place, such as a room that you know well from an earlier point of your life. Describe what is to your left. What’s to the right? Is there a drawer open? What's inside the drawer? Move through the space mentally, looking in every direction, looking out the window and under the rugs. The second part of the prompt is to write about who comes into the space and what they do or say. Because physical spaces lead to people,  and quickly. Jennifer says the real wonder of this is to see how much detail we retain. And it’s also a way of defying the fragmentation of memory. If we imagine ourselves in a space, how much we can recall about tiny particulars of that place? And then who comes in, and what are they moved to do there?

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 the author Vikram Chandra about his nonfiction book, Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty (Graywolf Press). 

This week’s Write the Book Prompt is to include a few (let's say three) of the following items together in a story, scene, poem, or essay: 

  • a dock fender for a boat
  •  the bow of a violin
  • a leaky pen
  • a basketball hoop
  • an Apple II Computer

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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An interview with two Vermont Authors: Chris Tebbetts (1st Case, Little Brown) and Margot Harrison (The Glare, Little Brown).  

This week we have two Write the Book Prompts, thanks to the generosity of my guests. Margot suggests that if you have a character-- perhaps an antagonist or a supporting character you’re not doing justice to because you don’t understand what is motivating them--do some free writing from the point of view of that character and have them explain themselves: give their backstory and explain why they are doing what they are doing in the story and what feelings are driving them. 

Chris suggests a warm up exercise: people balk at this, but end up enjoying it. Write a passage using only words of four letters or less. The artful writing that you can come up with under that duress can be very satisfying. 

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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Bestselling novelist Dean Koontz, whose new book, The Silent Corner (Bantam) marks the start of his new suspense series, featuring FBI agent gone rogue, Jane Hawk.

This week’s Write the Book Prompt is inspired by the conversation you just heard with Dean Koontz. Early in Dean’s new book, the reader encounters this definition of the term Silent Corner: “Those who are truly off the grid and cannot be tracked by any technology, yet are able to move about freely and use the Internet, are said to be in the silent corner.” Think about how much of our activity is tracked;  ATM and debit cards, credit cards, GPS technology, security cameras, and smart phones are all eminently capable of tracking our actions and movements.

How do you feel about that? Does it make you feel at risk, or safe? Write a short story, an essay, or a poem using your reaction to this phenomenon as a starting point.

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

Music Credit: Aaron Shapiro

 

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