Day 5: Burrowing with Grace Talusan & Jessica Keener
Our First Fifty-Day Writing Challenge
How to get yourself in the right place to write, and how to use what you already have on the page to find your way forward, with authors Grace Talusan and Jessica Keener.
Grace Talusan is the author of The Body Papers, which won the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction. Her writing has been supported by the NEA, the Fulbright, US Artists, the Brother Thomas Fund, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown University.
Jessica Keener's latest novel, Strangers in Budapest, was an Indie Next pick, a "best new book” selection by Entertainment Weekly, Chicago Review of Books, January Magazine, Real Simple, and a Southern Independent Bookstore Association (SIBA) bestseller. Her debut novel, Night Swim, was a national bestseller, followed by Women in Bed, her collection of award-winning stories. She has taught writing at Brown University, Boston University, Grub Street, and the Story Summit, and is currently completing a new novel. An anniversary edition of Night Swim is forthcoming in February 2023.
And here are some of the things we talked about.
First, Nancy Krusoe’s method of “burrowing” which she discusses in her contributor’s notes for her story “Landscape and Dream” in The Best American Short Stories 1994:
Secondly, Douglas Bauer’s The Stuff of Fiction: Advice on Craft
Also the idea from Virginia Woolf of “gathering in,” most helpful for revision.
And finally, one of our marvelous webinar participants (Allison Grinberg-Funes) shared a writing software tool called “focusmate”: “It's a software where you can schedule 25 or 50 minute sessions and be on video with someone. At the beginning, you say what you're working on, then you get to work! You stay in the seat. At the end of the time period, you tell the person how much you accomplished. It's free for 3 sessions a week. More than that is $5/mo and it's honestly worth it in my opinion!”