Bloggers Note: Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month, co-founder of the lit journal 100 Word Story, and cooperative co-founder of the Flash Fiction Collective, will be speaking on the topic of The Power of Writing with Abandon at the September 12th meeting of the Mt. Diablo branch of the California Writers Club. The meeting will be held at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant at 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. Cost is $25 members and $30 for guests. Sign-in is at 11:15 am–12 pm, luncheon at 12–12:45, and program at 1:00 –2:00 pm. Reservations are required: RSVP to Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at: 925-933-9670 for reservations by Wednesday 9/9/15.
Here are some noteworthy quotes on topics ranging from National Novel Writing Month, to writing with brevity, to how writing can change the world. I hope these interview excerpts will inspire you to want to learn more on September 12th:
ON THE TOPIC OF WRITING WITH BREVITY:
I think writers are generally taught to write more rather than less—from the first time a teacher tells a student in elementary school to add detail to a sentence, to include more supporting evidence, etc. That’s good to begin with, but at a certain point, a writer needs to realize how writing less, whether leaving things out or writing more succinctly, serves a story. A writer needs to learn how a story moves best through the whorls of mystery and suspense created by the gaps of a story.
Writers naturally try to prove themselves through their words, through florid descriptions, curlicues of syntax. Our words can sometimes resemble a body builder’s muscles, which cover up the true person inside, so a writer has to find the balance of words and the textures that serve the story.
REGARDING NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH:
National Novel Writing Month is a rollicking rollercoaster ride of creativity that happens every November. By nature it’s excessive and extreme, encouraging people to aim higher, to write more, to accomplish bigger and bigger things. It also encourages people to dare to experiment and break all sorts of boundaries. So it can’t possibly be described in one sentence. At its simplest, though, it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month.
ON THE BENEFITS OF WRITING:
Writing is thinking. We discover our thoughts in all of their nuances and counterpoints through language. We also open up new pathways and new possibilities—we imagine new worlds—when we allow ourselves to channel language and riff through the concepts and images it delivers.
Stories also connect us with others, and help us see life through others’ viewpoints. Writing heightens your sense of the world around you and within yourself. You’ll notice things, you’ll notice yourself, you’ll seek new experiences, just by writing stories.
ON HOW STORIES CAN CHANGE THE WORLD:
I posit that our stories connect us as humans like nothing else. We are all, at the most fundamental level, the stories we tell ourselves. The way we see other people and the world is a story. Every shift in a narrative, whether personal or cultural, changes us and how we interact with others.
I read that one of the things that truly changed our culture’s perception of women was the stories of women on TV shows. Think about the difference between June Cleaver in the 50s and Clare Huxtable in the 80s, and then all of the strong, dynamic, independent women on TV shows now. Those stories weren’t the symptoms, but the agents of cultural change.
Stories existed before societies formed themselves. Stories come soon after our first breath. They’re our first step out of the reptilian brain. I can write a million sentences on this subject, but I guess I’ll just ask how could creative expression not change the world?
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GRANT FAULKNER AND HIS BOOKS, Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories and The Names of All Things – Visit Grant’s Website: http://www.grantfaulkner.com/books/