2011 Winter Fiction Panel discussion

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message 1: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 11 comments Mod
We'll be getting started with the group tomorrow, and while I have a few topics I would like to discuss, I would also love to hear what the other members want to know about. Feel free to suggest a topic for discussion below.

message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (whynert) | 1 comments Just noticed Susan Minot's great piece in Huffpo on Writing about Sex (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-m...) - I'd love to hear what the other writers felt about writing and sex, Ms. Alther, you in particular ;)


message 3: by Mary (last edited Feb 08, 2011 04:59AM) (new)

Mary (glickman) | 16 comments Writing about sex. Hot topic. I read Susan's piece and it was great, I agree. Her list of types of writing about sex fascinated. Over time, I think I've fit into each one! Over the years writing about sex changed for me. My early writing necessitated that I go into a lot of graphic detail that was difficult to keep within the boundaries required that it not slide into the pornographic. As time went by, I decided erotic ambiance was best created by leaving a lot of detail out. I found the clinical aspects of sex become boring to write about after a time. In my later work, I think there's a lot of passion going around but sex? Yawn!

message 4: by Trude (new)

Trude Hell (trudehell) | 1 comments A topic I'd enjoy to hear about is humor - how easy/difficult is it to be funny? Is there a balance, or is any topic free to joke about?

message 5: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Gibson (goodreadscomteresaindallas) | 1 comments My comment is about description. I LOVE the descriptions in Susan Minot's Folly. The reader could taste, touch, feel, and smell the surroundings in that book. I really felt as if I were in an upper class Boston home of the 1910's. And as I read, I *saw* and *felt* an "antiquy" kind of glow as the story progressed. My question is--how difficult was it to recreate a time and place so far removed from the present, and yet make it feel real to the reader? Did you visit historical residences, research food, clothing, etc.? And did this type of writing require (many) rewrites? Description is currently what I have the most trouble with when writing.

message 6: by Mitzi (new)

Mitzi | 1 comments Hello,

I arrived late, but mostly I just wanted to greet Lisa Alther, tell her I grew up in a working class family on Watauga St. in Old Kingsport Town, AND I read her book, Kinfolks...Falling off the Family Tree in Search of the Melungeons. I read it several times, in fact, because for one thing, it mirrored some of my own wrestles with New England, where I felt validated in college, yet struggled with an identity I did not know I had at my entrance vs. Southern Appalachia, and particularly that town where I lived though my high school graduation. I enjoyed the way you pieced this book together with many of, again, my own experiences...adventures into southwestern Virginia, Brent Kennedy with his open cousin arms, the Melungeon reunions, and the paper chases in genealogy, that seemed to say the more you know, the less you know. In my own little journeys, I ambled around through what is left of Chota, the town of refuge of the Cherokees, and experienced the presence of those who walked there in my mind, left flowers on Benge's Rock in Virginia sat parked in front of the property of Benge's Field in Alabama and breathed it in. I enjoyed the Melungeon journey in your book all the way to the "We are the World" ending.

I did want to say hello, and that I loved the book. I now live near the cape in Massachusetts, and only recently relocated from eastern Tennessee with all my roots and tendrils :).

Mitzi Dorton

message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Alther | 12 comments So glad you liked Kinfolks, Mitzi, and found it rang true to your own parallel search. I grew up on Watauga, too. We've probably been in the same places at the same time without even knowing it! Thanks for your message.

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