Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Inner Story: From Nonfiction to Novels With Mary Carroll Moore

This week, award-winning writer Mary Carroll Moore, author of Qualities of Light, shares her insights on transitions and debunks the myths.

AMA: Since going from nonfiction to fiction wasn't as easy it seems, how did you address the learning process?

MCM: I took a deep breath and made myself a humble beginner again, signing up for Fiction 101 at a local writing school. I studied there for five years, reading voraciously between classes, talking with other fiction writers. I learned that very few of them used outlines. Maybe as a first step, to plot action. But they all talked about the story taking over, the characters beginning to speak to them. Never in the newspaper world did I encounter this.

AMA: Interesting point. What would you recommend for those of us like you who have a journalism background but want to become better fiction writers?

MCM: One fellow nonfiction writer, also making the transition, recommended Vivian Gornick's The Situation and the Story. Gornick analyzes meaning and how it emerges in essays and memoirs. As I read her examples, I finally had a name for the elusive element that makes literature last in our hearts and minds. For want of a better term, I began to call it "the inner story."

For more information, visit Mary Carroll Moore and How to Plan, Write and Develop a Book.

Also visit National Novel Writing Month, voted one of Writer's Digest's 101 best writing websites.

For a great upcoming writers' conference, visit CAPA University. Keynote speakers are doctors Henry Lee and Jerry Labriola on "Writing True Crime."

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