A Writer’s Cure For Derivative Works

There is nothing new under the sun in the literary world. Most nearly everything has been done, and done quite well. In this day and age, the world of creative media is supersaturated. Anything we hope to create is undoubtedly influenced by any number of existing works. How, then, do we avoid the trap of being too derivative? [ Cont'd ]

Elliot Rodger: Loneliness In American Cinema Embodied

As anyone who follows this blog would tell you, I have a keen interest in the loneliness of the American male. Being that loneliness is the primary theme of my novel, I’ve studied its presence in movies such as Taxi Driver (1972), Falling Down (1993), One Hour Photo (2002), The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004), and in the novel The Catcher In The Rye. It’s startling to see the similarities between Elliot Rodger’s descent into violence and American cinema’s narrative of the American man’s loneliness. [ Cont'd ]

Writerly Attitudes: The Use of Pynchon-Like References To Music and Movies

I read Lorrie Moore’s Amahl and The Night Visitors: A Guide To The Tenor Of Love and there are a few references to music from the 1960s. She writes, “Begin to hum a Dionne Warwick song,” and later mentions the singer again, saying, “Actually what you’ve been listening to is Dionne Warwick’s Golden Hits.” There’s also a mention of Patsy Cline: “…feeling that you possessed all things, Your Man, like a Patsy Cline song…” And my question was, “Do cultural references like music and movies belong in stories?” [ Cont'd ]

Writerly Attitudes: The Right To A Reader’s Attention

In one of my fiction workshops, we took a look at Tobias Wolff’s short story Sister. I possibly caught on to the keys to unlocking the meaning of the story, but my cohorts mostly scratched their heads. One reader said, “I didn’t know what the point of the story was.” And that killed me. I never want someone to read my novel and think, “Well, what the hell was that all about?” [ Cont'd ]