Spring Forward – Day 6

The 1st Annual Spring Forward Writing Workshop ends at noon today, and it’s been a wonderful week. I’m definitely going to do another one focusing on the short story sometime in the summer. I’ve given myself new tools and gained a fresh perspective about writing my stories.

I’ll be putting into practice what I taught myself this week–what goes into an opening, what you can leave out, the value of raising questions in the narrative, how to use language to shape theme and add depth and dimension to the story, how to achieve the end, and, most importantly, plot is not a dirty word–and neither is outline. I realized I spend tons of time outlining my stories in my head before I start to write them, and it’s helpful to lay out the story on paper, to create a map I can follow, to recognize the elasticity and mutability of the outline, and that it is a tool, not the Bible; it is a way of seeing into the story. So, I’ll be writing Silk River for the rest of this year.

While doing Spring Forward…

  • Wrote new scene in Three Heartbeats
  • Began outlining Silk River, along with copious story notes, and character sketches


Breakfast & Journal  – 7:00 am

8:30 am – Inspirational Reading – Fickle Minds, Pen on Fire, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

Inspirational Podcast – Choose one from Pen on Fire Speaker Series at penonfire.blogspot.com or Writers on Writing at writersonwriting.blogspot.com

Thanks to Krista Faust for today’s fun workshop…

Workshop 13 –  Genre Roulette – 9:30 am – 11:30 am

See Genre Roulette

However you go about it, the authenticity and commitment that you place in a story (partially because of Campbell) coupled with how it’s not real until it’s actually written (and the day-to-day nature of the multiverse) means that you’ll only know the story when it happens. Reducing the unknown into a proposal is tough because there’s no way to guess the future when authenticity is all that matters. Being meticulous and delicate and ruthless and telling nothing that could possibly be untrue doesn’t fit into a spreadsheet no matter what you do. –“Unfit for Mass Consumption,” Caitlin Kiernan’s blog, 11/11/2009, comment by a blog reader

As you write the first word, you are embracing the novel’s greatest tradition, that of obscure beginnings. No other art is so simple or so cheap to engage in as literature. A lifetime’s reading may be borrowed from the library; a pencil and some sheets of paper may be purloined without much trouble. You can sit at the kitchen table. You can sit on the stool in the bathroom and put a board across your knees. There is no outlay for paints or clay. And since you are writing a novel, you aren’t going to need actors or film or a stage. …Perhaps the nicest thing about beginning your novel is that you don’t have to begin anything again for a very long time if you don’t care to, because after you set down the first thought, every time you come back to that first thought is a rewrite. Of course, the first thought must be followed by a second one, and so on, but…it is in the nature of thoughts to follow upon one another. –Jane Smiley, THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL