Lit Lesson #32: The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

A creative writing teaching on fantastic foreshadowing or marvelous misdirection, an unsatisfying heroine, and what you can steal for your own work in progress by Studio Peer Mentor and Teaching Assistant April Streeter     Fantastic Foreshadowing…or Lucrezia, the young protagonist in The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell, is a compelling character in great danger. The reader meets her on a winter evening in 1561 and is told in the author’s ‘historical note’ that Lucrezia...

Lit Lesson #30-Pt. 2: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and Consecution

Creative Writing Workshop: Consecution is a fancy way of saying “sequencing” “Consecution” (is a) re-describing (of) the compositional process, how the repetition of words and sequences of events progress toward a naturally developed story with a coherent plot structure…(which is not)…different from the advice of the classicists — …good writing is, after all, good writing. Lish’s genius is in making it strange that we might see it better. ~ From The Consecution of Gordon Lish by...

Lit Lesson #29-Pt. 1: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: Character/Plot/The Divine Feminine

Creative Writing Workshop on Reading, Character/Plot and the Divine Feminine. Buckle up “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ~Stephen King On Reading: Again and again, I meet writers in my creative writing teaching program who balk at taking the time to read. Or listen, to a  book. Or, if they do get in there, they sabotage the learning process by judging the work as “boring, confusing, overwhelming,” and putting...

Lit Lesson #28: Literary Representation and the Laws of Gravity

Publishing Advice for Creative Writers Six months Eighty queries Fifteen rejections based on the query (meaning they didn’t read a word of the book) Two rejections based on a full read Three query letter revisions One major meltdown One re-write I finally, finally, FINALLY found an agent for my fifth memoir, The Summer of ‘72. Robert Difirio of D4EO Literary. Bob is an old-school agent with five-plus decades of experience in the business and a corral of intelligent, hard-working writers doing...

IN HOUSE POST: Update on the Summer Birds 2023

“I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer – its dust and lowering skies.”  ~ Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye This is our annual update on each other’s summer. Send a photo or two and let us know what you’ve been up to!   SUSAN C/SII       From Susan C in SII and living in CT: In between writing, painting, Library meetings, short trips and volunteering, I work on my 1500-piece never ending jigsaw puzzle of Van Gogh’s Starry...

Lit Lesson #27: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination By Elizabeth McCracken

When a Memoir is for the Writer and Not the Reader I wrote the book quickly and without—oh dear, I hate to admit this—too much thought. I barely revised. I knew everything about the story before I even started. Novels are agony. Life is agony, but for me writing the memoir was not. ~ E. McCracken Elizabeth McCracken who studied in Iowa, is a fellow of this and a nominee of that, and yes, a remarkably talented wordsmith. See for yourself. She’s also witty and wry in the classic tradition...