Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Interview with Vermont Children's Book Author and Illustrator Sarah Dillard.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was inspired by my guest’s perfect character, Arugula! and by the writer Anne Lamott, who views perfectionism as “the oppressor.” In her book Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Lamott writes, “perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force.” She goes on to say, “Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground—you can still discover new treasures under all these piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.” As you work this week, try not to be perfect. Try not to be tidy. Aim for mess, clutter and fabulous chaos. Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another.

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion: Keep up on what’s happening with Write The Book through two new sites: the blog and the twitter page. Check them out: http://writethebook.wordpress.com/ and http://twitter.com/writethebook

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Vermont children's novelist Kimberly K. Jones.

Prompt: Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by my guest, Kimberly K. Jones, who said that she works to better understand characters she’s having trouble with. If possible, she tries to find some point of connection between herself and a character she may find unlikable, one with whom she doesn’t feel like spending her time.

With this in mind, today’s prompt has to do with getting to know characters better, understanding who they are and what motivates them. First, think of a person about whom you aren’t writing, someone you know very well. Make a quick list of twenty characteristics specific to that person. He takes a walk at 6 every morning. He hates raisins and will pick them out of his food. He has a terrible fear of cats. Etc. When you’ve finished your list, go back and write a question relevant to your own fiction that might be answered by each of the points you’ve just made. Does your character exercise? Where and when? Is your character picky? Are there foods she won’t eat? Is your character an animal person? Might she have a great number of a certain kind of pet, or is there the chance she’d cross the road to avoid one kind of animal? Where was your character raised? Has she ever lost anyone close to her? How did that affect her? Then go through and answer these questions. Let each one raise new questions, if possible. Really get to know your character better. Perhaps she’s not likable because she lost her cousin and best friend as a child and has never again found someone to confide in. Even if that’s not the point of your story, the information can be there, behind the work, informing your writing and helping you find the point of connection that allows you to move forward with this character.

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion: Keep up on what’s happening with Write The Book through two new sites: the blog and the twitter page. Check them out: http://writethebook.wordpress.com/ and http://twitter.com/writethebook

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Vermont novelist Jim DeFilippi.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Jim DeFilippi, who suggests trying what he calls “a George V. Higgins.” Rather than writing a particular scene head on, perhaps let the reader find out about an event in a secondhand way. Two characters who know what happened can talk about it after the fact, filling in detail and background through dialogue. Jim cautions that the scene should not entail one person recounting for the other what happened, but that the two characters should both understand the event and have a conversation that, in turn, informs the reader.

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion: Keep up on what's happening with Write The Book through two new sites: the blog and the twitter page. Check them out: http://writethebook.wordpress.com/ and http://twitter.com/writethebook

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with author of fiction and nonfiction, and director of the University of Iowa nonfiction program, Robin Hemley.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Robin Hemley, who has had great success using this exercise in his classes. Write about the first kitchen you can remember. Close your eyes. Spend about 15 minutes taking a mental tour. Go through the cupboards and the refrigerator, see the sink, look at the ceiling and the floor. What people can you recall seeing in that kitchen. What conversations did you hear or take part in? What smells do you remember? Do this slowly. If at all possible, consider trying this exercise in a group. Nominate someone to offer prompts to the others, working slowly and helping them to think of those not-quite-lost bits of memory that might send you in a new direction or enrich whatever you’re already working on.

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion: Keep up on what's happening with Write The Book through two new sites: the blog and the twitter page. Check them out: http://writethebook.wordpress.com/ and http://twitter.com/writethebook

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with international consultant and environmental journalist, Laurel Neme, Ph.D., author of Animal Investigators.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was inspired by my guest, Laurel Neme. She mentioned her interest in keeping a scrapbook of milestones toward her success as an author, with letters of support from readers and mentors. She feels that having such a book to look at and reflect on could be a helpful tool down the road, when she might be stuck or even disheartened while working on a future project. So here’s your assignment for the week: as you work on a new project, consider keeping a journal of thoughts and ideas devoted exclusively to that particular endeavor. When  you reach a level of success with that work, turn the journal into a scrapbook. Keep mementos about the project in its pages. And keep in mind, a collection of rejections might well be followed by a single, important acceptance. Keep them all. Down the road, they might become equally motivating as you begin new projects.

