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Showing posts from January, 2009

Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan wrote several short novels, among them "Trout Fishing in America" which wasn't about trout or fishing. I always got a laugh when I saw it mis-shelved in book stores under the game and wildlife section.

Brautigan didn't actually mention fishing at all in that book, as I recall. He used the words "Trout Fishing in America" as a slogan that the 6th graders wrote on the backs of unsuspecting 1st graders as a playground prank. No one, including the "Trout Fishing in America Terrorists" knew why they chose that slogan. One kid had a piece of chalk, grabbed a 1st grader and wrote it on his back. Soon all of the 1st graders had it on their backs and the principal dragged in all the usual suspects. (ie. The kids who actually did it).

The book wasn't about terrorism or about fishing, it was just a really odd, very good book. His books were very episodic, though loosely strung together with a main storyline or theme.
I was fortunate enough…

To Outline or Not to Outline

I continue to be amazed by people who make outlines of their stories, know where the story line is going and most of all know the ending before even writing the book. Who are these godlike folk and why am I not like them? I am a very off the cuff writer, I don’t know where the story is going to go, although I like to have a general idea before I begin. I usually start with an idea or, more often than not, a sentence that seems to resonate in my mind until I get it down on paper. Novels and short stories start the same way, a compelling first sentence.

I read an interview with Tim Powers with fascination. He talked about outlining everything in careful detail, knowing exactly where the story is going before he even begins writing. He stressed how important, vital, necessary this was. I read snippets to my husband asking him (like he knows), “How can he do that? How can anyone do that?” Outlines? Those are things you write after the term paper is written and only because the teacher r…