In a Strange Place: Writing Lesson From The Woman In Gold

Since April 2 this year, Gustav Klimt’s painting Adele Bloch-Bauer I, the Woman in Gold, has been the centerpiece of a special exhibition at the Neue Galerie in New York.

In the painting, Adele stands radiant, hands delicately curved towards her chest, wearing a dazzling bejewelled dress, dark hair coiffed high.

On a lower floor of the Neue Galerie, in a passage near the toilets, hangs a related display of pictures. These were created by students in Vienna, the original home of the painting, who were asked to imagine Continue reading

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Seven Questions Every Writer Should Be Ready To Answer

The joy of finishing your story, the bliss of an acceptance, the struggle to write your bio. Yay! You’re done.

Wait! You’re not done. There’s more….

Just when you think you have a story nicely wrapped up, and have moved on to other things, you get an email asking you to answer a few questions.

These questions Continue reading

Writing Fiction, Tempting Fate?

chimneyDo you ever worry about tempting fate when you write fiction?

That if you write about x, about something nasty happening, maybe something especially nasty, you might be putting an idea or vibration out into the universe and so that something nasty will actually come to be?

Sounds crazy, I know, but I worry!

Trouble is, there’s not a whole lot of interesting things to write about if you cut out anything negative or unpleasant! Right at the beginning of Continue reading

Narrative Energy Tip #1: Chameleon Sentence

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A chameleon sentence begins with one energy and ends with another.

Usually it starts off positive with maybe even suggestions of light-heartedness, but then turns into something more ominous. But there’s no reason why one shouldn’t try the reverse.

While chameleon sentences make for terrific beginning sentences, they can shift the narrative, and surprise and engage writer and reader at any time.

Two Examples

  • “It was a summer’s night and they were talking, in the big room with the windows open to the garden, about the cesspool.” (opening sentence of Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf) A pleasant gathering on a summer’s evening …changes to… something dirty and stinky and underground
  • “Edna and I had started down from Kalispell headed for Tampa-St. Pete where I still had some friends from the old glory days who wouldn’t turn me in to the police.” (Rock Springs, Richard Ford) A trip down south to old friends …changes to… on the run?

The Exercise

Write 6 chameleon sentences – each one beginning a new story. Surprise the sentence. Surprise yourself.

What chameleon sentences have you come across in your readings or writings? Please share them in the Comments Box.