Category: Point of View

Remick and Ray Interview Joel Chafetz

 Joel Chafetz is the author of The Chaff. We interviewed Joel between February 5 and February 9, 2014.The novel is on amazon.com and other mainstream outlets.  R&R: In this interview, we want to focus on technique and process in your writing of The Chaff rather than on story so we’ll get right to it: How did you get to this place? Why did you write this novel at this time? JC: I used to think of myself as a short story writer. I believe that the meat grinder of critique – getting feedback from writers I trusted – would hone my skills or at least remind me to deal with the weaknesses of my prose. Combining multiple views of writers with different focuses, strengths and insights helped me clarify what I couldn’t see in my own work. Then, over twenty years ago I started writing practice, structured timed writing. It helped develop the writing of scenes, develop voice,  push a story to the end. This added to my focus of what I thought writing should be, do, become. The short story, novel, poem, creative non-fiction prose, all are the products of the narrative. Robert Olin Butler said about short stories, “I have this to say about that.” Butler also said of the novel, “I have all these things to say about that.” My struggle in trying to write a...

Read More

The Power of Flashbacks, Point of View & Grid Work

Flashbacks, Point of View, and Grid Work in The English Patient © 2013 by Robert J Ray The English Patient has a zigzag structure that slides between past and present, between desert and Villa, between the Thirties in Africa and 1944 in Italy. Unlike All the King’s Men, which is told by a single narrator, The English Patient has four points of view, one for each of Ondaatje’s four protagonists: Nurse, Patient, Thief, and Sapper. The book  opens in the Nurse’s point of view. The year is 1944. The place is Italy. As the Nurse climbs steep steps to tend the Patient, the writer uses the image of a bird drifting down to set up his flashback structure: “There are stories the man recites quietly into the room which slip from level to level like a hawk.” The image of the hawk informs the reader about the zigzag structure of time-slippage that defines this book. On the third page of the novel, the point of view shifts to the Patient – “I fell burning into the desert.” – and the trap door opens, dropping us into the African desert in wartime, when the Allies fought the Axis over oil. This time-dance between past and present, between Patient and Nurse, continues throughout Chapter One. In Chapter Two, the Thief takes over the point-of-view, then alternates with the Nurse and the...

Read More

Flashbacks and Point of View

Flashbacks and Point of View ©2013 by Robert J. Ray Flashbacks  and POV in The English Patient The English Patient has a zigzag structure that slides between past and present, between desert and Villa, between the Thirties in Africa and 1944 in Italy. Unlike All the King’s Men, which is told by a single narrator, The English Patient has four points of view, one for each of Ondaatje’s four protagonists: Nurse, Patient, Thief, and Sapper. The book  opens in the Nurse’s point of view. The year is 1944. The place is Italy. As the Nurse climbs steep steps to tend the Patient, the writer uses the image of a bird drifting down to set up his flashback structure: “There are stories the man recites quietly into the room which slip from level to level like a hawk.” The image of the hawk informs the reader about the zigzag structure of time-slippage that defines this book. On the third page of the novel, the point of view shifts to the Patient – “I fell burning into the desert.” – and the trap door opens, dropping us into the African desert in wartime, when the Allies fought the Axis over oil. This time-dance between past and present, between Patient and Nurse, continues throughout Chapter One. In Chapter Two, the Thief takes over the point-of-view, then alternates with the Nurse and the...

Read More

Who Do You Listen To?

Who Do You Listen To? After I came across a very brave and unique novel titled: Taliban Escape by Aabra  which was reviewed in The Dark Phantom Review, I remembered an exchange I had with a fellow writer and former student. I want to post it here for anyone visiting this blog as a reminder of why we write: Writer: I’m trying hard to maintain the last bit of writing advice you provided, “write what you want, the way you want.” That’s hard, especially with two friends criticizing it. Right now, if I take them seriously, I need to go back and almost start over with my work-in-progress.” JR: Yes, that’s a tough one. One short answer is to listen but choose what to change if anything. The way I see it, we have this ideal story in our heads. It’s endless, but when you write, the readers plug in what you write and if it doesn’t connect somewhere to the universal story, they get this disjunction and their pencils move. What that gives us then is the issue of who’s doing the writing. But even deeper is the question of vision–-readers want you to tell them the story they want to hear. It’s your job to tell them a story they’ve never heard. If you can’t get past the universal, then you add nothing to the inventory of...

Read More

Going Cosmic with Timed Writing

Going Cosmic–The Power of Writing Practice ©2011 By Jack Remick & Robert J. Ray Writing practice, writing under the clock, frees you from the clutches of the infernal ghost in the culture machine – the editor. The editor, wrapped in rules and logic, dresses up like mom, and dad, and the third grade teacher who taught you to dot your I’s and cross your T’s, and begin every sentence with a capital letter. The editor, logic posing as a rocket scientist  puts astronauts on the moon, builds atomic bombs, creates architectural marvels out of steel and concrete and glass – but the editor cannot open the doorway to the creative unconscious. Helpless in the clutches of the ghost in the culture machine, the language dies a cold, cold death. The dead language is all around us. It is around us in Pentagon obfu-speak, it is around us in oprahesque-tele-babble, it is around us in politico-pseudo-psycho chatter, it is around us in the punchless wonders of thickly paragraphed novels marching over the edge of the world like literary lemmings – weak verb, soft noun, zero conflict, washed out, pale skinned three-legged lemmings. With writing practice, writing under the clock, you shoulder the dead language aside to discover the energy of your creative powers. The dead language: “He slipped out of the room to look for the clock, and by his...

Read More

Start Lines from Twitter

DIAGRAMS

Follow our Blog

Robert J Ray

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.