Bovary Annotation

The literary style of Flaubert is on supreme display in his classic 19th century novel, Madame Bovary — here are some of my favorite moves and annotations from my third read of this remarkable book.  The novel takes place in Yonville, France circa 19th century. It is a backwater tableau …

The Writer and the Waltz

John H was right, of course. The passing years have given that much to me. “Show,” he said sitting down, passing me a pint of beer. John and I were in a pub, after school. He was my college creative writing instructor. He had a mess of black and grey …

The Writer and The Train

Writing a novel is much like getting on a train. You board with a bunch of other people and are hurtled at great speed along thin rails in great hope and expectation nothing goes awry. There is a vague sense of destination and plenty of staggering, bad food choices, and …

The Writer & Dialogue

Dialogue is never just talk. Eavesdropping | The trick with dialogue is to listen. The writer needs to be out in the world with an “ear” for how people speak. Yes, the writer must become a big time eavesdropper. What you’re listening for are interesting lines — yes — but …

The Writer & Struggle

No struggle. No story. Early in my writing career, I was resistant to the idea that every story had to have a struggle, more specifically it needed conflict. I was conflict avoidant, you could say. I thought the world needed less conflict, not more; I thought everything need not be …

The Writer & The Dolls

Stories don’t come into being until the character gets a life — Steven Schoen About Character | How true. And how hard for the beginning writer to understand. I speak from experience. When I first started writing I wanted to write stories — you know Stories about something. I had …

The Writer & Detail

Today’s readers want plot*. They want to be a part of the story, and the writer helps to establish this connection through the plot’s physical detail. Details | Physical description is the primary way to draw a reader in to your story. Sensory detail allows the reader to experience the …

The Writer & The Structured Lie

A story is an account of a character struggling to reach a goal — Steven Schoen Say what you want about what fiction is or isn’t. Go on and on about all the rules about how to write the stuff. For me, anything goes, but the one thing, that one …

Tesseract

Starting my morning walk I put my hand into a little-used jacket pocket and found tucked inside a small bill folded brochure titled Towards an Intuitive Understanding of the Fourth Dimension (continued) — I have no memory of putting it there. I liked the idea that the brochure was a …