READ 001 – The Educated Imagination – Northrop Frye

Part of the CBC Massey Lectures series, Northrop Frye originally delivered his series of six talks on the value of studying literature, collective known as The Educated Imagination, in 1962. The lectures have been collected in a book published by Anasi. By virtue of being a student at the University of Toronto and being taught by professors who were in turn taught by Frye himself, the ideas of this book are a part of my critical DNA. Before going back to read The Educated Imagination again this week after a decade of recommending it to all and sundry, I don’t think I fully appreciated exactly how formative Frye’s ideas are to me and my approach to literature and critical theory. Continue reading “READ 001 – The Educated Imagination – Northrop Frye”

PLAY 003 | Day 5: A Daunting Task…Done.

Wondrous Wiarton Writing Retreat Log | Day 5:
Saturday February 17, 2018

Section: CC.043
Time Spent Writing: ~1 hour
Number of Words: 939

As James keeps saying, “I could write more—but I don’t need to!” I understand the sentiment. We have both agreed that the speed at which we have barrelled through our remaining sections this week has kept our usual verbosity when writing prose to a minimum. Which has forced us to get to the point. How will that compare to our early sections when it comes time to Edit? We shall see!

Continue reading “PLAY 003 | Day 5: A Daunting Task…Done.”

PLAY 003 | Day 4: “Hey Luke… We just climaxed!”

Wondrous Wiarton Writing Retreat Log | Day 4:
Friday February 16, 2018

Section: CC.038, CC.039
Time Spent Writing: ~4 hours
Number of Words: 2,758

…wow. Did that just happen?

James is shaking, he’s so excited. Together, across two different sections… We just finished writing the first draft climax of Charlotte’s Journey.

Continue reading “PLAY 003 | Day 4: “Hey Luke… We just climaxed!””

PLAY 003 | Day 3: Three… Two.. One… Jump!

Wondrous Wiarton Writing Retreat Log | Day 3:
Thursday February 15, 2018

Section: CC.035 (additions), CC.036
Time Spent Writing: ~3 hours (maybe? I kind of lost track of time…)
Number of Words: 2,769 (nice!)

Writing is weird. Today, I made four people fight. They had no real choice in the matter, they just had to hit, get hit, and do what I said. (Poor Raul! I owe that guy a beer…)

Continue reading “PLAY 003 | Day 3: Three… Two.. One… Jump!”

PLAY 003 | Day 2: One Lost Egg

Wondrous Wiarton Writing Retreat Log | Day 2:
Wednesday February 14, 2018

Section: CC.028, CC.035 (all new, baby!)
Time Spent Writing: ~3 hours
Number of Words: 2,735

After successfully sleeping in to 11AM, I awoke to an empty house (save for the cat); James was away to work, and I—after a disastrous attempt to make breakfast (R.I.P. egg I dropped)—set out to accomplish my own tasks!

Continue reading “PLAY 003 | Day 2: One Lost Egg”

PLAY 003 | Day 1: Getting Into It

Wondrous Wiarton Writing Retreat Log | Day 1:
Tuesday February 13, 2018

Section: CC.017 (again), CC.031 (correction)
Time Spent Writing: 2 hours
Number of Words: 2,118

I arrived in Wiarton around 12:30PM, providing the Secret Geek Signal to gain access to The Cottage (aka James’ home). I was instantly at ease amid the LEGO, lightsabres, and copious books. I offered James a hearty hello, and we sat and chatted, as two old friends do. Continue reading “PLAY 003 | Day 1: Getting Into It”

PLAY 003: Finish It

“Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” — Neil Gaiman

I have these words written in black Sharpie on a Post-It note I taped to an external hard drive that sits on my desk. This note to myself has been there for long enough that I forget when I first taped it up. It sits there, ever the chill reminder, that my singular goal as a writer is to finish. Continue reading “PLAY 003: Finish It”

The Joy of a Tale is in the Telling Part I: Meta Commentary and Shared Story Space

Here at Adventures in Storytelling, we live by a simple idea: how a story is told can be as interesting as the story itself. In more concrete terms, meta commentary on storytelling is itself a space for some really interesting revelation. If it wasn’t, I’m fairly certain the central pillar would collapse.

I do think there is a good reason why most works of literature don’t have a DVD extras-sytle commentary or an author’s website pulling apart the entire outline of a plot, though. Stories should be able to stand for themselves, and as I’ve said before, what an audience brings to a work is just as important as what the authors pour in. The space where author and audience meet is where meaning is generated. The existence of Adventures in Storytelling notwithstanding, giving the audience too much meta commentary can undercut that spontaneous generation of meaning. Our project is looking at the process of creation for other creators, and the dilution of emergent meaning is accepted in order to show how the work itself is created. Continue reading “The Joy of a Tale is in the Telling Part I: Meta Commentary and Shared Story Space”

Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude

I’m going to be honest with you. It’s a bit rich of me to be spewing wisdom like “‘show don’t tell’ is reductive and potentially crappy advice” and “ideation is a key to success” because I have absolutely no formal training in writing whatsoever. Everything I know about stories comes from the other side. I have a lot of training in critical thought, and I’d like to think I’m at least adequate at it.

As a result, I’ve made some assumptions about writing in the past. When I make those assumptions, Luke (who does have formal training as a professional writer) usually manages to say something that surprises me. Often it’s insightful wisdom or highly organized, process-based logic, but he did throw me for a loop once. When I went off on a tangent about whether a character would be able to see mountains from where they were standing in a comment on a section of Charlotte’s Journey, I learned that Luke was largely unfamiliar with verisimilitude. Certainly not the concept itself, but the word. I always sorta figured it was writing 101 stuff, but there you have it. Continue reading “Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude”