Five Questions for Alan Watt on Making Your Writing Dreams Come True

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Alan first taught a summer creative writing workshop at UCLA in 1998, and has been teaching and lecturing on the creative process in L.A. and at colleges around the country ever since.  

LW: You must have now met hundreds of people with the desire to tell their stories.  What key differences are there between writers who dream and writers who do? Continue reading Five Questions for Alan Watt on Making Your Writing Dreams Come True

The Bender – Maria Semple, Jennifer Egan and Jack London

9781780221243Recently, my friend Gena K. sent me a great summer read: Where’d You Go Bernadette.  It helped that the book came to me in a flash straight from Amazon to my kindle (now that’s my kind of gift).  But the character of Bernadette reads like she was delivered straight from the writer’s mind onto the page, fully formed.  And so I read and read for three days until I was done.

Henceforth began the bender: the deep dive into the internet to find anything and everything I could about the author. Her website is adorable and reminded me why spending “two years writing and rewriting a novel full of agreeable character which [you] hope will deliver [you] to commercial success” just doesn’t work.  She tried it and had to abandon the whole thing for a character named Bernadette who, much like herself, was a “toxic brew of self-pity, defensiveness, love and artistic paralysis” which was, “while humiliating to admit,”….”actually kind of funny.” Continue reading The Bender – Maria Semple, Jennifer Egan and Jack London

On Writing Second Drafts

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Really really hard work will get you to where you want to go.  And I feel very lucky to know that, that also is in my bones and that came from TV writing, because I came across so many people who write first drafts, who write the first half of novels, and I give them notes and they just kind of give up.  They’re just like oh I can’t, they just can’t deal with it, they don’t know how to roll up their sleeves and dig down and make it better. – Maria Semple  Continue reading On Writing Second Drafts

Matt Dojny Invites You Inside Your Quantum Home

Mike-and-Ophelia-Lazaridis-Quantum-Nano-Centre-500x249Last year I talked with Matt Dojny about how his new book was going. His first, Festival of Earthly Delights was getting great reviews and he had agreed to give a talk at our first work-in-progress reading.  We met to discuss the talk and he let me in on a secret to creativity that has made a big difference to my writing world. Continue reading Matt Dojny Invites You Inside Your Quantum Home

Inside The Mind of A Literary Agent

fa24aef2dcf6184439542f536a5db1f4As an intern at Folio Literary Management, Hannah Kaner evaluates at least five or six manuscripts a week.  In her first full time job in the publishing industry, after finishing a Junior Research Associate position at Newcastle University, she is now responsible for editing and reporting on the submissions with reasons for why she thinks it is or isn’t suitable for her agent or the current market.  This week she tells us how to prepare your MS for a very very very careful reader. Continue reading Inside The Mind of A Literary Agent

How Tom Drury Makes Every Word Count

Tom Drury’s new novel, Pacific, packs in major moments in the lives of more than twelve characters, There are affairs, first kisses, new careers, old careers picked back up again, and then out of the blue: murder, all in the span of a very short time in novel land. Tom was kind enough to answer five questions by email about how he keeps his stories lean.

@driftlessareas, aka Tom Drury

I really like how you don’t overcomplicate things. For instance, in Pacific, the matter of a woman giving up a baby for adoption occurs in once sentence.  And ultimately that becomes something that defines the character.  How did you learn to put down what’s important and not much else?

Mostly by putting things down and discovering that they can be taken out. And then taking them out and liking the form of what’s left. I think I sometimes need to tell myself more than I need to tell the reader.

Continue reading How Tom Drury Makes Every Word Count

Jessica Hagedorn: On Writing and Cheap Emotion

Author photo by David Shankbone

Jessica Hagedorn, novelist, playwright, and editor of Manila Noir, chats with LitWrap contributor, Alex Vlahov.

Manila Noir is a haunting arabesque of gritty crime and supernatural encounters. Editor and contributor Jessica Hagedorn is as fascinating as the collection. Born in Manila but having spent her formative years in San Francisco, she has been meditating on the Filipino-American experience through her writing since the 70s. I was fortunate enough to talk to Jessica about her experiences, thoughts, and Manila Noir, Akashic’s latest addition to their stellar series of city-specific crime shorts.

Alex Vlahov: So what was the process of choosing writers and stories for this collection? Continue reading Jessica Hagedorn: On Writing and Cheap Emotion