Deep Characterization Exercise #1 Being Two Places at Once
The purple mass looked for a moment like a plump of organ pipes, then like a stack of rolls of cloth set up on end, then like a forest of gigantic umbrellas blown inside out. It was in faint motion. Suddenly his eyes mastered the object. The purple stuff was vegetation: more precisely, it was vegetables, vegetables about twice the height of English elms, but apparently soft and flimsy.
» Read more about: The Writer as Actor: On Location »
In December, 1995 I gathered four teenage writers in our living room and began the wild odyssey that would grow into Epicwrite. Recently, I had the honor of being nominated for the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award for that work, and while the winner has not yet been announced, the extensive application process allowed us to reflect on our reason for being. I thought you’d like the video Epicwrite staffer Ashley Olson produced for us.
» Read more about: The “Why” behind Epicwrite »
And no, it’s not a silly question!
In the Teenage Novelist: Publishing class, I always start by saying, “Read and read and read; write and write and write.” It’s pretty hard to write publishable material if you’re not reading. That sounds like a no-brainer, but I know plenty of people who want to write books, but get all their stories from movies and television. I love movies and television (and we watch a lot of them in Geek Fiction Writing for Teens),
» Read more about: Teens Ask “How Do I Get Published?” »
Perfectionism is a thief of time. I used to be plagued by this wily thief—I’d let it into my mind and give it full access. There it would scold and prod and criticize. And I would go slower and slower as my muse slogged toward mirages of excellence. After all, isn’t excellence what we are after?
It took me a long time to learn that excellence and perfection are not the same thing.
» Read more about: Go Where the Longing Is »
With the Full-Bodied Novelist Retreat coming up this weekend, I’ve been playing the violin again. There is a connection, so stay with me here.
I usually let months go by without my music. I play only to prepare for performance, thinking I need an “excuse” to play. But lately I have played for the sheer joy of playing with no audience but the Universe. I work on a piece that is hard for me,
» Read more about: The Violin Diet »
“Katherine brings life and excitement to what she teaches and interacts with me and the other students in a truly honest, personable way.”
–Samantha Meuller, BCCE blog.
Another reason I love my life: Every summer, I spend a month with several dozen glorious teens who write for the joy of it. Different classes every week. Many take several; some take every one. We laugh,
» Read more about: Summer Writing Classes for Teens! »
I love those “aha!” moments when a character sneaks up on me–and I suddenly realize I’m not writing the book I thought I was writing. It might mean big changes, but it invariably makes a deeper and more authentic story than the one I started with. This is just as true for memoir as it is for fiction
As I prepare for my fall writing classes, “Writing the Hidden Story”
» Read more about: Writing the Hidden Story »
Photo by Meryl Schenker
One of the cool things about taking teen writing at Bellevue College, is working with a published author. Lois Brandt (who is certifiably awesome) teaches Writing Short Stories in the Teenage Novelist program. Students rave about her classes, which have included the “Write a Novel in 30 Days” class she usually teaches in November (to go along with NaNoWriMo) and “Editing Your Manuscript.”
» Read more about: An Interview with Author Lois Brandt + teen writing with Lois at Bellevue College »
This poem, by Jim Hall, is one of my favorite mashups, and I often read it in Talking to Your Characters and in Teen Poets at Bellevue College.
To see Jim Hall’s take on his poem, as well as the entire poem printed out, go here.
Another game to try! Do one OR MORE of the following:
» Read more about: Character Mashup–“Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem, Too” »
And here’s what to do if you find yourself in such a situation:
A) If you are the wizard
- Realize that this is probably your fault.
- However, if you are a somewhat unstable wizard, seek similarly unstable companion-wizards. A consortium of this kind tends to wake up sleeping orcs, which will alleviate boredom.
- Once you’ve got a suitable wizarding cadre with the requisite number of wicked creatures in pursuit,
» Read more about: A Wizard, a Rock Star and an Alchemist Walk Into a Parallel Universe »