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion: Keep up on what's happening with Write The Book through two new sites: the blog and the twitter page! Check them out: http://writethebook.wordpress.com/ and http://twitter.com/writethebook

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with novelist, essayist and short story writer Castle Freeman, Jr.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Castle Freeman, Jr. When he has gotten stuck in the past, Castle has tried this exercise to restart or rededicate himself as a writer. Take a very simple story, such as a fairy tale, a sequence of events, a dream or something that’s happened to you, and write a narrative of it. Get yourself in a frame of mind where you can go back to your roots as a writer. Keep it to two or three pages, and write very slowly, one word at a time, one sentence at a time. Write as though you’ve never written anything before; as though no one has ever written anything before. Set aside all that you think you know about the story itself and about writing. As Castle says, “Get a real fresh start, just for that little space.”

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion: Keep up on what's happening with Write The Book through two new sites: the blog and the twitter page! Check them out: http://writethebook.wordpress.com/ and http://twitter.com/writethebook

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with poet Rauan Klassnik.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Rauan Klassnik. Rauan uses an iPod to shuffle his own thoughts (recorded as audio files), as well as excerpts from television and radio, in order to generate ideas for his poetry. If you don’t have an iPod, or prefer to work on paper, follow the exercise as Rauan explained it to me: Turn on your radio or TV. As you hear a song or conversation, randomly write down either what you hear or what it brings to mind. (If you write down someone else’s actual words, change the phrase later or put it in quotes in your poem.) Now change the channel and do the same thing again.  Do this six or seven or maybe ten times. Fill a page of paper. Then do that three or four or five times over, writing in blocks of text.  Then rework those blocks. Juggle the order around, change things, add things. When you need a change, skip to the second page and start doing it there. Work in batches. You can work with sound files and an iPod, set to shuffle, if you know how to use that technology to help you. But that’s not necessary. The exercise works just fine on the computer, using the cut and paste function, or with old fashioned paper and pen. This won’t necessarily result in a finished poem, but it’s a useful exercise for generating ideas and getting started.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Unfortunately, due to a glitch, last week’s re-broadcast of an interview with David Budbill did not air. Please tune in this week and listen to a conversation with poet Rauan Klassnik. I'll re-schedule the  Budbill re-broadcast at a later date! Thanks.

Read Full Post »

Interview with novelist and fiction editor of the journal Ploughshares, Margot Livesey.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is inspired by my guest, Margot Livesey. If you’re unsure how to proceed with a scene in a work of fiction, write from the perspective of an off-screen participant, someone who does not and will not have a narrative perspective in your work but might, given the chance, help you to see something you’ve been missing. As Margot pointed out, had she been stuck trying to write the scene between Cameron, her point-of-view character, and Davey, his friend, she might have written a letter from Davey to Cameron, simply to see what Davey would say about him and about the state of their friendship. Even if she weren’t planning to use the letter in her novel, the exercise of writing it, and approaching Cameron from Davey’s perspective, could be helpful in discovering how to move forward.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with fiction and CNF author Laurie Alberts.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is offered by my guest, Laurie Alberts. Laurie suggests writing about two characters, one an adult, the other a child. They can be based on real people or they can emerge completely from your imagination. Have them travel together to visit the adult character’s childhood home. Write two scenes about what they might see in two different seasons: once on a mid-winter day at dusk, once in mid-summer, during a sunny day. Write from the point of view of the adult or the child, or one each, or write from an omniscient point of view. Let the exercise bring out the some of the emotions that a visit back home can evoke. 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)

Read Full Post »

Interview with author of fiction and creative nonfiction Phyllis Barber.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is suggested by my guest, Phyllis Barber. She recommends, “Read Flannery O’Connor, who does things with character that I don’t think I’ve seen many other writers do. Her characterizations are fabulous. So… Look at Flannery!” And that is your prompt today: look at Flannery. Her stories can be found in the books Everything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, among other collections. She also wrote two novels: Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away. And, of course, every writer can benefit from reading her essays on writing and the writing life, collected in the book, Mystery and Manners.

