Category: Writing About Writing

Remick and Ray Interview Janet Yoder

We interviewed Janet Yoder in March & April 2014  R&R: You write in three forms: essays, creative non-fiction, and short stories. What is the difference between “essay” and “creative non-fiction?”   Is a short story different from “creative non-fiction?” JY:     To me, essays and creative nonfiction are essentially the same. Some publications use one term and some the other. I divide my essays into two categories: 1) personal essays inspired by my 30-year friendship with Skagit tribal teacher Vi Hilbert and 2) all other essays. My short stories are definitely fiction. I wrote a novel set in Indian Country but tucked it away in a drawer and I sometimes work on a new novel set in eastern Washington in between work on essays and short fiction. R&R: What are the techniques of fiction that you use in essay and creative nonfiction—if any?  JY:     I try to develop any real person I write about as I would a fictional character, trying to understand what makes that person tick. Lately I am concentrating on the idea of place in both essay and fiction. Looking at geology, mythology, plants, animals, weather, and the cultures of a place.  R&R: When do you decide on the form? Do you start writing and watch the words morph into something? Or do you know the form before you start writing? JY:     I wish I decided on...

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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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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...

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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.