Thursday, March 10, 2011

ROW80 Check-In--3/9/11

I'm still here! Just keep missing updates.  The cattle prod needs to be utilized to get me to post these updates.  Anyway, I feel like I'm on the verge of a breakthrough.  I can't explain it and I'm not sure if other writers experience this (I'm sure they do), but the feeling is there nonetheless. 

I was at the library today printing out some stuff and checking out some research material and I came across this book:  The Secret Miracle:  The Novelist's Handbook edited by Daniel Alarcon.  Here's the synopsis from goodreads

The world's best contemporary writers -- from Michael Chabon and Claire Messud to Jonathan Lethem and Amy Tan -- engage in a wide-ranging, insightful, and oft-surprising roundtable discussion on the art of writing fiction.

Drawing back the curtain on the mysterious process of writing novels, The Secret Miracle brings together the foremost practitioners of the craft to discuss how they write. Paul Auster, Roddy Doyle, Allegra Goodman, Aleksandar Hemon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Haruki Murakami, George Pelecanos, Gary Shteyngart, and others take us step by step through the alchemy of writing fiction, answering everything from nuts-and-bolts queries -- Do you outline? -- to perennial questions posed by writers and readers alike -- What makes a character compelling? -- From Stephen King's deadpan distinction between novels and short stories ("Novels are longer and have more s**t in them") to Colm Toibin's anti-romanticized take on his characters ("They are just words") to Manuel Prieto's mature perspective on the anxieties of influence ("Influences are felt or weigh you down more when young"), every page contains insights found nowhere else.

With honesty, humor, and elegance, The Secret Miracle gives both aspiring writers and lovers of literature a master class in the art of writing.

Some of my favorite authors are featured in the pages of this book and it's really inspiring to hear them talk about different aspects of their writing.  And it's broken down into categories so I can just read the parts that I find most helpful. 

The journaling has stagnated somewhat, but I'm renewing my efforts on that front.  And I'm working on utilizing the list method like my friend J. at 365 Days of Novel Writing.  Hopefully, I'll have a good system in place, be journaling in full swing, and have the bud of a story by the time this round ends.  I will say...I'm determined. *puts on determined face*


  1. That book sounds interesting. I wonder if I can find that in audio form, I like to listen to books like that, it just sinks in better. I'll have to look for it. Thanks for the suggestion. My writing has stagnated. I'm working with 2 books myself. Accidental Genius, and The 90 Day Novel. Both of these books focus on free writing as a way to unlock a story within.

  2. Do you have this blog's feed going to Twitter? If so, I totally missed this post. It won't happen again. I've cleaned up who I'm following, so I can keep better track of friends.


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