Process

Into the Woods

Nathaniel Hawthorne added the "W" to his name because of shame. His family was among the first Puritan settlers of Massachusetts, and one of his ancestors, John Hathorne, was a judge in the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. In his fiction, he strove to keep "the inmost Me behind the veil," yet like all writers he couldn't… Continue reading Into the Woods

Process

Gratitude For An Audience

Well, the story's over. When I draft short stories, I usually let them run, drafting them in a matter of days once the initial idea finally takes hold (i.e. when I finally move beyond the page or so of notes and sketches that I usually begin with). Writing "Peel Away" as a series of posts, however, allowed the… Continue reading Gratitude For An Audience

Process

Invention and Ziggy Stardust

Sooner or later, all writers struggle with invention. Finding something to say about any given topic involves a lengthy process of thinking, reading, contemplating evidence, and considering your means of persuasion. Aristotle, who first systematized rhetoric, argued that rhetoricians needed to discover all available means of persuasion in order to communicate any real truth about a topic. Say something. Ancient… Continue reading Invention and Ziggy Stardust

Product

Verse and the Unsaid

For as much fiction as I read, I still return to poetry. Like the elliptical orbit around a star, poetry can remain in the distance for long stretches of time, but soon enough I pick up a collection and start reading. Slowly. Great poems remind me of the depths ordinary words can reach when they are perfectly… Continue reading Verse and the Unsaid

Product

Attempting Myth

The following passage opens a short story I'm working on called "It Has Always Burned." The working title suggests the central theme, which is the idea that every technology, even our very earliest one, results in unintended and often disastrous consequences, the illusion of control, and wrong-headed hubris. That we don't fully know the story about how… Continue reading Attempting Myth

Process

Get Out of the Way

Stephen King writes that writing, when it's good, is "inspired play" for the writer, and he also claims that stories pretty much make themselves. Yet letting this happen this requires trust. And confidence. Some novice writers imagine themselves as puppeteers, controlling characters in order to make them do their bidding. "Yes, my little pets, we will take over… Continue reading Get Out of the Way

Statement of Purpose

A Statement of Purpose

Two words titles are symmetrical. Processed Product. Here we have a verb and a noun, a choice I made because it forces time into your mind, and stories are nothing without time (nor are we, for that matter). The words raise questions that demand answers. What’s the product? Who created it? Can I buy it… Continue reading A Statement of Purpose