Welcome to Sentence to Paragraph, a monthly podcast on the space between wordcraft and the writer’s life.
Wordcrafters executive director, Daryll Lynne Evans, and author James Stegall explore what it takes to master both writing craft and the business and life of being a writer. Each month, they interview writers who are excellent at both craft and at presenting themselves professionally in the world. That this gives Daryll Lynne and James the opportunity to talk with their favorite authors is entirely incidental. FIND ALL THE INTERVIEWS HERE.
LATEST INTERVIEW: ERIC WITCHEY
We had so much fun talking with Eric about many things, but especially about his new novel Bull’s Labyrinth. (Eric reads the whole first chapter—so, so good!)
Eric Witchey has sold more than a hundred short stories in many genres to publications like Clarkesworld, Writers of the Future, Writer’s Digest, and many others. He has published four novels. His most recent novel is called Bull’s Labyrinth. He also recently published a collection of short stories called Professor Witchey’s Miracle Mood Cure. Eric has been a working writer and teacher of writing for more than twenty-five years. He is a native of Oregon, and currently lives in Salem, Oregon.
ON BULL’S LABYRINTH
- How Eric created and wove together dual POV characters and dual timelines, bringing in threads of myth, religion, and culture from both the ancient and contemporary times the story explores.
- The long road from finishing the book to publication, the challenges getting feedback from agents and editors, letting it rest, and bringing it back out of the trunk.
- For Eric, every story is a puzzle requiring different techniques. He talks about reworking the beginning to set up the subconscious landscape of the novel that the reader will inhabit for the duration for the story.
- Eric talks about his drafting process for this book, including some of the research and exploration of Crete and how it came to inform and develop the story.
- The magic of how putting little black squiggles on the page can trigger a dream-like experience in the reader. The neuroscience of reading and the history of production of story and its function in culture.
- Mental health and perception as themes, and how our perceptions shape our realities and ability to connect.
- The death of literacy and the absurdity of aspiring writers who don’t read.
- You must become a teacher in order to learn to write fast (and how teaching goes back to perception). He mentions teaching at Willamette Writers Conference and Wordcrafters in Eugene.
- His thoughts on the “How to Write” market, teaching, and how to learn writing.
- His development as a writer, and paths forward for writers—conferences, classes, writing groups, and teachers. His most influential teacher: James N. Frey.
- Eric’s recommendations for how to structure an effective critique group and how to give principled criticism.
Surprise tip: The value of critique groups is to learn from analyzing other people’s work, not having your own work critiqued.
- Thinking of himself as a writer—not (just) a novelist or short story writer or technical writer.
Eric’s mantras for writers striving to master their craft:
- Start early, work often.
- Make mistakes faster.
- Put it in the mail.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ERIC WITCHEY
Eric’s on Facebook as Eric M. Witchey
Eric tweets @EWitchey
Eric blogs at Shadowspinners
Learn more at www.ericwitchey.com