Writers Who Read
#9

3 April 2019

There There - Tommy Orange

Agenda



  • Why We're Here

  • Literary Forensics
  •     - What do I bring?
  •     - What do I feel?
  •     - What do I notice?
  •     - What do I want to learn?

  • Next Month's Reading & Study


Why We're Here

We Writers want to improve our craft

by Reading like a Writer

through Literary Forensics training

we learn from each other

Roundtable Rules

Always refer back to the book

We practice active listening & serendipity

Every feeling and observation is valid...
but not every conclusion

Always refer back to the book

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Introductions

What do I bring
to this book?

Today's author: Tommy Orange

  • Raised near Oakland, registered member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes
  • Teaches creative writing at IAIA (Institute of American Indian Arts) Santa Fe

  • “There’s no there there.” - from Everybody’s Autobiography (1937) by Gertrude Stein
  • Upon seeing that her childhood house demolished and the land paved over
  • 2011: Novel's genesis. Target audience was ‘urban natives’
    Wanted a cathartic event with fatalities; created Thomas Frank so he could die first
  • 2012: Son born. He started writing.
  • 2012-2016: Workshopped hundreds of characters, threw most of them away
  • 2016 November: Three days after the election – got an agent
  • 2016-2017: Edited final 15 characters down to 12

  • - Orange writes lying down. (Memory of he and his father watching TV lying on the floor)
  • - Has an app to read him his text in a robot voice as he does the dishes, runs...

How do you cut through all of the nonsense that is now? I was trying to do that with this prologue."
- Tommy Orange

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

What do I feel?

What in the book elicited that feeling?

Every feeling and observation is valid...
but every conclusion should be questioned

We practice serendipity
- nothing is too crazy

Always refer back to the book

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

What do I notice?


  •    • Language and Grammar

  •    • Context

  •    • Point of view

  •    • Character & character development

  •    • Horizontal structure

  •    • Pacing

  •    • Layering of themes

  •    • Overall effect

Throne of the Third Heaven - James Hampton

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

There There - Stats


Marketing: Native American, Political
Genre: Realistic, Present-Day, Arch-Plot Long-Form
Word count: 82,473; Print Pages: 278
Person: 1st, 2nd, 3rd; Tense: Past, Present, Future
POV: 14 different POVs

Publish date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Knopf; Sold By: Random House LLC

Awards: Center for Fiction's 2018 First Novel Prize, 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award's John Leonard Prize, 2019 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, (shortlisted) 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, New York Times 10 Best Books of 2018

Person / Tense

Contour Map (14 POVs)

Word Cloud

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Writers Who Read: Next Up

May 1: The Witch Elm - Tana French (USA, 2018)




Thanks to: Boulder Writers Alliance

Contact Gary: hello@garyalanmcbride.com
Literary Forensics Resources

Happy
Sleuthing!