Here’s a snippet from her story, A Good Man Is Hard To Find. Even if you’ve never read this story and even if you don’t know the context of the scene, I think you’ll come to know the characters very quickly, from these few paragraphs:

They drove off again into the hot afternoon. The grandmother took cat naps and woke up every few minutes with her own snoring. Outside of Toombsboro she woke up and recalled an old plantation that she had visited in this neighborhood once when she was a young lady. She said the house had six white columns across the front and that there was an avenue of oaks leading up to it and two little wooden trellis arbors on either side in front where you sat down with your suitor after a stroll in the garden. She recalled exactly which road to turn off to get to it. She knew that Bailey would not be willing to lose any time looking at an old house, but the more she talked about it, the more she wanted to see it once again and find out if the little twin arbors were still standing. "There was a secret:-panel in this house," she said craftily, not telling the truth but wishing that she were, "and the story went that all the family silver was hidden in it when Sherman came through but it was never found . . ."

"Hey!" John Wesley said. "Let's go see it! We'll find it! We'll poke all the woodwork and find it! Who lives there? Where do you turn off at? Hey Pop, can't we turn off there?"

"We never have seen a house with a secret panel!" June Star shrieked. "Let's go to the house with the secret panel! Hey Pop, can't we go see the house with the secret panel!"

"It's not far from here, I know," the grandmother said. "It wouldn't take over twenty minutes."

Bailey was looking straight ahead. His jaw was as rigid as a horseshoe. "No," he said.

The children began to yell and scream that they wanted to see the house with the secret panel. John Wesley kicked the back of the front seat and June Star hung over her mother's shoulder and whined desperately into her ear that they never had any fun even on their vacation, that they could never do what THEY wanted to do. The baby began to scream and John Wesley kicked the back of the seat so hard that his father could feel the blows in his kidney.

"All right!" he shouted and drew the car to a stop at the side of the road. "Will you all shut up? Will you all just shut up for one second? If you don't shut up, we won't go anywhere."

"It would be very educational for them," the grandmother murmured.

That, again, is an excerpt from Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard To Find. Phyllis Barber suggests reading O’Connor’s work in looking for inspiration on character development. Good luck with this activity 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)

Read Full Post »

Interview with fiction author Tammy Greenwood.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Tammy Greenwood. When she is stuck in her work, Tammy frequently turns to prompts from the book A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life, by Judy Reeves. Specifically, Tammy once broke through writer’s block with the help of a prompt to write a scene in which a character takes a bath. So that’s your prompt today: have your character take a bath. And thank you to the author Judy Reeves for the book that suggests that prompt. Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another.

Readings by Tammy Greenwood, from Two Rivers (New York: Kensington Publishing Corp). Copyright © 2009 by T. Greenwood. Recorded with permission from Kensington Books.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with best-selling author Anita Diamant.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was inspired by my guest, Anita Diamant, whose fiction is often based on “found stories” and historical events. Navigate to the Library of Congress’ “Today In History Site”  ( http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/today/ ) Read about this day in history, keeping your mind open about how you could create a fictional character who might have participated in or witnessed the event of the day. Then write a scene featuring that character. Here’s an example:

On Sunday March 7, 1965, about six hundred people began a fifty-four mile march from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Montgomery. They were demonstrating for African American voting rights and to commemorate the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, shot three weeks earlier by a state trooper while trying to protect his mother at a civil rights demonstration. On the outskirts of Selma, after they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the marchers, in plain sight of photographers and journalists, were brutally assaulted by heavily armed state troopers and deputies.

