Day 20: The Author, Narrator, Character Merge with Shuchi Saraswat
Our First Fifty-Day Writing Challenge
Frederick Reiken’s discovery of what ailed his creative writing students: the Author, Narrator, Character merge, when the author doesn’t envision an identity, intention, perspective, and range of knowledge about the story for their narrator and character as separate from one another and separate from the author themselves. To help us out with this difficult topic, we’ve got authors who are working in the thick of things, both in nonfiction and fiction: Shuchi Saraswat and Karen Wilfrid.
Shuchi Saraswat is a writer and editor based in Boston. Her work has appeared in AGNI, The Boston Globe, The Boston Art Review, Ecotone, Coffee House Writers’ Project, Tin House online, Arrowsmith and elsewhere. Her essay "The Journey Home" received a special mention in Pushcart XLII 2018 and is anthologized in Trespass: Ecotone Essayists Beyond the Boundaries of Place, Identity, and Feminism. For ten years she worked as an independent bookseller in Massachusetts. During that time she founded The Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith, a reading series focused on stories of migration, the intersection of politics & literature, and works in translation, and in 2019 she served as a judge for the National Book Award in Translated Literature. She’s now the associate editor and a co-nonfiction editor at the literary journal AGNI, and she teaches classes in creative nonfiction at GrubStreet.
Karen Wilfrid is seventh-grade English teacher and author of the forthcoming middle-grade novel JUST LIZZIE, about an asexual teenager who is trying to figure out her place in world. She specializes in fiction, essays, and teaching middle schoolers the finer points of comma usage. After receiving her degree in Creative Writing and Spanish from Oberlin College, she taught English in Spain for two years on a Fulbright grant before settling in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in Cicada magazine, Publishers Weekly, and Embark literary journal. JUST LIZZIE is Karen's first novel.
You can find Reiken’s own words about this topic in the first essay of his book on craft: A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft. Among others of my fave craft books, it’s available here: https://bookshop.org/lists/best-craft-books-for-wanna-be-wanna-be-better-writers