Writing Philosophy

Scott Driscoll Blogs… After asking what I did for a living, the cashier at a grocery store I frequented gave me a confused look and said, “Oh, you teach fiction? What’s that? Is that, like, making stuff up?” There was no line—it was late, after class—so I told her the following story. One sweltering Sunday […]

Is it a Story or a Novel? If it’s a Novel…

Novels are comfortable establishing lengthy histories. They have the time for it. Short stories typically don’t. In the short story, to quote Charles Baxter: “The god of Impatience rules.”  If you cut out much of a character’s history, you also cut out motivations for actions. A novel can dwell at length on the subtextual considerations […]

The Best PLot Chart Ever

You’re working on a novel. You’ve got boxes of material. Photos, maps, genealogical research. Books you’ve read and annotated with pages you’ve thumbed. While falling in love with the research, you’ve managed to fill a folder in your hard-drive with sub-files you think of as chapters. After putting in this extravagant amount of time and […]

Three Layers of Motivation

To portray a character on stage, the actor has to understand their subtext. Right? Seems like a given. But the same is true today for authors and their characters. But, subtext? All that heavy mass of fear and need and overweening desire, the baggage that every character brings into every scene. Once you start to […]