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Losing the Fear and Loathing of Reading Your Work in Public

Reading your work out loud in front of an audience can be a bit like standing naked on a crowded subway platform…or so I would imagine. I’ve only done the former, never the latter. And I didn’t do my first public reading until I was well into my professional career as a rock music journalist and author. It was terrifying, but also gratifying. I guarantee this: do a public reading and you’ll gain insights into your work that you’d never attain otherwise. You’ll grow as a writer; and maybe you’ll even sell a few extra copies of your book.

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“An Audio Interview with Michael A. Stackpole” at SF Signal

  • “An Audio Interview with Michael A. Stackpole” at SF Signal

    Michael Stackpole recently sat with Timothy C. Ward at SF Signal to record a podcast interview. They discuss the recent Canvas course Michael conducted, but discuss many more topics, as the introduction explains:

    Michael and Tim also discuss how one learns to outline, examining studies in neuroplasticity and how outlines come from a strong understanding of characters. Michael discusses higher education options for aspiring authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

    The audio podcast is available to stream and to download on the SF Signal website.

Connecting with the Disconnects

The questions always come up: Who’s your favorite poet? Who were your influences? Neither is easy because there are so many right answers and not all of them will be top-of-mind at that moment. Philip Levine. Naomi Shihab Nye. B. H. Fairchild. Jim Harrison, who’s known much more for his prose than his poetry. David St. John, both for his poetry and his incredible generosity as a teacher. Later that night in bed I always remember more names that I could have mentioned. You know, what I shoulda said.

But it’s not always the poets you admire who have the most influence on your writing…

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Bill Konigsberg’s “Openly Straight” finalist for 2014 Walden Award

The Piper Center is proud to announce that our own YOUR NOVEL YEAR coordinator & instructor, Bill Konigsberg, has been chosen as one of five finalists for the 2014 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award! The book earning the honor is Bill’s 2013 effort, Openly Straight.

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The New Frontier: Writing for Video Games

Today, we novelists still invent, but it’s an invention informed by three centuries of our predecessors’ work. If we are explorers, we are not Marco Polo or even Lewis and Clark, but their modern day descendants, exploring the last remaining uncharted corners of the novel form.

But I am not only a novelist: the bulk of my professional writing has been for video games, far younger as an art form, and still relatively unexplored as an art form. Exploring the possibilities of this new medium means finding narrative techniques unique to this form—stories that can only be told in the form of a game. Over the course of this piece, I’ll highlight a few of the unique stories that games have allowed me to tell, or to experience.

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Diane Setterfield Talks Writing, Etcetera…

On November 14th, 2013, Diane Setterfield visited The Poisoned Pen Bookstore to talk about her work! Check out the video of the event…

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Ten Things I Know About Writing…

Ten things I now know about writing that are guaranteed to help you; ten things I wish I had known when I began thirty years ago, here in one sweeping whizbang, sometimes in my words and sometimes the words of my betters, but, in any case, here’s what I’ve learned, every arrow in my quiver…

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Some Like It Hot

To add tension to a scene, make a character too hot or too cold. If you fiddle with a story’s thermostat, you can force even a wishy-washy Hamlet into action. This is because our bodies constantly send out feelers, via the senses. If our fingertips tingle with cold, we put on gloves. If our hair feels hot to the touch, we seek shade. The body’s response to temperature extremes can drive an entire plot.

I learned this lesson from a short Russian novel.

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Trusting Left Field

Connecting with the writer within at times demands that we open ourselves to the unknown. We must learn to trust “left field,” the part of writing that cannot be explained by any writing technique. Something from left field comes unexpectedly and may not seem to make sense. It reminds us that as creative writers, we are NOT in control. We must learn to step aside, a humble action to let the writing create its own path.

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“Review of the Day: The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson” – School Library Journal

Guest of the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference, novelist Varian Johnson,  receives high praise for The Great Greene Heist.

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Losing the Fear and Loathing of Reading Your Work in Public

August 18,2014 Reading your work out loud in front of an audience can be a bit like standing naked on a crowded subway platform…or so I would imagine. I’ve only done the former, never the latter.... Continue Reading
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