Here I blog about writing, editing, reading, books, submissions, freelancing, getting published (and rejected), journalism, revisions, life after the MFA, teaching writing, and living the writer's life. Welcome. BUT -- if you are a writer: Write first, read blogs second.




Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gold in Them Notebooks: Part 10

In these posts, I offer golden nuggets I heard from faculty members and visiting writers, which I scribbled into notebooks during my MFA program a few years back.

The following tidbits are from the first day of my first residency, and during that wonderful, tortuous session, I wasn't quite as careful to note who said what.
-The story must begin in the first sentence of the first page. Don't clear your throat. -Ground it in specifics before letting metaphors fly.
-Master the rules. Then forget them.
-The main character has to want something that seems somewhat unattainable.
-What's at stake? Is the character going through something difficult and can the reader root for him/her?
-There must be setbacks.
-The hunger to see things in a humorous way is a universal need for readers, even (or especially) in an otherwise sad story.
-- I believe he or she may have been paraphrasing Robert McKee.

The rest of the MFA Notebooks series can be found here.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

What a great idea. As a person without an MFA, these nuggets are great to read. I especially like the idea of not letting "metaphors fly" right away. I'll go check out your others--thanks!