Given this historical moment, would you choose to write a scene from the perspective of a bystander, a marcher, from Jackson’s mother, from the state trooper who shot Jimmie Lee Jackson? Perhaps from the viewpoint of a photographer? Use this moment in history as a starting point. Honor the sacrifices of  the past by re-imagining it in your fiction. 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)

Read Full Post »

Interview with author Robert Vivian and Burlington business owner Norbert Ender. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Monday afternoon from 2-3 p.m. - a new time.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my first guest, Robert Vivian. In his work with students, he occasionally distributes postcards from small towns, and asks each student to write a note on that card to a fictional recipient. Look at the postcard and imagine you’re traveling across the country and you’ve landed in this small town. Use the postcard as a trigger and write to someone. It could be someone who’s wronged you in the past or it could be a beloved person. You might be writing this postcard due to a situation that you’re fleeing. “Dear Randy. Hello from the middle of nowhere. I’m in a diner. Icicles are hanging down from the roof.  I’m driving to Santa Fe. I have 20 dollars in my pocket. I can’t stop thinking about the last time we spoke…” Etc. Invent a situation and write. Let the postcard be a trigger, and lose yourself in the creative act. Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink

Read Full Post »

Interview with Kate Harper and Leon Marasco about their nonfiction book, If Only I Could Tell You: Where Past Loves and Current Intimacy Meet. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is inspired by fear: an emotion that can make people reluctant to discuss past loves. Write a poem, story, or chapter in which a character—real or imagined, completely new or already familiar to you—has to confront his or her greatest fear. This can be, like the dread of discussing past loves, a fear of sentiment. Or it can be a fear of physical harm, of disease, of bugs! Whatever it might be, treat it as very real to your character, so that the reader will take it seriously and empathize. 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)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Xu Xi, writer of short stories, novels, essays, and a new "quirky" memoir. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Xu Xi.  She recommends borrowing an idea from jazz improvisation. Look at what Xu Xi calls, “the facts of the fiction,” and pick something to work with. Improvise on it the way a musician might riff on a theme in music. See if the changes you come up with take the work in another direction. In the case of the novel Xu Xi read from in this interview, what if Gail’s child and his grandmother aren’t killed on page one, but later in the book? What if that phone conversation she remembers having with her son is a scene in the novel rather than a recollection? Or the other way around. What if a scene in your book COULD be a recollection. Might that make more sense? Move things around, riff on the facts in your fiction, and see what changes or comes unstuck. 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)

Read Full Post »

Interview with former Iowa Short Fiction award winner Abby Frucht, writer of short stories, novels, essays and reviews. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was inspired by my guest, Abby Frucht. In discussing her work, Abby explained that, to her, specific detail achieves two purposes. First, “it allows the reader to have an immediate physical investment in the story.” And second, it can have larger significance, serving a figurative function in the narrative and acting as a signpost for the reader. In the case of her story, “The Dead Car,” the detailed description of the spoon that was lost may later be brought back to remind the reader that this spoon speaks to loss, generally. Not just the loss of a certain object, but other kinds of loss, as well. In your own work, study the descriptions that already exist and see if you can use specific detail to your advantage, not simply to embellish, but to help readers experience the work more fully. Try to find objects that already exist in the work, then heighten their function through detail. Avoid wedging in symbols; try to allow significant details to arise organically. 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)

Read Full Post »

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties at WOMM, this week’s interview did not air. Please check back next week and listen to a conversation with author Abby Frucht.

