Category: Mentors

2 Things I Learned About History’s Role in Writing from Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

All right, because I’m a nerd like that, I insisted on reading Lovecraft Country before watching the show. I’m only a couple episodes in – so no spoilers! Here are a couple things I learned reading the novel: Acknowledge Your Literary Tradition…and Critique It. Art is not made in a vacuum. Every piece of writing…

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Writing in Bed

The story is that Edith Wharton wrote in bed. Whenever she would finish handwriting a page, she would drop it on the floor. Later, her secretary would gather up the sheets of story and type them. One must have a method. Despite the — dare I say it? — privilege inherent in the image of…

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A Castle of One’s Own

Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf, despite having friends in common and despite both being talented and respected female writers working at the turn of the 20th century, apparently did not admire each other’s work. Woolf’s new-fangled modern stylings (stream-of-conscious, no distinct plot-line) didn’t resonate with Wharton. And Wharton’s style (structured storylines) was representative of writing…

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Edith Wharton on Writing a War Story…or a Love Story…or a Comedic Story…or a Story Story

In September 1919, Woman’s Home Companion published a lovely little nugget of story by Edith Wharton. “Writing a War Story” is the tale of Ivy Spang, a poetess-turned-short-story-writer. Working as a nurse in France during WWI, Miss Spang is commissioned by an editor at the magazine “The Man-at-Arms.” He tells her that he wishes her to…

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The Ghost in the Machine

Mary Shelley’s “On Ghosts” is an interesting little article/essay. It’s more of a meditation on: With all the scientific advancements, with all the mysteries being explained, do we truly not believe in ghosts anymore? She begins by pointing out that myths and legends are just that: myths and legends, stories once told by unenlightened cavemen.…

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Dream Sequence

Of all the books in all the world that have been inspired by dreams, Frankenstein remains the most famous. (Though Twilight did what it could to oust that.) In the introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Shelley goes into detail about the inspiration behind the novel: her nightmare.  “When I placed my head on my pillow I…

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Sleeping With Your Father

Throughout January and February, I’m going to be utilizing Mary Shelley as my writing mentor. You may have heard of her. Quick Bio: Mary Shelley is most famous as the creator of Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus — a novel which has undergone endless printings and, since the invention of the movie, several films. You probably know the…

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Kerouac’s Genius/Interpreter Theory vs. Jenny’s Genius/Genius Theory

We’re going to finish up our exploration of Kerouac with a couple of differing opinions on the form “genius” takes. “Let’s examine the word ‘genius.’ It doesn’t mean screwiness or eccentricity or excessive ‘talent.’ It is derived from the Latin word gignere (to beget) and a genius is simply a person who originates something never…

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