Tag Archives: grub street

Outlaws and Criminals and Memoirs, Oh My!

13 Jun

Last night I took a writing workshop at Boston’s Grub Street writing center,  titled Criminals and Outlaws in Fiction and Memoir.  The workshop was taught by author, Deni Bechard, who wrote a memoir about his dad,  a bank robber for over a decade.

I felt like I got a lot of the 3-hour session, and that Deni gave us many good questions to ask ourselves to, as he says, “get under the skin of our characters so that in the end there is no bad or good guy.”  For example:  What is the societal/cultural context in which the character grew up?  What are his worst traits?  How did he get these traits? What are his redeeming qualities?  Pick someone who is the polar opposite of this character.  How does he see your character from this opposite side?

I know all of the rich material that Deni provided and discussed with us will help me bring more depth to the outsider characters in my writing.  After all, as Deni says in his course description about criminal and outlaw figures in American literature, …individuals who embody recklessness, lust, greed, and cruelty often seem the most authentic.

Wendy Jane Does Grub Street’s Muse and the Marketplace Conference in Boston

14 May

Last weekend was my third year at  Grub Street’s, Muse and the Marketplace ConferenceGrub Street is the second largest creative writing center in the U.S., and the conference offered a weekend of workshops on craft, publishing and marketing one’s work, as well as author readings, a keynote speaker (this year, Julia Alvarez), and opportunities to make appointments with agents and editors.

My friend, Susan, an amazing writer, and one of the members of the writing group I’m in, is the person who first told me about the Muse.   She’s also the one who convinced our other writing group friend Ellen and me to stay overnight in Boston instead of driving back to Providence, so that we wouldn’t have to wake up so early to take the train back in.  Despite having to run down the street to Marshall’s for some overnight essentials,  Susan had the right idea.  We were able to enjoy two author readings by Wendy Call and Eileen Pollack, who had won Grub Street’s National Book Prize.   We also had fun staying up all night having pillow fights, and talking about boys, er…I mean, books. […]