Choose Your Own Adventure?


In our last meeting, we had a small discussion on the old Choose Your Own Adventure books (which are slowly making a comeback).  These books were very popular during the 1980’s into the mid-1990s, and offered readers the ability to choose the direction in which the story would go–of course, there were limited options, but still the reader had choice.  One could think of these books as the meeting of literature and games.

Interested in reading one, click the link above to purchase a new title, or click the following link to read one online:  Escape from Tenopia Island



Flannery O’Connor Short Story Reading


Last week, we read and analyzed the first page of Flannery O’Connor‘s short story Revelation, and worked on understanding the difference between reading as a reader and reading as a writer.  This week, we will continue that theme.  Whether or not you are able to join us, check out Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose, which will definitely help you in understanding how shifting the way in which you read can improve your writing.

Learn more about O’Connor.

You can read more of O’Connor’s stories  below:

Short Story Continues!


Today, we will continue learning and working on short stories.  The goal for the story ideas started last week is to evolve them into full-fledge short stories or even a novella.  For an example of a novella, I am posting a link to Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis for you to read.

Last week, we discussed the importance of three-dimensional characters, setting, and starting the middle of action or a moment.  Specifically, we looked at establishing key elements within the first paragraph of our stories that will hook readers.  Check out The Write Practice’s advice on writing the perfect first line: 7 Keys to Writing the Perfect First Line of a NovelMoving beyond the first line to the remainder of the page, read How to Write the Perfect First Page.

Below, I have posted the first page of The Metamorphosis.  Read it, and afterwards consider what information about the main character, setting, etc. you learned from the first line to the entirety of the page.  What hooks you into this story as a reader?

One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from
anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been
changed into a monstrous verminous bug. He lay on his
armour-hard back and saw, as he lifted his head up a little,
his brown, arched abdomen divided up into rigid bowlike
sections. From this height the blanket, just about
ready to slide off completely, could hardly stay in place.
His numerous legs, pitifully thin in comparison to the rest
of his circumference, flickered helplessly before his eyes.
‘What’s happened to me,’ he thought. It was no dream.
His room, a proper room for a human being, only
somewhat too small, lay quietly between the four wellknown
walls. Above the table, on which an unpacked
collection of sample cloth goods was spread out (Samsa
was a traveling salesman) hung the picture which he had
cut out of an illustrated magazine a little while ago and set
in a pretty gilt frame. It was a picture of a woman with a
fur hat and a fur boa. She sat erect there, lifting up in the
direction of the viewer a solid fur muff into which her
entire forearm disappeared.
Gregor’s glance then turned to the window. The dreary
weather (the rain drops were falling audibly down on the… (Kafka, The Metamorphosis)


Switching Gears: Fiction


Many thanks to the participants who came out last week! In response their request, we will be switching gears and focusing on fiction and poetry for the coming weeks. So, bring your stories and your poems to share, or get ready to write some. 🙂

For today, we will be focusing on the short story, specifically looking at master mystery writer Lester Dent‘s formula for writing one.  Although Dent was known for writing horror, adventure, and science fiction stories, his method of storytelling is applicable to all genres.   Today, we will begin using his formula for writing a 6,000-word short story.

Please, visit the following link to learn more:  Lester Dent’s Short Story Master Formula by Karen Woodward.

Remember, if you are in the area and would like to participate, we meet at the Poinciana Library at 5:00 PM every Tuesday!

Happy Writing!