May 30, 2007, 1:36 AM
Post #59 of 148
I'll try and keep it short and simple.
Re: [Junior Maas] UC Riverside
--I learned what a story was (a character developing, desiring, overcoming, deciding through scenes); you'd think this would be a no-duh, but it was important to define for me
--I understand that diction controls voice
--That the world of story comes across through scenes and that scenes must be crucial and link to the next.
--that the writer's job is to keep the reader reading (narrative tension)
--that short stories have to start fast
--that details make a story and dialogue makes a character
--like Anne Lamott says, it really is bird by bird. One word at a time, then one sentence, then one paragraph, one scene and then repeat
--i learned about the short sentence, and the long sentece, the lasting image, the beauty of gesture and facial expressions.
--from the poets, I learned to love words and their sounds, how to use the lyrical line to create image and voice
--good writing can have plot and they are not mutually exclusive. That the fiction writers other main job is to tell a story, before cool language experiments, before dry sardonic wit, before showing how smart, sensitive, funny they are.
A story stars a character in a bind and though it's a simplistic way to start, I often imagine how I would explain my story in one line, like in jacket copy. For example: Will Viet get across town to see Neema while the riots rage on? What happens when the boys want to party in the shi-shi part of town the night before theyleave for college?
I hope that doesn't sound too easy, but it's the stuff on my mind. I've also taken two notebooks worth of notes about smaller details as well. I plan on typing it all up one day and using it to teach workshop one day.
And most of all, I challenge all speakeasy readers to find a program with a faculty as large and diverse (thematically and stylistically, and ethnically) as ours. Just off the top of my head I count 4 poetry professors, 4 fiction profs, and 3 non-fiction profs. (And with cross genre work, actually 7 profs write and teach fiction). Where are you gonna find that many folks to help you out? And these are creative writing profs, not English profs who have to teach lit classes, as we are the only UC school with a creative writing major (which also helps with teaching experience). It's all craft, seminar, workshop, or independent studies.
Hope that was an adequate sampler.