Spring Forward – Day 3

5:30 pm – Workshop 6 emphasized the significance of setting details. In the fictive dreams of novels, layers of specific details create the story’s reality and allows the reader to slip easily into the fantastical. Patricia McKillip’s lecture excerpted from the Odyssey workshop she taught in 1998 (I think) reminded me of the changing landscapes of my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. I’ve lived in a small town amid a German forest, amid the pastures, sugarcane fields, and bayous of southern Louisiana, amid the snowfields of North Dakota, the wide open plain of Nebraska, the cavernous sky and forested valleys of Montana, the rainy lakeside landscape of a mid-Florida community–all those landscapes left their mark on my imagination, and bits and pieces of them show up in my fiction.

When I return to work on Tuesday, this week will be an oasis of memory in the desert of routine. Looks like I’m back to writing A Lamentation of Swans. Silk River is still on my mind, still have to read through it, maybe I’ll work on it too, but I don’t know. The past two days of the Workshop has kickstarted Swans again and also refreshed writing techniques for me. I’ve made copious notes, and I’m thinking I’m going to plan a short story workshop for the summer, a week in July or August.


Breakfast & Journal  – 7:00 am

8:30 am – Inspirational Reading – Browse The Writers Notebook

Inspirational Podcast – Odyssey Workshop – Why Fantasy is Important, Jeff VanderMeer (Runtime: 15:11)

Workshop 6 – Location, Location, Location – 9:30 am – 11:30 am

No wine without the glass, they say. And no story without a setting. –Peter Selgin, 179 WAYS TO SAVE A NOVEL

Odyssey Workshop Podcast – Fantastic Landscapes, Patricia A. McKillip (Runtime: 18:45)

Odyssey Workshop Podcast – Creating a World’s Environment, Allen Steele (Runtime: 16:39)

Selected Reading: Chapter 16, Depicting Character Through Place, Richard Russo, The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing

Chapter 6, Long Ago and Far Away, Writing Fiction, Janet Burroway

How is character and place integrated in:  Laurence, His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik; Tom Guthrie, Plainsong, Kent Haruf; Jack Torrance, The Shining, Stephen King; St Vier, Swordspoint, Ellen Kushner; Alan Desland, The Girl In A Swing, Richard Adams; Eric DeHaan, Dark Voyage, Alan Furst.

Lunch Outing & Free Afternoon:  Visit to Alpine Village, Torrance


2 thoughts on “Spring Forward – Day 3

  1. I’m very impressed with this idea of yours and will mention it to a few writers I know. A good way to get yourself on track and develop some good focusing skills on your writing. I hope you’ve achieved everything you set out to do. Once my classes finish so I don’t have to run off every day across town I wouldn’t mind trying something like this for a few days myself.

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