Where Do Stories Come From? An Evening with Joyce Carol Oates

I’m a long-time Joyce Carol Oates fan: Her descriptive power builds an unreal and yet deeply resonant world that keeps you reading even though you know that around the corner something dark and terrible awaits you and her vulnerable, human characters. Stories like hers are always satisfying -- in all the muck and unpleasantness there’s something wonderfully cathartic about being shown a harsh truth.

November 6, 2015 | Cara Wood

Craft Advice

How Novels Get Made: The Specific Becomes Universal

Novels are big undertakings. That’s not an epiphany, it is a fact.

For proof, you may need to look no further than your own laptop, notebook piles, or margin scribbles. If you are purely a short-form writer and still need convincing, just pick up the last good book you read and really look at it. Then, whisper “how?” reverently into the pages.

This week, authors Claire Messud and Carmiel Banasky discussed everything that goes into a novel--from early ideas to the last edits--for a crowd at Newtonville Books

October 2, 2015 | Cara Wood

Craft Advice

Today You Will Write Something Awesome

“Where do you get your ideas?” It’s a cliché question with no single answer. Tracing the source of inspiration for your latest writing project can take you back years and across daydreams. The launching point of your next piece could be a news article or an overheard conversation.

 The 20+ authors of I Rate Today A -1,000 shared their origin stories at a recent book launch at the Grove Hall Branch of the Boston Public Library in Dorchester. The book, an homage to Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and collection of fictional diary entries, was ...

July 8, 2015 | Cara Wood

Craft Advice

Memorable Memoirists: What makes a good storyteller?

If you’ve ever been stuck at a party listening to someone else’s rambling personal anecdote, you know how important a good storyteller is to a good story. I saw two very different memoirists with recent books speak last month at Brookline Booksmith. Congressman Barney Frank provided additional color for his deeply personal and political book, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage

June 5, 2015 | Cara Wood

Craft Advice

Everything You Need to Know About Point of View: Lessons and Libations at Craft on Draft

Before readers learn the plot of your short story or novel, before they meet your characters and before they are able to envision the setting – they invariably notice the point of view you’ve chosen. Your initial sentences betray how the story will be told. When I hear the phrase “point of view” it calls to mind grammar - first person, second person, third person - but the style choice extends beyond pronoun and holds more power over your work than you might realize

April 15, 2015 | Cara Wood

Craft Advice