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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ringwood Public Library Talk. Saturday, May 18 at 12:30 pm

I'll be reading from "Save Send Delete" and offering a workshop for writers on Saturday, May 18th, at 12:30 pm, at the very lovely Ringwood Public Library. Please come!

"Save Send Delete" is the true story of my email debate about God, and love affair, with a prominent atheist I saw on TV. He knows about the book but he would prefer that I not reveal his identity.

For me as a writer, that need for discretion presented a big challenge. "Save Send Delete" consists of our emails back and forth. If this is a true debate, would it not be necessary to publish his posts arguing against the existence of God, as well as my own, arguing for the existence of God? If this is a love story, without his emails, how could I make the character Rand come alive to my readers? How could I make my readers care about these characters' love?

Here is my writer's solution to this writer's problem. "Save Send Delete" presents Rand's side of the debate in Mira's reactions to what Rand says. SSD lets the reader get to know Rand through Mira's reaction to him.

For most readers, this has worked. Most readers have told me that they have a very strong sense of who Rand is and what Rand says. In fact, some readers have enjoyed that aspect of the book. Learning about a character strictly through others' reactions to that character is a unique reading experience.

Sometimes writers can fall into a rut. We find ourselves describing a character in the same old ways. Adjectives: She was beautiful; he was handsome. Clothes: she wore Prada; he wore Goodwill. Occupation: she was a district attorney; he was a fifth grade teacher. Since the reader has read sentences like that a thousand times before, these descriptions don't stimulate the reader as much as they might. Also, our own minds and creative abilities are not stimulated. We've written these sentences many times before.

I plan to read a very brief excerpt from "Save Send Delete" that demonstrates how the book lets the reader get to know Rand through Mira's reaction to him. Then I will offer some writing prompts that I hope will help workshop attendees, and their readers, to discover new, untapped ways to get in touch with their characters.

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