Beginning, middle or end?

How do you start a novel? Every writer knows that each novel should include a definite beginning, middle, and end. But did you know those are also your starting options? Usually I think of a sentence that seems like the beginning of a novel and it grows from there. This sunrise method works well for exploratory … Continue reading Beginning, middle or end?

Lit! An elliptical book review

You say you're not a reader? Readers are made, not born. Like anything else, we learn to do it through practice. You read a lot or you want to read more, but you feel like you need direction? Look to the light of Lit! by Tony Reinke. The title is a clever play on words that intentionally … Continue reading Lit! An elliptical book review

Hand at the chest

Today's a wonderful Wednesday because in the process of reviewing Words for Readers and Writers: Spirit-Pooled Dialogues by Larry Woiwode, I found this quotation about deadlines that I've been searching for:Do you worry about the ethics of all-nighters?—when you have to hand in a story by a certain date and hour, a deadline? Let me affirm that all writing … Continue reading Hand at the chest

The End is near

During a workshop at Glen West, when someone asked Larry Woiwode how he begins a novel. He said, "Most often lately, I tend to see the ending, so I find the beginning and get to the end from there." I sighed. I'd never had that experience. In fact, most of the time I come up … Continue reading The End is near

Creator, creation, and creativity

Glen West 2013 perfectly blended creativity and community with work and worship. The tag line for Image Journal proclaims: Art, Faith, Mystery. At Glen West, those theoretical concepts became experiential realities. The high desert plateau setting of Santa Fe was new to me and played a crucial role in the entire experience. If I were talking about a novel, … Continue reading Creator, creation, and creativity

Pragmatism, inspiration, and redemption

During the fiction workshop at Glen West, the first and most frequent question instructor Larry Woiwode asked was: "Does it work?" That's the primary consideration. Either a piece of writing works or it doesn't. This may seem a rather pragmatic view, but it's crucial to establish a work's viability before going on to other important questions, … Continue reading Pragmatism, inspiration, and redemption

Telling the story eclipses intention and audience

Compressing everything I learned during my intensive Glen West workshop into brief blog posts seems impossible. But I can give you a taste through small samples. Last Friday, I focused on the first day and wrote about beginning to write by writing. Two of the many literary terms we discussed on subsequent workshop days were intention … Continue reading Telling the story eclipses intention and audience

Begin to write by writing

The post-it note centered above my computer monitor daily reminds me, "Begin to write by writing." It's a phrase that struck me during a writing course years ago. Anyone can think about writing, but you have to put your fingers on the keyboard and actually write if you want to be a writer. Readers of … Continue reading Begin to write by writing

The Glen West experience

How would you like to spend several days participating in a productive workshop and living within a creative community? Attend Glen West! Many years ago, Gideon Strauss and I chatted about Christianity and culture. I was writing a series of articles for Christian Renewal on Christians in the arts, and he's passionate about promoting art and leadership … Continue reading The Glen West experience

Post-Glen West

Glen West is an amazing, exhilarating, creative experience. Monday afternoon I returned home after spending several days as a participant in its fiction workshop under the instruction of Larry Woiwode. Remember how I recently reflected on the Place of Place?  That post quoted from Woiwode and concluded: Wouldn’t you love to learn more about place … Continue reading Post-Glen West