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Idea Development

The Being-for-Itself

The Being-for-Itself

A session with Leora Skolkin-Smith In 1969, Jane Alpert a good-looking upper-middle-class Jewish girl who was an honors student at Swarthmore College, conspired to bomb eight government and commercial office buildings in New York City. She was arrested when other participants in her group were caught planting dynamite in National Guard trucks. She pleaded guilty […]

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Scope

Scope

A Session with KM Cholewa What if you haven’t travelled the world or don’t have an interest in researching the kitchen implements or dress codes of another era?  What if your novel takes place over a single dinner party and there are no flashbacks in time and no flashbacks of travel over land and sea? Under […]

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Connecting Characters to Ideas

Connecting Characters to Ideas

A Session with Robert M. Herzog My novel, A World Between, began with musings about the nature of matter. That’s probably not the first thing you think about when creating compellingly readable fiction. Yet those ideas, a speculation on the duality of matter – its strange ability to appear as both particles and waves – […]

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Creating Characters Who Are Both Strong and Vulnerable

Creating Characters Who Are Both Strong and Vulnerable

A Session with James LePore When I think of interesting characters, I think of chiaroscuro, the technique in painting, made famous by Caravaggio, of darkening the shadows and fixing the subject in a bright, almost otherworldly shaft of light. There is an acute, almost feral, reality, to Caravaggio’s work. You are mesmerized, and at the same […]

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Using Flashbacks

Using Flashbacks

A Session with Tanya Anne Crosby “Show, don’t tell!” Any writer whose been at the craft for any length of time has heard this edict time and again. It sounds easy enough; it’s harder than it seems. But I didn’t learn to recognize this literary sin until I abandoned fiction for a few years and […]

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Giving a Story Scale Even When the Focus is Narrow

Giving a Story Scale Even When the Focus is Narrow

A Session with Peter Murphy The unplanned trilogy To begin with, I should tell you that I never intended to write the story of Danny Boyle as a trilogy. Life & Times happened because I made three separate efforts to tell Danny’s story from different points in his life. Each grew to about one hundred […]

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Going Deep in a Sensory Bath: The Art of Immersive Fiction

A session by Dr. John L. Hart and Olivia Rupprecht The scent of Mary Jane and incense and the sound of Fleetwood Mac wafted through the air of Haight Ashbury. A shave-headed goateed hipster in bell bottoms and classic Air Jordans flashed a peace sign that didn’t match his snarled, “What’s your bag, dude?” Izzy […]

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 ON WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION

 ON WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION

A Session with Leora Skolkin-Smith Susan Sontag in her piece, “The Imagination of Disaster “ wrote, “Ours is an age of extremity. For we live under continual threat: of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most […]

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Walking the Line Between Fiction and Fact

Walking the Line Between Fiction and Fact

A Session with KJ Steele Let’s be honest. Writing fiction can sometimes be a bit of a rebellious romp of literary freedom. When else do you ever get to create and orchestrate the minute details of someone else’s life? You can say what you want to say and do what you want to do. Ditch the […]

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Chemistry: A Primer

Chemistry: A Primer

A Session with Marcia Gloster According to Webster’s dictionary, Chemistry is first described as science that deals with the composition, structure, and properties of substances and with the transformations that they undergo. The description immediately following reads, “The complex emotional or psychological interaction between two people.” So be it. Here, on one hand, you have […]

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