Writers Who Read
#46

8 January 2023

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?

Meet today's author: Jessamine Chan

  • Grew up in Chicago, a first-generation Chinese-American

  • After BA from Brown, moved to NYC and was editor of nonfiction reviews for Publishers Weekly

  • Moved back to Chicago, was editor of a research digest
    for University of Chicago’s graduate business school
    before getting her MFA from Columbia

  • Her short stories have appeared in Tin House and Epoch
  • Chen has received support from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Jentel Foundation, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Anderson Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Ragdale Foundation.

  • Currently lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter
  • The School for Good Mothers is her first novel

  •  

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

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Stats & Background

  • Marketing: Women's Domestic Life Fiction, Family Life Fiction, Literary Fiction
  • Genre: Realistic Dystopian Modern-Day Arch-Plot Long-Form
  • Print Pages: 336; Word count: 102,957
  • Reading Grade: 7th; Avg. wds/sent.: 9.51
  • Lexical Density: 52.68; Flesch Reading Ease: 75.53

  • POV: Frida; Person: Close 3rd; Tense: Present

  • Publish date: January 4, 2022
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Audio book narr.: Catherine Ho (11 hours 56 minutes)
  • TV Adaptation: is in the works
  • Recognition: NY Times bestseller, Read with Jenna Book Club
    Longlisted for the 2023 Carnegie Medal for Excellence, Shortlisted for The Center for Fiction 2022 First Novel Prize, Barack Obama’s Summer 2022 Reading List
  •  

Writing The School For Good Mothers

  • Chan began novel in 2014, writing about motherhood and parenting due to her anxiety over whether or not to have a child

  • Inspired by two articles published in The New Yorker

  • Where is your Mother? (2013) by Rachel Aviv
  • - A mother's experience with family courts
  • The Talking Cure (2015) by Margaret Talbot
  • - An effort in Providence to close the "word gap"

  • Created School Cirriculum first - and then 'pantsed' stories around those classes
  • Through trial and error cut 100s of pages

  • Techniques used include: Ticking Clock, Large Cast of Characters
  • Reference: Interview with Rachel Yoder

  •  

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Writers Who Read: Up Next

February 5: Cold Enough for Snow – Jessica Au (USA, 2022)

Required reading: I'm Upset


Writers Who Read: Coming Up

March 5: Winter Work – Dan Fesperman (USA, 2022)
April 2: The Candy House – Jennifer Egan (USA, 2022)
May 7: Sea of Tranquility – Emily St. John Mandel (USA, 2022)
June 4: The Passenger – Cormac McCarthy (USA, 2022)

Thanks to: Boulder Writers Alliance

Contact Gary: hello@garyalanmcbride.com
Literary Forensics Resources

Happy
Sleuthing!