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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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Break the Line Early

I’ve argued that consistent use of a single, consistent measure for the lines of a poem is meaning-bearing in itself and one of the most significant choices a poet can make in the construction of her work.  Part of the legitimacy of this claim rests on the fact that to establish a consistent measure is to lay the ground against which any departure from that measure is striking and powerful;  another part rests on the fact that line-breaks are a critical focal point of verse construction.  It is evidence of the complexity of poem-making that I do not contradict these facts when I tell you that breaking your line early is a great way to start a poem.

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Crock-Pot Novelist

Slow-cookers have always amazed me. A hodge-podge of meat, vegetables and whatnot gets tossed in the Crock-Pot in the morning. The ingredients simmer together all day. Their flavors blend. Their aromas comingle and fill the house with the tang of possibility. Come dinner time, the medley has been transformed into a savory meal that brings the whole family to the table with anticipation. I love cooking this way.

My novel writing is also slow-cooked. A hodge-podge of ideas, research, themes and characters get thrown into the pot in the beginning. Then they simmer together, for a very long time, before they are transformed into the rich, savory story I want them to become. Slow-cooking a novel isn’t nearly as easy as slow-cooking chili, stew or gumbo. Yet, if the mix of ingredients is right, the result can be just as fulfilling.

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Leaving Space for the Illustrator

Every time someone tells me they wrote or want to write a children’s book but can’t move forward because they don’t have an illustrator, I can’t help wondering how many would-be authors are stymied by the same misconception.

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Recent Blog Posts

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

July 21,2014 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... Continue Reading

The New Frontier: Writing for Video Games

July 14,2014 I have sometimes envied writers like Aphra Behn and Daniel Defoe, writers who discovered the form of the novel, pulling existing works (epic poems, journals, and plays) together into a new kind of writing... Continue Reading
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