Read Full Post »

Interview with Rosellen Brown, award-winning writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, author of such books as Before and After, Half a Heart and Civil Wars. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Rosellen Brown. This exercise is also taught by Nicholas Del Banco in his courses at the University of Michigan. Take two classic books and have the characters from one show up in the other. Write a scene in which a character from Mrs. Dalloway appears in The Sun Also Rises. What might happen? Would Pip, from Great Expectations, be a good friend for Tom Sawyer? Would Mr. Darcy be attracted to or repulsed by Daisy Buchanan? This may seem a little silly, but writing playfully and having fun is better than staring at the blank page. Like all exercises, this one might help you to open your mind and discover new things about voice.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with agent Sorche Fairbank, owner of Fairbank Literary Representation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is an exercise for novelists who think their work might just be ready to send out to agents. Sorche Fairbank quoted the publishing adage that most novels really begin somewhere between pages 12 and 24. She suggested that writers who are trying to decide if their work is starting in the right place should open their manuscript randomly within that page range and read sentences. Ask yourself, “What if I started with this sentence? How would that influence the book?” Look for those exciting sentences that might indicate a better starting place. While you’re at it, look as well for dead zones, spots you wouldn’t want an agent to judge your work on. Try to figure out what’s wrong with those places and how you might fix them. Good luck with this exercise - and in your quest for publication! - 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)

Read Full Post »

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties at WOMM, this week's interview did not air. Please check back next week and listen to a conversation with Literary Agent Sorche Fairbank.

Read Full Post »

Interview with Charles Barasch, poet, linguistics instructor, crossword puzzle writer, and author of Dreams of the Presidents. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is inspired in part by the interview you heard today. Charlie Barasch said that when he has trouble writing, he sometimes sets his poetry aside and turns to music. His own instrument is the guitar, and he’ll spend time singing and playing songs in order to jumpstart his brain and motivate the words to flow once more.

Oliver Sacks, in the book Musicophilia, writes: "Given the obvious similarities between music and language, it is not surprising that there has been a running debate for more than two hundred years as to whether they evolved in tandem or independently—and if the latter, which came first." He also says: "We humans are a musical species no less than a linguistic one. This takes many forms. All of us (with very few exceptions) can perceive music, perceive tones, timbre, pitch, intervals, melodic contours, harmony, and (perhaps most elementally), rhythm."

Perhaps this explains why, when Charlie Barasch takes up his guitar, he’s able to break through the occasional obstacle of writer’s block and free up his creative capacity to write poems.

Here is your assignment for the week. If you’re stuck in you work or  unable to start writing, stand up out of you chair, close your eyes, and sing a song. Not all of us can play the guitar, but most people can pick up the nearest object, tap it with a pencil, and sing a favorite tune by Sinatra, the Clash, the Talking Heads, Van Morrison, Tommy Dorsey. If you’re so moved, dance around the room. Don’t feel silly. Do just exactly what you might enjoy, musically, all by yourself, without being told by an inner critic to stop. Play Once In Love With Amy on the piano. Hum Gershwin. Whistle Mozart. Or just clap your hands for a while, in a rhythm that is recognizable or somehow moving just to you. Then return to your work and see what might have changed since that moment when you turned to music for help. Write for at least half an hour and see if you’ve made progress. 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)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Linda Bland, co-author of Don't Stop at Green LIghts and owner of Cahoots Writing Services. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is inspired in part by the interview you heard today. Linda Bland mentioned that she needs to exercise before attacking a manuscript, either her own or one that she’s reading for a client. With this in mind, today’s prompt is this: if you’re feeling stuck or need an idea before getting started with your writing today, go for a walk. Or, if you prefer, a run or a swim. Put on snowshoes or cross country skies, if the snow is too deep for walking. Before striking out, set yourself an assignment. Tell yourself you need an idea, or you need to develop that idea you had last week. If a particular scene or snippet of dialogue is giving you trouble, suggest to yourself that during the next hour of exercise, you’d really like to work out this problem. Write down what you are hoping to accomplish, then go exercise. Don’t actively focus on the problem you’ve set yourself, just let it be there, within your awareness, as you walk or hike or bike. When you get back, write for at least half an hour and see if you’ve made progress.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Louella Bryant, author of While In Darkness There Is Light. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt is inspired by this holiday season. Love it or hate it, the season is upon us. Probably you have a great many catalogs piling up in your living room or on the back of a toilet somewhere, waiting to be chucked in January. Why not use these to some advantage? Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, sit back in your coziest couch, and window shop for your characters. Pick out clothing, furniture, sunglasses. Pick out boots, necklaces, belts. Would your narrator wear new jeans, or faded? Would his fleece have buttons or a zip? Would she be in heels or flats? Boots or strappy sandals? Use your catalogs to fill out a scene whose details have been lacking. Sometimes the poses in magazines look wrong somehow. The snow is synthetic, the beach is off-kilter. Why? What’s missing? How might you write these settings more convincingly? You might look for the things your characters can’t afford. What would substitute? Instead of that pricey lamp, how would she light her desk? A candle in a jelly jar? A flashlight? Look at your catalogs not with the eye of a buyer, but with the imagination of a writer. Make lists of ideas as you go, and then write without catalog in hand for twenty minutes. See what develops.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with author of poetry and prose Sydney Lea. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. - a new time for the new hour-long format.

