An interview from the archives - complete with the old music! - with Robert Boswell, award-winning author of seven novels, including Tumbledown (Graywolf Press).

Robert Boswell published a book on craft in 2008, The Half-Known World. In this book, he details how important it is for writers to give themselves over to what he calls the "half-known world" of fiction, where surprise and meaning converge. Consider this in terms of an exercise: this week's Write the Book Prompt is to think about surprise converging with meaning.

An example of my own: a driver stops at a quick mart due to a mundane but necessary need: coffee, perhaps, or a bathroom break. Who might she meet or run into there? How does this affect her day, or the trip she's embarking on? Did she want to be seen? Has this person affected her life in the past? How will this encounter affect the story?

Consider this week how surprise might come up against meaning in your own work, offering an opportunity to change the narrative in a valuable way. 

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 former South Burlington High School students, now alums). 


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