I had the honor of presenting a class for Jane Friedman that you might think of as the expanded, class-sized version of one of my most popular posts for her, The Alchemy of Emotion. In this class, I covered the ways that emotion is generated in long-form fiction at three very important, very distinct levels: At the level of the story … Read More
If the Problem’s Not Your Plot, What Is It?
There are a few major reasons people come to me as an editor and a book coach, and this is something I’ve been reflecting on as I prepare for the class I’m teaching for Jane Friedman this Thursday, Maybe It’s Not Your Plot. Generally speaking, people come to me because: They have an overwritten novel (sometimes hugely so; I’ve worked … Read More
Fiction as a Force for Change
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how art can make a difference in the world—fiction in particular. I went to a very politically engaged college, and graduated in 2000—a year when it seemed like everyone I knew who was really committed to making a difference was either at the WTO protests in Seattle or taking up organic farming. I … Read More
Into the Mythic: Fantasy and Sci Fi in the Time of Covid
In my time of quarantine, I’ve found I had very little interest in what we call realism. It’s what Le Guin called “the timeless mode” that interests me: fantasy and sci fi, the products of the mythic imagination.
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