Saturday, March 26, 2011

Markus Zusak at the Provo Library

Tickets were gone within the hour that they were available, but fortunately, the consideration of the Provo Library personnel streamed it via computer -the library website. Markus Zusak-almost everyone's favorite author of The Book Thief. Here are my notes-not translated incredibly well.

You become the owner of the story when you know the details. He used a personal experience of leaving his jacket on an airplane(?) He went to the lost and found and because of the details he knew about the jacket, the note in the pocket, they handed it right over to him.
You have to win the audience over-reading audience that is.
Wrote the first 80 pages of Book Thief at least 150 times. Editing is so important-he claims not to have a great imagination, just has a lot of problems in his writing and works through those problems.
He had a problem with death narrating-creepy, sadisistic, "This is a story about a young girl. Do you like young girls? Well I do. But then again, I like everybody." Too macabre. Then Lisa's point of view: she sounded too Australian for a German ww ii stoyr.. Tried to avoid another book about wwII.
Last line: "What if death is afraid of humans. Asked why this question. Wrote the narrator with this question in mind. The unexpected idea.
Using your own life to write. Impossible not to use own life. You don't think that everything in your life is mundane and that it isn't going to help you.
Remembered boxing with his brother in the backyard
Pomeranians spook him.
What used to happen in his house-his parents grew up so different-didn't realize the seed was planted. Interested in things that weren't quite right. A combination of two opposite things that come together.Listened to parent's experiences of life in Austria and Germany. Mother heard a noise in the street and she ran to see the kids but it was people she saw. a teenage boy, one of the worst kids, gave ethe old man a piece of bread.Pure beauty vs pure horror. Book thief came from all the stories his parents told him.


What a gracious man.
Questions from audience:
1. WE are Drawn into story when something unexpected happens.
Foreshadowing-Why did you tell us rudy was going to die and then you did it?
I wanted death to tell the story slightly different. Talk about trees and give things away. element of character. take the risk. ..what if I just tell everything what is going to happen. wanted to prepare people for the movement when these people were going to die. Instinct. Heard exact sentences. Listen to that instinct. I'm going to do this book exactly how I want to do because he thought it was going to be his least successful.
Max and Lisa's relationship was ambiguous. 1. unintentional,2.
Suggestions for the middle section? people who want to write and can't get the "middle section" it's because its not your top priority. spend time with it. Has to be number 1 or 2. It's like waiting for a wild animal to come out of its hole. write, write, fail, problem, do it enough times and it gives you your middle. the only way is spending time with it. Ask self, "if your book never got published, would you still write? That's when you become a writer, when you can answer yes.
When do you let a story die? Doesn't have to die, it slides into another story, you start again and use your best stuff and keep on going. The answer might be a little to the left or a little to the right.

After re-reading these notes, my take-away is that he wasn't afraid to take risks and he wasn't afraid to ignore the questions. When he had a question he went with the unexpected answer-didn't play it safe.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Positive Spin On Writer's Block

“Embrace your writer’s block. It’s nature’s way of preserving trees and your reputation. Listen to it and try to understand its source. Often writer’s block happens because somewhere in your work you’ve lied to yourself and your subconscious won’t let you go any further until you’ve gone back, erased the lie, stated the truth and started over.”
–José Rivera, playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Motorcycle Diaries

Friday, March 4, 2011

Shewrites.com

Just a website I want to remember. Excellent suggestions for manuscript preparation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Beautiful Language

Beautiful language is like a bite of favorite ice cream. Its flavor is so distinct and recognizable. I literally stop reading.

In my most recent read of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin, I came across two descriptions that tasted like ice cream.

...the sun seemed to disappear like a closing flower (132).
The moon's reflection fastened onto the water's surface (133).

Lin simply chose to see the sun with unique imagery and chose an uncharacteristic verb for the moon's actions.
This reminds me of a quote on a card a friend gave me for my birthday long ago. Underneath an amusing, startling photo, the caption reads: If everyone thinks alike; no one is thinking.