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  • 1. Fiction Writing 261 Creative Writing Seminar 06/04/09
    Review your Mission Statement Define what is the art of Fiction Define the Elements for Creating a Story/Scene Intro of Conflict, rise in conflict, resolution Write the ending to this story Creating Characters - Where do they come from?
  • 2.
    • Create Mission Statement
      • Why am I a writer?
        • List specific incidents that sparked your interest
        • Do you have a muse, a recurring theme
        • Do you use a specific voice, locale or character
        • When do you write? For how long and how often?
    06/04/09
  • 3. Fiction - The Transformation of the Real into Artifact
    • Fiction does not present real life but bears a relationship to it.
      • Think of the Joyce piece, and how it transcends the real.
      • Fiction is not mere reportage
      • Some sense of meaning or complexity evolves from the scene.
    • Your idea, particularly if it comes from true-life experience, must undergo a transformation before it becomes a novel.
      • This transformation is turning the real into the symbolic.
    06/04/09
  • 4. Elements of Creating Scene
    • Conflict – There has to be a hook, a situation which intrigues the reader, which makes them want to continue reading.
    • Natural rise in the conflict – this can be in the interiority of a character’s head or a verbal spat between characters.
    • Confrontation – can be explicit or understated
    • Resolution –which does not necessarily mean a happy ending
    06/04/09
  • 5. Creating a Story
    • My wife and I have a friend named Larry who just went through a horrendous divorce. My wife ran into him at the mall. He looked terrible—sad and despondent. He sounded even worse than he looked, so she invited him over for dinner to try to cheer him up. Larry’s an old friend, so we know what he likes. My wife cooked his favorite food and I bought a bottle of his favorite scotch. We had a nice dinner and let Larry know we would be there for him whenever he needed us. He could call anytime night or day. No matter what, we would be there to help him through this. Larry felt better. We felt better. He went home happy. We went to bed happy. It was a great night, all around, for everybody. That’s the end of the story.
    06/04/09
  • 6.
    • I’ve got a touch of bronchitis or flu the day Larry is coming for dinner. I’m not feeling great, so I stay home to rest up so I won’t let Larry down.
    • Now, the flu is a minor detail, but I want you to decide whether you want it in or out. You don’t have to have a reason—just a feeling. Remember, this is not flu we’re talking about. This is story and in story, everything counts. Nothing is along for the ride. So, the flu is in.
    • Larry comes over. We have a few drinks. He and my wife are both smokers. The smoking makes it hard to breath, but I say nothing. I want all of us to get along. Before we get to dinner, they run out of cigarettes. “I’ll go get them,” I say. “I want to get out of this haze and clear my lungs.”
    • I head out for the corner store to get their smokes. It’s a nice walk, having a sudden moment alone just to think about things. I get their cigarettes and head back, but instead of walking up the front walk, I decide to take the shortcut down the alley. I’m walking down the alley, relaxing, breathing fresh air, looking at the yards. Now, our kitchen sticks out from the back of the house and has a window in which I can see Larry and my wife. As I come through the yard, I see they’re having a rather intense conversation. My wife is especially lively. I haven’t seen her that bubbly in months.
    • My wife says something. I don’t hear what she said, but Larry laughs, opening his arms. They embrace and have a nice long kiss.
    • I figure, “Heck with it. What do I care? Everybody cheats. Look at Clinton.” Then I go in, we have a nice dinner, pledge our friendship to Larry, and wind up good friends just like before.
    • The End
    06/04/09
  • 7.
    • “ Hi, guys,” I say happily as I come in. “Here’s the smokes.”
    • They are slightly taken aback, but thank me and both light up to hide any sense of embarrassment. Larry pours himself some scotch. “How’d it go while I was gone?” I say, flopping into a kitchen chair.
    • “ Fine,” my wife says. “How about you, Lar? Enjoy yourself in my absence?”
    • He glances at my wife. “Sure,” he says. He makes an attempt at smiling.
