Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Link Corral: Living the Writing Life, How To Write Great Physical Descriptions, Thinking about Form, Poems Posted on Redux

How to be a wandering writer, living on $20,000 a year:

“I am a perpetual stranger, moving to a new city every year.  I’m not a businessman, or an international superstar for that matter. I’m a writer. My average yearly income hovers just north of $20,000 and comes from waiting tables and manning the till at bookstores. I live on little. I plan and I save.

“When my itinerary was loosely designed six years ago, my main motivation was to gain greater life experience to inform my fiction. Much like people who save money to buy a house or to pay for their children’s education, I budget to live a writer’s life.

“Seattle will be my seventh city in seven years. I have never before set foot in this bastion of coffee and computers. I arrive with only a few contacts in my phone and a roommate whom I’ve met through e-mail and Facebook.  There is no work lined up for me, and my bank account holds just enough money to last me a couple of months before paying rent becomes a crisis.

“This is where you panic. This is where I get started.”

Read on in The Washington Post.


“I hate describing characters. I hate having to find artful, subtle ways to describe the same old things: hair, face, hands, legs, eyes. Everybody has them, and they only come in so many colors, so many shapes or sizes. Why do I have to make them seem unique? Why do I have to find ways to describe my characters without sounding like I’m describing them?”

I agree.  That’s why I thought Chris Abouzeid’s "Gettin’ Physical: The Dos and Don’ts of Character Description," on Beyond the Margins, was so helpful, offering concrete tips to aid in this dreaded writer’s task.


Five ways of thinking about form, by K.L Cook, in the Glimmer Train bulletin:

“Form is, I think, the most difficult element of craft for any writer, especially the fiction writer, to understand and master. It can, and probably should, take a lifetime. That's certainly been the case for me. In all of my stories and books, both the published and unpublished ones, I strive to understand not only my subject but also how to give my narratives the most effective shape and focus. That has sometimes been a painfully long process, but in most cases it's been a source of aesthetic pleasure and an integral part of my apprenticeship and ongoing development as a writer. Helping my students figure out their subject matter and discover the traditions and forms that give their stories meaning has been and continues to be one of my most important goals as teacher. Form, in fact, is the element of craft that most shapes the design and organization of my creative writing courses—such as Sudden Fiction, Short Story Cycle, and Forms of Fiction. The primary thing I've learned is that there is no magic recipe, no special secret. There are, instead, many different ways to think about form….”

Read the rest.


Be sure to check out Hailey Leithauser's poetry, just posted on Redux:  http://reduxlitjournal.blogspot.com/2011/10/3-four-poems-by-hailey-leithauser.html


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