Category: Story Development

Remick and Ray Interview Max Detrano

We interviewed Max Detrano between February 20th and February 27th, 2014. R&R: We’re interested in the techniques and processes of writing. So let’s start there. First let me say, thank you for including me in this interview process. I am flattered and grateful, though unsure that I have much to contribute. Most of all I want to thank you, Bob and Jack, for all the hours, days, months and years you have devoted to mentoring writers, creating a scheduled place, a sacred space for the madness that we know as timed writing here in Seattle. If it were not for the two of you, I don’t think that would have happened.  R&R: You practice timed writing. What is timed writing? I sit down at a crowded table at Louisa’s Cafe. The timer is set. At two-thirty all heads bow. I write without looking up till the buzzer sounds. I write fast. It’s best done with other people, in a noisy place full of distractions, because that’s what puts me in the zone. Because I can’t cheat. I can’t get up and make a sandwich like I would at home. Once done, I have something. Not always something good, but something. Once upon a time an aspiring poet asked William Stafford if it was true that he wrote a poem everyday before breakfast. He nodded that, Yes, it is true....

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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...

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A Short Course in Structure: Small Print Magazine

Coming November 1: Small Print Magazine is a print, online, digital resource. This issue is loaded with fiction, poetry, NaNoWriMo cues and tips as well as craft work. Steve Brannon, publisher/editor is running my A Short Course in Structure in several installments. First installment coming in the Fall Issue, November 1, 2013. Logo and urls below. Check it out. Just in time for NaNoWriMo 2013. Check out submission guidelines for the upcoming issues. http://smallprintmagazine.com http://smallprintmagazine.com/contributors/ http://smallprintmagazine.com/submission-form/ Share this:TweetShare on TumblrEmailLike this:Like...

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Subtext and the Biological Code

Subtext in a Scene—Biology and the Three Goods  ©2013 by Robert J Ray             Subtext is one key to a good story. Subtext is that unseen turmoil boiling under the surface of your tale. To create subtext, you can use the ritual of sexual selection, your character’s choice of a date or a mate. To create drama in the selection ritual, we focus on two characters, one female and one male. To get drama, we deploy the three goods: good genes, good resources, and good behavior. Three Examples of the Three Goods             The guests are 30-something, educated, attractive, a mixture of singles, marrieds, and divorced persons. The male is Claude, the female is named Eileen. Claude is handsome. He’s sporting a Rolex and driving a Mercedes. Eileen is attractive. She has no car; she came to the party with a friend. Claude is witty. He tells a good story. Eileen is reserved, formal. She’s attracted to Claude. Her secret in this scene is her borrowed wardrobe. She loves good clothes. Two days before the party, Eileen was laid off. One week before the party, she broke off a relationship. She is polite, well-mannered, a lady. What’s going on in the subtext? To find out, we decode the details. Handsome is code for good genes. Mercedes and Rolex code for good resources. Claude has two goods out of a...

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Tips for Page One–The Scene Profile–Part Three of Three

This is part three of a three part series on editing, rewriting, and scene performance ©2013 by Robert J. Ray Page One is a big deal. That’s where you grab the reader. If you’re writing a mystery, you open with a corpse. If you’re writing a thriller, you open with your agent in trouble. But what if you’re writing a book about life’s little ironies? A book like Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam. A quick look at Amsterdam: it’s short, around 200 pages. The story has no overt violence, no murder scenes, no car chases ,no hitmen, no automatic weapons fired by crazy people. It’s an adult book,  no major characters under forty. The cast is adult, educated people with solid footholds in society. The dialogue is crisp, the characters subtle and snide. Amsterdam is a satire – a good model if you have a yen to write ironic – and its opening—Page One and After—gives every would-be novelist a lesson Page One of Amsterdam opens outside a London mausoleum, where two ex-lovers, Clive and Vernon, are sparring over the memories of a woman named Molly Lane. She’s the character inside the mausoleum. If you turn the page, you meet more ex-lovers (one of them a Cabinet minister) and the husband, George Lane. The story of Amsterdam is the husband’s Revenge Quest on his dead wife’s lovers. Your task is building...

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©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.