Today's blog is a mini-workshop for writers, on the subject of conflict in narrative.
For emerging writers, one of the most important aspects of story-telling is conflict. Something has to happen in a narrative, and what happens has to matter. By which I mean that whatever your protagonist wants has to be IMPORTANT -- it has to have gravitas; it has to fully engage the reader.…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on January 30, 2013 at 3:20pm — No Comments
There are few more exciting moments for a writer than the one when the cover of a new book is revealed. So, I'm delighted to share with you the cover for my next novel, THE EMPTY ROOM, which will be out in Canada with Harper Collins, May 2013.
I must say, I quite love the cover. Although I know the 'rule' of graphic design is to have the figure looking…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on October 8, 2012 at 5:10pm — No Comments
Okay, so let's talk about that big old heffalumping elephant sitting across the desk from me. OUR DAILY BREAD did not make it onto the short list of the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.
On the other hand, I'm not really that disappointed. To feel more than a modest amount of deflation would be, I think, to waggle my buttocks with ingratitude in the face of unexpected bounty. Let's face it, if I hadn't been on longlisted for the…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on October 4, 2012 at 9:30am — No Comments
We wake up this morning to more dreadful news. Riots and attacks in Libya, Yeman, Egypt. Good people dead. Intolerance and ignorance exploding everywhere.
I am prone, as I have said before, to the droops. The world gets me down. Some days more than others, and these days cruelty, selfishness, intolerance, ignorance and self-righteousness abound. An election year in America is enough to make one want to go back to bed and hide under the covers until it's all over -- and that's…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on September 13, 2012 at 7:25am — No Comments
All prizes are, of course, as much a matter of luck and timing as anything else. I know there were some wonderful books published this year that didn't make it…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on September 4, 2012 at 7:16am — No Comments
I've been meaning to write a blog for a few days now, but I keep starting and then stopping. There seems so much to say, about many things: the US election, my 'magical uterus', hurricanes, what constitutes rape, gun ownership and now this --…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on August 28, 2012 at 4:25pm — No Comments
There's an interesting piece about literary criticism in the Aug. 15, 2012 New York Times, written by literary critic Dwight Garner, called "A Critic's Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical." It's a fun article to read, peppered as it is with just the sorts of anecdotes that make us want to read…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on August 16, 2012 at 6:30am — No Comments
I have been reading seriously for a long time. And I can't imagine a life without books. As someone wise once said, "If you find reading boring, you're not doing it right."
Which begs the question, what does it mean to "do it right?"
I have a lovely writing journal. It's leather bound and has my name embossed in gold on the front. I resisted such a journal for a long time, preferring to write in little throw-away notebooks. However, the reason I love this one is that the pages themselves are refillable, so I can write as much nonsense as I like and not worry about it, since I can take the pages out and replace them, keeping the pretty cover. If you're interested,…Continue
I was teaching a writing workshop on Saturday and the subject of reading came up, as it often does. Students are not surprised when I suggest that, if they really want to be writers, they also have to be readers. What does seem to surprise some of them, though, is how much reading I suggest they do as a minimum requirement for the writers' life: a book a week for life.…
I watched a truly dreadful film on HBO recently, called "Hemingway & Gellhorn." Sadly, a more laughable portrayal of the two writers in question cannot be…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on June 25, 2012 at 11:45am — No Comments
Students and readers often ask me how I keep my creative fires stoked, so here's a list I'm working on. They are primarily for writers, but would work for anyone seeking to be…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on May 23, 2012 at 7:33am — No Comments
I recently reviewed Jeanette Winterson's terrific new memoir -- WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL -- for Truthdig.com. Here's the first bit:
Added by Lauren B. Davis on March 30, 2012 at 5:45am — No Comments
I heard from an emerging writer recently who said she’d been crushed, devastated, destroyed by the feedback she’s received on her book, which she recently self-published, and by the lack of sales. She was so convinced it was brilliant. Now she feels as though readers are idiots or else she’s utterly deluded. Either way, she’s done. Quit. She won’t write again.
Back at the beginning of time, before self-publishing became so popular, writers developed over years,…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on March 22, 2012 at 6:01am — No Comments
Last week I received a request from one of the chaplains at the nearby hospital to visit a woman suffering from what may well be the last stages of alcoholism. This was her fourth time in hospital in twelve months.
I admit my heart sank.
Although I am part of a fellowship that understands helping other alcoholics get sober is the best way to stay sober oneself, such calls are often grim and sad. Still, of course, I agreed to go. I called a dear friend I'll call Ms. H., since…Continue
I lead a monthly writing workshop called SHARPENING THE QUILL, details of which you can find elsewhere…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on January 23, 2012 at 7:47am — No Comments
Lawrence Hill, a good friend and hugely successful writer, wrote to me recently to congratulate me on the success of my recent novel, OUR DAILY BREAD, which has been named to the Boston Globe and and The Globe & Mail as one of the best books of the year. (Yea!) Published by Wordcraft of Oregon, a independent press in the United States, it is also soon to be published by Harper Collins Canada. (Who originally turned the book…Continue
Added by Lauren B. Davis on January 3, 2012 at 7:46am — No Comments
Oh, Penguin, you've found my soft spot. Books, books, beautiful books, as alluring on the outside as you are on the inside.
Take a gander at these beauties:…
Added by Lauren B. Davis on December 15, 2011 at 8:48am — No Comments
Writing a novel is, of course, a mad undertaking. It begins with an effervescent, glimmering vision of perfection, which sets the writer off on her ink-stained quest, assured that THIS time she will reproduce the vision exactly, and as scintillatinglt as it first appeared. This mirage is quickly followed by the mossy-toothed skull of doubt, and then long months of slog, wherein the writer is often only propelled forward by a dogged sense of duty, and fatalism. In other words -- we keep…Continue
One of the greatest habits a writer can develop is that of observation. Observation is a form of discovery — we look at the mundane, the ordinary, and because we pay attention to it we see it in a new way. A visual artist may sit down in front of something — say a crow – he’s seen a thousand…Continue