Monday Muse: Lidia Yuknavitch

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Friends, have you failed? Have you failed so spectacularly that you felt as if some essential part of yourself, something you had always known yourself by, had died? Have you been a victim of cosmic violence–illness, accident, or malice–that, through no fault of your own, irrevocably altered the arc of your life?

Have you felt the dreams of your youth withering on the vine? Have you felt the hot shame of not living up, time and again, to the person you thought you were?

If so, rejoice. Lidia Yuknavitch is on our side. And if this woman stands at the center of the cultural enterprise, none of us stand outside.

Upcoming Classes!

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I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching not one but two different classes for writers of fiction come June: one on advanced novel revision and one on openings in fiction.

The first class, on Saturday, June 11, is entitled Advanced Novel Revision: Problem Areas. It runs two hours and is designed to help authors get their novel in shape for publication in just one more revision. Do you identify with any of the following statements?

  • “I know something about this book doesn’t work, but I don’t know what that is.”
  • “I know what’s not working about this book, but I don’t know how to address that.”
  • “I love this book and think it works, but agents and editors keep rejecting it.”
  • “I love this book and think it works, but I’ve received feedback from an agent or editor and don’t know how to put that feedback to work in revision.”

If so, this class is for you.

This is a workshop-style class with a group coaching component, so come prepared to discuss your novel’s issues in depth—and walk away with the tools that will make that novel work in just one more revision.

More info and registration online at Indigo Editing.

The second class, on Monday, June 13th, is entitled Building Better Fiction: How Do Your Openings Lead To Successful Novels and Stories? It will run three hours and is designed to help participants break out of the slush pile with their work, whether it’s a novel manuscript on an agent’s desk or a short story submission in a Submittable queue. If you can relate to any of the following, this class is for you:

  • “I know my work is good, and all my beta readers love it, but I can’t seem to break out of the slush pile.”
  • “I’ve had the best story I’ve ever written rejected a bazillion times.”
  • “I’m ready to break through to the next tier with literary journals.”
  • “I’ve had this book in mind for a while now, but I have no idea where it should start.”
  • “I’m ready to get this novel published, already.”

This class will explore successful openings in fiction from a number of different angles, drawing insight from agents, editors, and the emerging body of neuroscience as it applies to fiction. A great class for both intermediate and beginning writers.

More info and registration at The Attic Institute.

Both classes will take place in Portland, Oregon.

Interested in one (or both) of these classes but don’t know if they’re right for you? If you’re local, consider joining me for the free Indigo happy hour at the Zeus Cafe in downtown Portland on Thursday, May 26th, at 6 pm–I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Listen In: Sunshine

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I’ve got a birthday this week, and I have a tradition of giving gifts on my day. Also, I’ve decided that the best way to share the love that’s been shown to me by my Patreon subscribers over these last few months is to make the audio versions of my stories free to one and all.

So here it is, my gift to you: Sunshine, as read by the author, which clocks in at almost exactly a half hour–download it or stream it, play it on your commute, your jog, your lunch break.

This is a story for everyone who’s ever had their heart broken; everyone who’s ever experienced grief as a kind of paralysis; everyone who has ever cursed the name of cancer; and everyone who has ever loved a dog (a very bad one especially). This story gave Brenda Taulbee the feels and reminded Theresa Elsey Skov of home, and I’m looking forward to hearing what it does for you.