AWP 2012: “Craft” = Work

Posted on 02 March 2012

Margaret Atwood’s keynote was fabulous last night, as expected, and afterward I was one of the lucky few hundreds to attend the book signing. A few key, if paraphrased, comments from her keynote:

I didn’t study “craft.” I read and wrote and read and wrote and read and wrote.

Plot is the order of events told linearly. Structure is how you tell that plot.

If you experience a voice [writing] block, change the POV or tense. If it’s a structure block, change the point of entry.

People who want to write but turn out not to want to read — they don’t really want to write. They want someone to sit down next to them and hear their sad story and that’s that.


4 responses to AWP 2012: “Craft” = Work

  • margosita says:

    Last year Margaret Atwood spoke in Ithaca and when I told the people in my office I was going to hear her speak they all said, “Who?”

    If I could fashion the image of GOD after a human being it would, undoubtably, be Margaret Atwood. And yet there are many many people out there who don’t even have a clue who she is.

    Hope you’re loving AWP. These are (naturally) excellent tidbits. Thanks for sharing!

    • Teri says:

      Oh Margosita, I understand! Doesn’t it make you crazy, like a lunatic crazy??

      My top 3 “I don’t know who that is,” are: Jonathan Franzen, Truman Capote, and John Steinbeck.

      See. I feel sick just typing that sentence.

  • I hope you slipped her a copy of your book!

  • If it weren’t for plot and structure (plus tension, characters, and overall narrative), it really would be no work at all. *sigh*

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