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Showing posts from March 4, 2012

Writing Exercise #2 for Setting as Character

Today I tromped all over San Francisco to collect sensory details, photos (and a snack or two) from each of the neighborhoods that my novel's characters live in.  Now, they are not real people, but they do live in a real city, so the fun of it all is finding little details that I would never have noticed before because I'm trying to look for them through my character's eyes.  I discovered a few inconsistencies that I'll need to go back and fix (silly things like the wrong bus line, or the fact that type of architecture doesn't appear in that 'hood), and found a few details I will want to pepper the text with.  Mostly, I just had a really fun time walking all over the city (I clocked 6.5 miles of walking!), and BONUS, the water in my apartment was shut off for the day so it really was the perfect excuse to get the heck out.  Oh, and the weather was about as gorgeous as could possibly be.  Okay, now I'm just annoying myself with my own happiness.  Here are so…

A Walk on the not terribly Wild Side

In my last few Days/Hours/Moments of futzing with novel revisions, I realized I wanted to collect a few more sensory details on particular neighborhoods around SF (it might be the best form of procrastination ever).  I was inspired in part by a panel discussion I attended at the SF Writers Conference on the topic of Setting as Character.  It was there I first encountered the fantastically charming Cara Black and was captivated with how very much she has done with Paris throughout her novels, and how she's gone about collecting details.  So yesterday I took a walk that I have one of my characters doing so that I didn't miss any details that could enhance the story.  It was way more fun (and burned more calories) than sitting in front of the computer.  I was also reminded of just how beautiful this city is.  I've been here almost seven years and it still slays me that I get to live here.  Here is some pretty from my walk:

 It's a bit blown out, but I love the crazy perspe…

Instant Narrative: writing as an exhibitionist

Oh my goodness, three hours of live writing as performance art in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was thrilling!  And nerve-wracking!  And for a few unfortunate minutes, boring!  But mostly it was incredibly interesting to be a part of the exhibit by Dora Garcia.

I sat at a simple table for a desk, typing onto a tiny Mac using a program that Dora created.  It was simple: type, type, send.  And the words appeared on the large screen projected to my right, which were the only thing adorning the wall to my right.  What was a challenge, of course, was finding the words.  The idea was to create an instant narrative, so to respond to those in the room, or the room itself, in a moment by moment basis.  Now, I am a fantastic people watcher.  I have a PhD in eavesdropping and an honorary doctorate from myself on making up stories about the people I'm watching.  But that wasn't what this exhibit was about (and good thing too: I'd hate to reveal how silly some of those storie…