    • “ Good. I was worried you might get lonely. But when I saw you through the window, I could see you didn’t need me to entertain you.”
    • “ Well,” Larry says. “We both missed you and we’re glad you’re back.”
    • “ That’s right, honey,” my wife says. “It’s not the same without you.”
    • “ Of course not,” I say. “Say, hand me the butcher knife, darling.”
    • “ Butcher knife, what for?”
    • “ No reason. I just feel like holding it.”
    • “ Don’t be silly,” she says.
    • “ No, really. Indulge me.”
    • “ Will you stop,” she says.
    • “ Stop what? You don’t trust me with a knife? What is this: No sharp objects for the lunatic?”
    • “ Very funny,” she says.
    • Larry stares at me, smiling weakly.
    • “ Afraid I’ll hurt myself—slit my wrists—or my throat? What do you think, Lar? Can I be trusted with a knife in my own kitchen with my best friend and my loyal wife?”
    • “ Of course, you can,” Larry says flatly, then downs his scotch.
    • “ Damn right. Hear that, angel? Larry trusts me. He trusts you. We all trust each other. So pass me the knife, sweets.”
    06/04/09
  • 8. Rewrite Ending
    • Logically finish out this story. Keep in mind the nature of the characters so there is a sense of continuity to how the story unfolds.
  • 9. Creating Characters
    • Where do Your Characters Come From?
      • From Within (1 st Person)
        • Usual choice of beginning writers. Why?
        • Limited Perspective
        • Artifice of Fiction Subverted in using 1 st Person
      • Observed (3 rd Person)
        • Something observed in another person
        • Omniscient or semi-omniscient
        • Range of Perspectives
        • Issue of action and plot are complicated
    06/04/09
  • 10. Character Primer Exercise 1 st Person
    • When the phone rang at two in the morning, I knew ____________
    • When I got out of rehab for the second time, there were some legal complications.
    • Ever since ______ died, I've gotten into the strangest habits.
    • Last night I had that dream again, the one I told you about last time.
    • Since nobody will believe me anyway, I might as well tell my version of the story.
    • Frank is the kind of man who makes women __________________. Believe me, I know.
    • I know that rumors are flying all over town. They're probably saying that I _________
    06/04/09
  • 11. Analyze Your Exercise
      • What is the conflict in your story?
      • Is there a rise in tension?
      • What’s the confrontation?
      • How is the conflicted resolved?
    • If you can’t identify the conflict, then you need to rewrite your story. We as readers need to know what the conflict is immediately!
    06/04/09
  • 12. Develop Character Through Sketching
    • Get into the psyche/world of the character you’ve created:
      • What is his/her name?
      • Age, height, body shape, hair color, skin color?
      • Typical outfit to wear?
      • Method of transportation?
      • Immediate plan, long-range goal?
      • What kind of house/home/apartment?
      • What city/country/location?
      • Does he/she have a pet? What kind?
      • Best friend?
      • Favorite food?
      • Hobby?
      • Philosophical attitude?
      • Favorite book? Last-read book?
    06/04/09
  • 13. Re-inhabit Character
    • Quick Review of Our Process:
    • Writing in stages is an essential element of fiction. In the first exercise, we’ve:
    • Created a voice/character
    • Reviewed the voice/character and done a character inventory. Hopefully in our process we have asked the questions:
        • What kind of world could my character inhabit? Is this high-school, college, a nursing home, a city, a rural town?
        • What is my character’s relationship to that world? Is the voice melancholy, cheerful, disrespectful?
        • What potential conflicts can my character face given his/her age and situation in life?
    • Now Re-inhabited the voice and begin your story again, now with a sense of direction or story in mind.
    06/04/09
  • 14. In Summation
    • Keep asking yourself the following when writing!
    • What is the Conflict ?
    • Am I confronting/heightening/exploring that conflict?
    • How might it come to a crisis moment
    06/04/09