Dinty W. Moore likes puzzles. Difficult ones. That’s what the king of the personal essay says each new writing project is. As founder of Brevity magazine, a nonfiction author and director of creative writing at Ohio University in Athens, he should know.
In a profile in the December issue of The Writer, Moore talks about the unconventional side of craft. But first, Moore says, writers need to learn traditional narrative.
The Dinty W. Moore excerpt:
“Learn to tell a conventional story,” he suggests, “from beginning to end using nothing but complete sentences and paragraphs. Then shift chronology with flashbacks and flash-forwards, and apply that to whatever new experiment you want.”
His new book turns the traditional craft tome on its head. Never pedantic, Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy is part how-to and part creative nonfiction, written as a series of responses in essay form to tongue-in-cheek questions he solicited from writers including Diane Ackerman, Phillip Lopate and Cheryl Strayed. Author and editor Brian Doyle sent him this query:
Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy,
When you are clogged and stupid and weary, and you feel like every sentence you eke out is fatuous and literary and homiletic and sermonish and stentorian, and it feels like your stuff is stiff and officious, and you cannot ever imagine finding the verve and zest and fury and pop and silly of your work at its best, what do you do?
Clogged and stupid and weary pretty much sums up my artistic process, except for the occasional bouts of being fatuous, homiletic, stiff and officious. Thank you for the reminder. What do I do? Besides self-loathing? Sometimes I just sit and draw pictures.
If you like puzzles a la Dinty W. Moore, you may also like contests. Here’s a chance to enter one. Enter your information below to win Moore’s new book, Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy: Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals.
*This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your interest.*