Discussions on the Craft of Storytelling

February 9, 2010

During Pennwriters Presents today, Guest Speaker Jamie Ford articulated the difference between writing and storytelling.  This is a subject upon which Anita Marie Moscoso and I typically deliberate at some point during most of our chats.  (Anita is a superb storyteller.)

In addition to being a Pennwriters member, I’m also a member of Willamette Writers, and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.  Willamette Writers Office Manager Bill Johnson is one of the names I see the most, so today I decided it was time to learn a bit more about him.  Johnson is an author, teacher, story analyst, and produced playwright from Portland, Oregon.

If you visit Johnson’s website A Story is A Promise you’ll find numerous essays and videos wherein he shares his knowledge of the storytelling process.  He especially likes to analyze the introductory pages from selected works of fiction and discuss the breakdown of what’s written and why.

I like that Johnson emphasizes the importance of invoking questions and engagement from the audience (I always feel that I’ve crafted a good story or poem when my readers ask a lot of curious questions).  Johnson’s website is one, big friendly reminder to all authors to always consider audience, intent, and the promise of each story.

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Friday Inspiration from Author Gerri George

January 15, 2010

Start your weekend with a little inspiration from author and fellow Pennwriters member Gerri George.  George’s short fiction piece “Henry Moore and the Bookstore Clerk” appears in the current issue of Wild River Review.

What I like most about this piece, beyond George’s talent for textural, present prose, are her reflections on art and its place in life.  I’m positively smitten by the main character, and I love George’s careful treatment of all people as observers, listeners, and participants in the greater conversation of art.  Take a few minutes to read, and listen.

Enjoy!