Sunday, February 8, 2009

Writing Fiction

It was nice to see a couple of people read my blog--Peter and Kevin. Kevin asked about my fiction class that I teach on Thursday nights at the Writing Salon. It usually runs as a nine week class. In each class, we address an issue of craft, such as developing characters or finding the arc of the story. I try to bring new articles and ideas surrounding craft for each class. That means if you've taken the class before, I still bring in new stories and new techniques for addressing craft. We have a short discussion around craft, read a story related to the issue, and discuss that. Then we try some writing within the class--something centered around the story we read or the craft issue. Maybe we'll try writing a story that has lots of dialogue with lots of subtext, something like that. Then we workshop 2-3 stories for the rest of the class. It's a jam-packed night. If you take the class, you get to workshop at least two stories within the timeframe of the class. It starts again in the summer. Sometimes I teach a flash fiction class on a weekend, but I've had more trouble drumming up a class for that. the website for any classes at the Writing Salon is writingsalons.com.

Kevin--thanks for the quote from Bukowski, but I think he was a pretty ambitious poet. He's not giving himself enough credit.

As for me, I had a great time at the Good Vibrations reading on Friday. It was very tastefully prepared and everyone seemed to have a good time. Laura Riggs made some beautiful cards with our poems/flash fiction/nonfiction on them, so I was especially pleased. (By the way, it was on Polk--oops)

I'm working on a story now that I got inspired to write by reading the book Ron Carlson Writes a Story. It's a book that follows how he wrote the story "The Governor's Ball." I liked it because it looked at how we writers write a story, instead of looking at story from the outside ie. craft. I was so inspired by it that I decided to include a period of time within my class at the Writing Salon where we don't just talk about craft, but also talk about where we get ideas, how we make decisions, how we get into and through the revision process, how we set a writing schedule that works for us--stuff like that.

Bummed. I went to Zack Rogow's reading today at Diesel Books in Oakland on College (His book: lovely, lovely, lovely--called The Number Before Ininity) and forgot my purse, so I didn't get to buy all the books I had picked up for myself and for loved ones' Valentines--I gotta get back over there. Well, it's time to read and write a little, spend some time half-watching a kid movie with my younger daughter and get some sleep. Be kind to yourself and say hi to me when you get a chance.

Wait let me just say one more thing about Zack's book. It's a collection of poems that are wonderfully written. The blurb on the back says each poem is a chapter in the story of two lovers united by passion but separated by previous commitments. I especially choked up over his poems involving children caught in the tug-of-war when two people move apart. The Number Before Inifinity

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