Prompt: Today’s Write The Book Prompt concerns setting. How can a writer describe setting in such a way that it informs readers about a character’s or narrator’s state of mind? Consider the following two excerpts from works by Sydney Lea:

From his essay, “Alone With Friends: A Journal Toward Springtime”

… Landy and I sat for a spell on the tailgate, staring at the clean dark that walked at a human pace up the mountains, feeling a flake or two of snow on our wrists and faces, noting a heron who came languidly flapping out of a back pond, roost-bound early.

From his poem, “The Author in March”

Remnant, rank corn snow

.   perspires like dirty dough.

What few drab birds there are

.   don’t fly up very far,

So hard do the clouds bear down.

.   Not much to this splotch of a town—

Flue smoke, smalltalk, clutter.

.   Last autumn’s leaves clog gutters

Here’s this week’s prompt. Imagine a place in a poem or story you’re writing or are thinking about writing. Using minimal description, make a list of several things—five or six details—that exist in that setting. Now rewrite the list, describing those same details as seen from the perspective of a character who is upset, frustrated or depressed. Then write the list one last time, describing these same things from the point of view of a character who is happy, optimistic or excited. Don’t change the actual details of place, but the lens through which they are viewed. 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)

Read Full Post »

Interview with author Kathryn Davis. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. - a new time for the new hour-long format.

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)

Read Full Post »

Interview with author, essayist and NPR contributor, Tim Brookes. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. - a new time for the new hour-long format.

Prompt: This week’s Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the interview you heard today with author Tim Brookes. During our conversation, Tim said that often, when people feel stuck, they have put up a fence around the thing they should be writing. Even if this mysterious fenced subject isn’t what you’ve been trying to confront, perhaps it’s time to have a look at it. What’s on your mind? What have you been avoiding? Are you procrastinating in order to keep from tackling something real or difficult? Give this some thought and see if you can identify something that’s been wanting to be written about – something you’ve fenced off for whatever reason. Then take a journal and free write about this subject for twenty or thirty minutes. Ignore form. Ignore genre. Don’t worry about whether or not this is the subject you’ve been feeling stuck on. Write about the things that are there with you, right now, and see if this doesn’t help you move forward in some larger way. Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another.

Music Credits: 1) "Dreaming 1" - John Fink; 2) Tim Brookes on guitar playing "End of a Holiday," by Simon Nichol.

Read Full Post »

Interview with award-winning YA writer Rita Murphy. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. - a new time for the new hour-long format.

