Here are some of my notes from a couple of lectures:
In fiction, 2 plus 2 should equal more than four.
Flannery O'Connor's stories have despicable characters who have a moment of redemption
In fiction, the link between actions and motives isn't always clear and taking on a motivation can be demeaning to a character.
*Trust what you don't understand
*Look for an action you can't explain
All writing comes from oral stories and from song
Our effort to express painful, complex, sometimes ecstatic emotional states brings the piece closer to song
A matter of pacing--slow down characters hurt or in danger
The lyric moment must be earned--must feel organic to what comes before
It's the effort to capture truth that makes beauty on the page. Path to truth is through shame.
3 problems in a story:
*nothing changes: failure to recognize plot as mechanism to force characters up against their desires
*bail out in peak emotional moments
*Lapse into sentiment--asserted by author not felt by character
You see, I was paying attention, despite my incessant yawning.
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.