by Ray Foy We tend to consider sets of commandments as ultimate law (i.e., the famous Ten). Within the context of drama, I have found five that struck me as important because they refine and enlarge the dramatic arc of storytelling. The dramatic arc is the integral component of fiction (and creative nonfiction). It has… Read More The Five Story Commandments
by Brad Shurmantine Always one foot on the groundAnd by protecting my heart trulyI got lost in the soundsAll of these voicesI hear in my mind all these wordsAnd it breaks my heartIt breaks my heart. –Regina Spektor In Search of Eros. That was the name of an LP that played over and over behind… Read More Fidelity
by Ray Foy Writing is a means to an end. For many of us, that end is storytelling, which is best done when the telling is composed of “problem-complication-resolution” units. Taken in total, these units comprise a story’s “dramatic arc.” Aristotle wrote about drama theory in his work, Poetics. He described dramatic structure in a… Read More Aristotle’s Incline
By Ray Foy How deliberately do you build your fiction from units of problem-complications-climax? Maybe you don’t think about it and write “by the seat of your pants.” Even so, a good understanding of this “unit of fiction,” better known as “the dramatic arc,” will only improve your storytelling. The dramatic arc is a vital… Read More The Dramatic Arc
BY DAVIS ENLOE In the poem, “Approaching Prayer,” James Dickey takes on the dilemma of the irrational, or more directly, the soul. This poem, which Dickey calls his most “complicated and far-fetched,” appears in his fourth book, Helmets. Consider the five opening lines of “Approaching Prayer,” A moment tries to come in Through… Read More Approaching Dickey’s “Approaching Prayer”
BY AMBER WHEELER BACON In Malone Dies, Samuel Beckett breaks many of the rules that writing teachers teach in workshop—regarding breaking sequence, reader confusion and plot. While reading it, I kept asking myself, “Why do I love this?” If there’s a plot, it’s barely there. The reader is confused from the beginning and stays confused… Read More Reading Malone Dies: How and Why Does it Work?
By Jayne Padgett Bowers The first South Carolinian to win the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Julia Peterkin won the coveted award in 1929, and though the honor was controversial at the time, Peterkin’s Scarlet Sister Mary, a novel about the Gullah people of the South Carolina coast, triumphed. Recently, I’ve become aware that many South… Read More South Carolina’s Pulitzer Prize Winner