Monday, February 11, 2008

Action Is Character: In Fiction, In Life

I had a great time at the WIW/AU Fiction Writing Seminar on Saturday, and met some new people, including mystery writer Austin S. Camacho, who offered to the group some useful comments about genre writing. There are quite a few lessons literary writers can learn from our friends in the various genres, and I’m hoping to persuade Austin to write a piece for us about that.

What comes to my mind first is to remember that even in a literary novel, THINGS NEED TO HAPPEN. Readers are reading to find out WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. You can’t spend all your time describing funny, quirky characters…your funny, quirky characters need to DO SOMETHING. And by DO SOMETHING, I don’t mean sit around a table at your quirky restaurant talking about themselves! Action is character, said Fitzgerald. Get your people moving! I truly think that’s the biggest hurdle writers trained in the short story workshop paradigm face when making the jump to writing a novel, realizing how vast a novel is and how so much more needs to happen to pull a reader through those 300 pages. More about that topic at some point, for sure!

And if “action is character,” Austin, author of six (!) books, is most definitely a man of character: after a full day at the conference, he headed off to Largo for two hours of book-signing…with more book signings scheduled in the future. He runs a blog about writing (with input from his wife about the demands of being a writer’s spouse!; check that out here). And his upcoming class about the new self-publishing option of print-on-demand (POD) sounds great. Here’s his announcement:

I will be teaching my class on Print-On-Demand Publishing Basics at Anne Arundel Community College from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. If you're interested in this form of self-publishing you can still sign up. Just contact AACC and tell them you want to be in course WRG-354.
Get the course details here.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.