Archive for March, 2011

Infinite Time

Friday, March 25th, 2011

To infinity and beyond!

My dad, who is a mathematician, says that when he sits down to do math – by which he means big MATH as opposed to reviewing a journal submission or someone’s doctoral dissertation – he likes to feel as if he has an infinite amount of time available to him.  I know what he means.  When I sit down to write, I like to know that there is nothing else I really should be doing.  That I have a whole day, or even half a day that I don’t have to fill with anything but writing.  That I don’t even need to the clean the house … Honest, cleaning the house is not a delay tactic …

Lessons Learned: Secrets

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Last week I indicated that I had no influences other than all the books I had started to read but couldn’t finish.  This is not strictly true.  I have had the enormous good fortune to have done workshops and writing programs with some terrific writers: Joan Barfoot, Sharon Pollock, and Paul Quarrington. 

I noted in an earlier blog that one of the lessons that Sharon taught me is that it’s important to set the stage early on as to the type of play.  I also learned from her that, not so much secrets but perhaps more accurately phrased, a complete absence of the truth can be good.  When it comes to real secrets, Paul taught me that while they can create suspense, readers only have so much tolerance for game-playing and the author should let them in on it before they lose patience.

Who me? I’m not writing under an influence.

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Someone once asked me who my “influences” were.  Perhaps it was the surprise that anyone should be asking me this but in a somewhat naïve, kneejerk fashion I replied, “No one.”  This was taken to mean (hopefully not  seriously) that I thought my writing was so unique that no one had ever seen the likes of it before.  This is not what I meant.  What I meant was that I had no idea who had influenced me.  What I meant was that I was typically so engrossed in what I was reading as to not notice (at least not consciously) influence-worthy factors.  But upon further thought, I realized that I usually knew exactly what had put me off a book I couldn’t be bothered to finish: too much exposition, too obvious, too preachy, too much repetition, too little story, to mention just some of the “toos”.  So I guess I really should say that it’s all those writers whose books I didn’t like who influenced me the most.