Today we are pleased to feature author Deborah Bogen as our Authors Talk series contributor. The topic of Deborah’s podcast, as she says, is “prose poems: the how and why of writing them.”
She confesses that after writing three books of “mostly lineated poems,” she took a break from poetry, or as she emphasizes “poetry took a break from me.” She describes her struggle to write a poem, saying that she “tried, but could not do it.” After a time spent writing novels, she states that “a strange thing happened: I was filled, and I do mean filled, with the urge to make new poems.” Due to her time writing in a novelistic style, she declares that she “quite naturally… fell into the world of prose poems.” She had previously enjoyed the style, but now, “the joy…was that I had a form, a box into which I could place… what I was noticing in what we call the world.” She closes by urging fellow poets to “have some fun [with prose poems],” and to “write a bunch.”
You can read Deborah’s poem, “This Poem May Be Read In Any Order,” in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.
On Saturday June 24th, from 2 to 3PM, the Mesquite Public Library will host local author Paul Mosier. Paul will discuss his newest book, Train I Ride. The book will be available to purchase, and he will speak about his writing process. This is a free event and you can find out more information at the Phoenix Public Library website here.
Lori Eshleman has a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Arizona, where she teaches at Arizona State University, and she has lived and traveled extensively in Ecuador. She has taught courses in Medieval art, Mexican art, and art of the Americas. This is her first historical novel.
For more information about Lori and her novel please visit:
Art Editor Samantha Allen is a senior at ASU majoring in English with a concentration in fiction writing. After graduating in May, Samantha plans to teach English abroad before pursuing an MFA in fiction. She is currently working on her first novel and a series of short stories and hopes to begin publishing her work next year. Samantha believes that art in all its forms is an essential expression of what it means to be human, and she is happy to have the chance to promote art in a digital world. This is her first semester with Superstition Review.
Click here to watch Samantha read an excerpt from one of her stories.
Britney Gulbrandsen is an Interview Editor at Superstition Review. When not interviewing authors she spends her time reading, writing, crafting and spending time with her family.
I’ve recently been asked the question, “How do you write?” The question has been posed several different ways, the language varied depending upon the person asking, but the message remains the same: what is my process for writing?
Well, my first reaction to this question was, “I just put my pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard, depending upon my mood—and write.” But I wasn’t going to get out of the question that easily. So I examined my process more closely to think of what my method actually was.
Here is what I came up with:
Sit down with a blank page looming in front of me.
Turn on some light music (my writing playlist on iTunes).
Stare into oblivion.
Check my email.
Update my Facebook status.
Turn to my list of ideas or my list of things that inspire me.
Check my email again.
Finally begin to write.
Now I know that sounds like a joke, but ninety percent of the time, that is actually what I do when I sit down to write. But the real depth of my process comes from the tips I’ve gained and learned from experience.
Read as much as I possibly can. I’m a firm believer that the more you read, the better you will write.
Read the genres that I want to write, as well as many others. I read everything: novels, short stories, poetry, essays, memoirs, magazines, newspapers, articles, blogs, etc.
Keep pieces that inspire me near my writing desk. When I’m feeling a lack of creativity, I turn to one of them.
When an idea comes to me, I write it down immediately. I’ve learned through experience that I won’t stop and write things down in a notebook I carry with me. It just won’t happen. But I do have an app on my phone that allows me to write notes to myself as well as to make checklists. So when I think of something intriguing that might work itself into a story, I quickly type it into my phone. Then I transfer it to paper later on when I have more time.
Develop my characters. This is crucial. Characters will transform the story. When writing a longer work, such as a novel, I get to know my main character(s) before I begin to write. I go through every detail until I feel that, in a way, I have become my character. This means that I work through the character’s hobbies, fears, dreams, motivation, favorites (movie, book, food, song, store, activity, etc.) most tender memory, what he/she would grab in a fire, every aspect of what that character looks like, each personality trait, and much more. I want to get to know my characters from the inside out. Generally, most of this information won’t make it into the actual story itself, but it will help me understand my character so I will know what he/she would do or say in a certain situation.
If I need to stop writing before I finish the story, I go back and reread the past few sentences or so before I sit down to write the next time. This helps get me back in the mindset of my story and characters.
rite down everything that comes to my mind. Lots of things won’t make it into my final draft, but none of that matters now. Something raw—even a list of sorts—can help lead me to some revelation later on. The first write-through is for ideas. It’s all about getting the story out.
Let go of whatever ending I have in mind if it just doesn’t work. I once had this “grand” idea for a short story that I had created from beginning to end in my mind. When I finished actually writing it, I realized the ending didn’t work. My character would never do what he did in my story. So I erased that portion and let my character guide me based on what he would actually do. The ending is so much crisper and realistic now.
Revise, revise, revise and then be done with it. I’ve learned that I can always make changes to my work. In my mind, it will never be good enough to get published. I may think it’s ready, but if I put it away for a week, take it out, read it again, I will inevitably find something to change. But at some point, enough is enough. It’s time to try to get it published.
I’m learning more and more every day. Each time I sit down to write, I learn something new. But the biggest thing I’ve learned is to just write.