My fiction students and I have spent a healthy amount of time talking about how to achieve authenticity in our work. The trick is not going too far nor withholding too much. In work about a specific subculture, historical era, region with unique speech patterns, or other worlds in sci-fi/fantasy work, how do you give the reader enough to make the world feel real and authentic and yet not so foreign that the reader struggles for meaning? I have a habit of using cooking metapho
Upon reaching page 100 in my novel draft, I realize that I know one of my trains really well. By train, I mean my protagonist. The other train in question is a mysterious woman key to the plot but who hasn't been on the page much yet. It's her I don't know. When I was at UCF as an undergrad, professors said the writer's job was to set trains on the tracks in a plot to prepare for the crash (or climax) to happen. I want to attribute this piece of wisdom to Jeanne Leiby and/or
The man made me really, really care about taters. Now I am already a lover of potatoes, but it's kind of a generalized love—to quote Samwise Gamgee, "Boil them, mash them, stick them in a stew." But in The Martian, author Andy Weir got me super-duper-intensely emotionally invested in a specific group of potatoes. And darn, that was unexpected. My nephew, a self-proclaimed history and space nerd, recommended I read The Martian. Said nephew breaks my heart a bit generally, as I
Whenever I'm in a really productive writing groove, I surround myself with inspirational creative outputs from others. I've been on a Jason Mraz kick for music, and sometimes going back to my old writing soundtrack with work from Aimee Mann. I seek out books that inspire me. Today I was amped to discover and buy a novel, The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer, whose short story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, greatly impacted me when I was writing my graduate thesis.
Today I visited the house that inspired L. M. Montgomery's Green Gables, home to the beloved character Anne Shirley. I'm in Canada for this trip and specifically on Prince Edward Island because I fell in love with the idea of PEI from reading Anne of Green Gables as a girl. Rare are the opportunities to experience something beloved in childhood and fully alive in one's imagination as an adult and have the reality surpass a wee one's wildest dreams. I knew I wanted to come to