Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Night with Amy Tan

Sometimes I really don't understand blogger. I had a perfectly lovely post written and ready to post, when POOF, it disappeared. I guess this is why I'm supposed to draft the posts in another program. SIGH!

Anyway, tonight Eric and I took advantage of the fact we live in a city with a major Big 10 University (I'll give you three guesses). We attended a lecture with Amy Tan, author of books like The Joy Luck Club and Swimming With Fishes. I haven't read any of her books yet, but Eric and I agreed we'd have to check one out after listening to her speak for a little over an hour. She had a great conversational style and kept the audience engaged.

Sprinkled among the stories from her life were snippets about writing. My ears perked up for those. Did you know she got an agent based on a short story published in a small magazine? The agent called her for goodness sakes! And the agent got six offers from publishing houses on The Joy Luck Club, an unwritten manuscript! It doesn't happen that way, folks.

Okay, back to the writing nuggets. Writers ask and are motivated by questions. Why? What would happen if? How do things happen? But the most ingenious answer won't impact readers unless it is written in such a way that it is felt. The way Ms. Tan put it was that fiction is getting at the things you can't get at other ways. Whether it's exploring levels in our lives or the world around us, our writing must go deep.

So what books have you read lately that lead you to feel the emotions and setting? Why?

1 comment:

Crystal said...

So, cool, Cara! I've gone to lectures like that. It's cool to be in a college town.

It is most unusual, Amy's path to publishdom. But I have heard of people being called up to do nonfiction books based on an article. Amy had an unusual story and it was an idea that I'm sure if the agent didn't think she could write it, he would've gotten someone to do it. High concept.

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