Saturday, November 26, 2016

Readers versus Writers

Jess Walter and Dana Spiotta will be speaking next Saturday at Inside the Writer's Studio presented by Lighthouse Writers Workshop. In anticipation of their visit, I attended Lighthouse's Writer's Studio Book Club where we discussed Walter's Beautiful Ruins and Spiotta's Innocents and Others. We talked mostly about narrative structure, but at times the conversation got heated when we debated who wrote the better book. Having read all of Walter's novels and even taught a seminar from his Beautiful Ruins, I was definitely his champion. However, Spiotta had her fans. Not everybody involved in the back-and-forth was a writer; some were there because they are readers and wanted to share their opinions. The episode got me thinking about the conceit we writers can have about the writing process. Since we're intimately involved with the mechanics of putting words on paper and trying to have the effort make sense, we assume we have a better understanding of what makes for a good story. Just because we're more familiar with the ingredients, we think we can whip up a better meal. Conversely--and to build on that food metaphor--I may not be a chef, but I know a good dinner when I taste it.

Blog Bonus!

I wrote a piece of short fiction for the world in Aaron Michael Ritchey's steampunk opus, The Juniper Wars. In Book One, Dandelion Iron, a trio of gunslinging sisters brave a post-apocalyptic wilderness to save their family ranch. My story, "Ezekiel 37:38," let me tap into my evangelical roots as I explored the early days following nuclear disaster. It's a tough place to be. Check it out here.

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