Picture credit: We Will Become Silhouettes by Joey Gannon, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Unmodified

[marginalia] you’ll never guess what happens next : : colette sartor

To some writers–including me–plot can seem like the dirtiest, most despicable of four letter words. Writers of this ilk have been known to run screaming from a room when we hear the word. “Make something happen?” we call, quaking in our hiding spots. “Why would we do that? Stories come from character, not plot. Stories should be about someone, not something.”

This, I’ve learned, is a huge, smelly load of horse shit.

Plot is important. Stories need plots. Every story. Every. Single. One.
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[exercise] Conference Survival 101: Found Fiction in Boring Presentations

boring

As the speaker at the front of the room drones through her PowerPoint presentation, you furiously take notes. Those seated near you are impressed. At the break, over coffee and stale pastries, they point you out to their friends: he must have written down every word she said.  Not far from the truth, but instead of taking notes you were discovering free verse. Here’s how. Continue reading

Get ready for draft at the Witching Hour Fest

Witching Hour Festival

We’re pleased to announce that draft will be hosting a panel  on November 6 from 5:00-6:15 exploring the creative process at a new event in Iowa City. The Witching Hour Fest, curated by Iowa City’s arts leaders, seeks to explore and engage the unknown through performances and discussion.

Rachel Yoder, a founding editor of draft, will be hosting a panel that explores first and final drafts of creative work from a writer Kerry Howley, director Rachel Chavkin, and innovative cross-disciplinary artist Mei-Ling Shaw Williams. Here’s the full description:

What inspires creative work? How does it first materialize and then grow and change? What does a first draft look like compared to the final one? And how does the artist get from point A to point B?

Rachel Yoder, founding editor of draft: the journal of process, leads a discussion with The TEAM’s artistic director Rachel Chavkin and other fantastic creators about the murky process of conceptualizing, crafting, revising, and editing new work. Our panelists will provide passages from first and final drafts of their work to discuss and share with audience members.

If you’re in Iowa City this November, we hope to see you there!

[writing prompt] the misconceived history story :: Marisela Navarro

car

In the Misconceived History story in “A Public Denial” by Allan Gurganus (published in the anthology Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories) the narrator attempts to restore his deceased grandfather’s dignity by challenging rumors that his grandfather’s death was the result of his own foolhardiness.

The story opens with this line:

Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, my grandfather did not die driving a Toyota across his pond.

The story resembles a persuasive essay; the narrator uses transition words such as “despite,” “while,” “admittedly,” and “evidently” to compose his argument. What I love about the story is how Gurganus uses no emotion to tell it, just the facts, yet it still carries an emotional impact. For a story that spans only two pages, I find this remarkable. Continue reading

[marginalia] Saying Goodbye To My Novel :: Marisela Navarro

novel

I worked on my novel for six years, on and off.  I completed and revised several drafts.  Something was wrong with it, but I didn’t know what.  My whole body went into it.  My fingers, shoulders, knees, eyes.  It grew, seed to forest.  I gave it a name.  I forgot about it.  I cared, I didn’t.  Nothing was so serious.  I avoided it.  These are all the places I traveled to throughout the years I said I was writing a novel:  Puerto Rico, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Jamaica, Maryland, California, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, Virginia, France, New York, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Zealand, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine.  I wrote the most in Massachusetts.  Other things I did that come to mind first, without thinking:  painted walls, moved apartments, tried on wedding dresses, ate sushi, jumped rope, had dreams of lovers dying. Continue reading

[marginalia] The Literary Slacker :: Jen Pieroni

Reality Bites

This post is part of our ongoing web series MARGINALIA about all things writing, reading, & learning. To submit your own experience, please read our guidelines.

I knew I was actually going to finish Danceland when I kept drafting it even though I’d already realized that the structure was all wrong. Being of the “slacker generation” (see film: Reality Bites), I don’t believe I had ever before exemplified the stick-to-itiveness to see a failing project through. (See unfinished novel: Fishtival). Why did I bother this time? Because I really, really wanted it. Continue reading