Antioch Writers’ Workshop – Lee Martin

The Antioch Writers’ Workshop is underway, and so far, it’s awesome. I went to Lee Martin’s craft talk this morning where he talked about character, and because I’m an old woman, I brought a pen and paper and not an ipad and tried to keep up. Here are some para-phrased highlights:

  • There are two stories in a good short story: the one the character tells him or herself, and the real story.
  • Characters have to be capable of contradiction and have the ability to have emotions in more than one direction. It’s not just that a character seems like one type of person but ends up to be another; it’s that he or she can be more complicated than one or the other.
  • Characters create plot. Action comes from their contradictions.
  • A good story seems to be heading in one direction, but all along, it’s heading in another.

He recommended the craft book Writing in General and The Short Story in Particular by Rust Hills. He called it a “good chestnut” which delighted me. Speaking of book recs, have you guys read The Bright Forever by Lee Martin? Amazing. One of my favorite books of all time.


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