Write The Book Prompt:This week’s prompt was inspired by today's interview with Rita Murphy, who tends to approach all of her work by free-writing. She’s been lucky enough not to find herself stuck very often, but for the rest of us, I offer the following idea. In our conversation, Rita described a house along the New York Thruway that became her inspiration for the crooked mansion in her new book, Bird. In your own hometown, was there a house like this? An abandoned or otherwise frightening structure with the reputation for being haunted? If not, was there a house you always noticed and wondered about, for whatever reason? Think about that place for a few minutes. Try to remember the look of it, the landscaping around it and any gossip around its history. Using these thoughts and memories as a point of creative entry, write in a notebook or on your computer for twenty minutes without stopping. If you’re so inspired, write for more than twenty minutes. Don’t censor yourself, and try not to think at all about where this exercise might go. If you find yourself writing about something other than the house, that’s fine. Go where your mind wants to take you. Let the exercise be fun, and try to enjoy it as a child enjoys playing.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties at WOMM, this week's interview did not air. Please check back next week and listen to a conversation with Rita Murphy, Vermont author of young adult fiction.

Read Full Post »

Interview with award-winning poet Robin Behn. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Write The Book Prompt: Consider a topic you’ve perhaps had trouble approaching in your writing. It can be something that feels too large, emotionally, to tackle. Or something that for some other reason is giving you a difficult time. Think about what details MIGHT be manageable around this subject, and make a list of those concrete details and images. Using that list as inspiration, write for the next twenty minutes and see what happens. If you like, consider at the same time Robin’s allusion to the human brain craving repetition. See if you can use repetition to advantage within your story or poem, the way she was able to work with words ending in “SHUN,” such as constellation and contemplation.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with writer, editor and writing school director Kathie Giorgio. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with award-winning poet Richard Jackson. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Write The Book is on brief hiatus. Please look for the next podcast on 10/4. Thank you!

Read Full Post »

Interview with Philip Graham, fiction and cnf writer and co-founder of the journal Ninth Letter. Recent work includes his "Dispatches From Lisbon," published on the McSweeney's website. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Do Lado De Cá Do Mar" - Mario Laginha

Read Full Post »

Interview with Diane Lefer, author, playwright and activist. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Rick Kisonak, movie critic and director of the Burlington Book Festival in Burlington, Vermont. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Jody Gladding, poet, translator and 2007 Resident Poet at The Frost Place. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Readings by Jody Gladding, from Rooms and their Airs (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2009). Copyright © 2009 by Jody Gladding. Recorded with permission from Milkweed Editions.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Vermont mystery writer Archer Mayor. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Vermont mystery writer Archer Mayor. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Write The Book is on brief hiatus. Please look for the next podcast on 8/10. Thank you!

Read Full Post »

Interview with David Jauss, author, poet, and faculty chair of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Stephanie G'Schwind, editor of Colorado Review and director of the Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Philip Baruth, UVM Professor, author, VPR commentator and award-winning blogger. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with the writing director of the Vermont Studio Center, Gary Clark. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) "When I Paint My Masterpiece" - Bob Dylan

Read Full Post »

Second half of an interview with poet and activist David Budbill. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) From Zen Mountains Zen Streets - David Budbill and William Parker - Excerpt from "Only the Brightness Itself" (Part 2)

Read Full Post »

First half of an interview with poet and activist David Budbill. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Steve Delaney, veteran journalist and author of Vermont Seasonings. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) "Filter" - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

Interview with Caroline Mercurio, editor of the Hunger Mountain, the Vermont College Journal of Arts and Letters. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Le Petit Journal” - Michel Legrand

..

Read Full Post »

Second half of an hour-long interview with Chris Bohjalian, author of twelve novels. His latest, Skeletons at the Feast, arrives in bookstores this month. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “I Could Write a Book" - Harry Connick, Jr.

Read Full Post »

First half of an hour-long interview with Chris Bohjalian, author of twelve novels. His latest, Skeletons at the Feast, arrives in bookstores this month. Write The Book is a radio show for writers and curious readers. Hosted by Shelagh C. Shapiro, Write The Book airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) "Filter" - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Episodes Older Episodes »

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App