Author: Jack Remick

Spine-Finder

©2010 by Jack Remick and Robert J Ray Bob sez: At writing practice—we write two days a week at Louisa’s Bakery on Eastlake in Seattle—Jack was having trouble working flashbacks into his story. So he wrote scene-summaries for his WIP (an acronym for work-in-progress). He tied them together with polar opposites– thick and thin: An old woman is thick with experience and objects. A young woman is thin: she has the body of a boy. No hips, no breasts. She comes to work for the old woman with only the clothes on her back. Her experience is thin. Working the Spine-finder, Jack saw his flashbacks dissolve when he laid his story out in chronological order. Problem solved–no need for the flashbacks. Here is a sliver of the story: In a scene called First Encounter, Gabriela moves to the Valley. She rides a bus down (thin). First instance on this plot track—the bus which has a long arc to the end of the story just before the Shop Woman Scene. She meets La Viuda. Gabriela has learned English, La Viuda speaks Spanish. They bond as Gabriela learns that she is the 12th woman Liah has hired and they have all failed. Gabriela learns the rules she has to live with. In a scene called The Boxes,(thick) Gabriela is introduced to the main reason she’s needed—La Viuda’s memory is failing (thin)and...

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From “Blood”

Ex-mercenary Hank Mitchell is doing five years hard time for stealing a tubful of women’s underwear. In the prison library Mitch re-discovers the novels of Genet and the Marquis de Sade and is inspired to write his own story–a saga of family deception, sexual obsession, and contract killing. But now his family wants him out and back in the killing game, a game where the rules are about to change… © by Jack Remick 2010 Excerpted from an early draft of “Blood”. 1. It’s hot in the laundromat. Hot and moist as the inside of a woman’s mouth. Sitting on the hard-backed metal chair beside the door, I wait for the red-headed woman to return. The magazine, an old issue of Car and Driver splays open on my lap to an article on the Audi R8, a street version of the machine that re-wrote the history of racing at Le Mans making it the perfect vehicle of the upward bound young man with two hundred thousand dollars to burn on new wheels. But I’m not interested in the R8 or the Audi record book or anything to do with wheels. I am interested in the contents of the red-headed woman’s dryer. The huge dryer spins to a stop. I check the wall clock: 11:30 PM. Maybe she fell asleep at the TV. Maybe her lover called. Maybe they are...

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The Language of Memoir

©2003 by Jack Remick and Robert J Ray The Language of Memoir: Family Archetypes: The Terrible Parent. The Terrible Other Warmup: In the Photograph, I see Inhabitant X wearing….(action: doing something)   Mini-lecture: Archetypes; family archetypes; the Terrible Parent; the Terrible Other.  Carl Jung and The Mother Archetype, the Father, Child, Crone, Triple Goddess, Master, Slave, Dragon. Ritual and Archetypes: a deeper look at ritual and how the ritual patterns reveals character. We are still looking at language: Elegance and grace, flexibility and rhythm and balance. Reminder of your role as Guardians of the language.    3. Break into Groups 1-3 Writers read Archetype passages you brought. Name the Inhabitants in the passage. Strip each Inhabitant down to Archetype: Mother, Father, Crone, Killer, Trickster. How do the Archetypes of family work? Who controls the rituals? Mother? Father? Grandmother? Grandfather? Who’s the Master? Who’s the Slave. Draw a ritual diagram for the ritual in the passage. Can you introduce more metaphor, simile, analogy, synecdoche, metonymy  for balance? Show State 1 Show the ritual of change Show State 2 . 4. Three-step rewrite. Step 1) Rewriting Archetype passage using Anadiplosis. Startline: Use a start line from your Archetype writing:   Write for 7 minutes. Make sure everyone has a start line. Step 2) Make a list of the archetypes in your writing. Add a trait/characteristic for each archetype. Write a chain of...

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Ritual in Memoir & Fiction

© 2010 by Jack Remick & Robert J. Ray Bob sez: Jack wrote this essay on ritual when we taught a 3-term memoir course at University of Washington Extension. He defined ritual for writers as “the quantum physics of narrative.” For writers, there are four useful rituals: barter – “here’s five bucks, gimme a beer” threshold crossing – “I drove through the door and smelled….” language lesson – “repeat after me” or “that’s not what I meant at all” trio: transformation (tattoo at 16), incorporation (joining the marines at 19), and separation (divorce, death, discharge) Jack’s essay grew out of a memoir by Lauren Slater called Lying. In the book, Slater crossed thresholds, she bartered, she took language lessons and gave some back, she went through the trio of transformation, incorporation, and separation – while she explored the ritual that controlled her existence – Lying. This essay shows writers how to use ritual in their writing. At first, ritual appears after you have written a scene. Later on, you’ll be more aware of ritual: “I smelled blood in the dust as the bull charged, my arms raised above my head, my sweaty hands gripping the bullfighter’s sword, staring into the red eye of the bull who charged me, his nose snorting, and….. Jack sez: At the center of the memoir moment there is ritual. At its root, ritual is...

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Scene Sequence

© 2010 by Jack Remick & Robert J. Ray “Poema pictura loquens, pictura poema silens” (poetry is a speaking picture, painting a silent poetry). Committing a story to memory is an important step in the development of your novel. The Scene Sequence is a tool you can use to get the through line working.  Once you have the scene sequence down you can write any scene in your novel at any time and it will connect. (See Hooks and Links for why this is important.) The technique is the following: You write the long arc for your protagonist–how she begins, how she ends. You then set out a story line by imagining the story broken up into scenes in much the same way you would watch a movie develop. Opening scene, next scene. Study a few film scripts before you take your first shot at this technique, then sit down in  writing practice and have a go. Write for thirty minutes. If you don’t get all the way through, take another thirty minute stab at it. Below is part of the Scene Sequence Jack put together for his novel, Gabriela Dominguez. Use the start line “My novel opens in a scene called…” A Scene Sequence for GD 1. GD opens in a scene called Exodus. GD and her mother are walking from their village to town to see a...

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Copyright & Excerpts

©2010-2017 Jack Remick, Robert J. Ray. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including text and images, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Short excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray and "Bob and Jacks Writing Blog" with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.