New Essay by Joshua Mohr - 'An Unreliably Narrated Essay'
Back in February, we had the pleasure of hosting our first class with Joshua Mohr, the critically acclaimed author of Damascus. The class, Plotlines with Joshua Mohr, sold out and was a complete success, so we hope to have Josh return again soon. Till then, he has graciously donated an essay he used during the class that his students greatly benefited from.
This essay is available to all of our Workshop Members. This is one of the perks of signing up for our site and taking your registration that one step further. Not only do you get access to the best writers workshop online and honest feedback from your peers, but you also get exclusive craft essays from people like Craig Clevenger and yes, Chuck Palahniuk (who has 36 writing essays here).
If you are already a Workshop Member, then check out An Unreliably Narrated Essay here.
If you're not sure you're ready to take the plunge just yet, here's a sample from Josh's essay:
When I teach characterization, I always emphasize that authors should employ “useful schizophrenia.” It’s a fiction writer’s job to construct a heart, mind, and soul sovereign, idiosyncratic. If our characters are to be convincing body-doubles for real people, they must walk and talk and feel a range of emotion; they must giggle and have allergies and chew with their mouths open and grieve and play the harmonica (or whatever your particular story has them doing). The point is that they occupy an ecosystem in such a way that a reader recognizes the authenticity of life experience, even in a life that only exists on the page.
Of course, this idea of “useful schizophrenia” is an artifice, a dupe, a way for writers to dole more autonomy to the players. For if certain attitudes, biases, and crimes are assigned to the protagonists—rather than the writer—there’s a liberty to let the characters characterize themselves: they can stalk their habitats behaving however it is that they behave. The author is pardoned from the antics and can simply watch, channel, and document as the action unfurls.
Convinced this is worth it? Ready to improve your writing and get honest feedback on your work?
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