Archive for March, 2011

Character writing

The most memorable characters in fiction have an arc of continuous flaws and conflict.  Writing a novel or short stories begins with people and often times the environment becomes a character which is equally as powerful.  LA Carlson


The Rape of Nan King

Today is the birthday of author Iris Chang who was born in 1968 and her most recognized work is entitled; The Rape of Nan King, The Forgotten Holocaust of WWII.  It’s the story of how the Japanese Imperial Army tortured and murdered the Chinese.  It was also her attempt to illicit an apology for the Japanese government for these crimes.  Her account is as traumatizing as anything written about torture during WWII, the Japanese soldiers were often more brutal than the Nazis.  Chang was working on a project involving the Bataan Death March which has a Minnesota connection when she committed suicide in 2004.  LA Carlson

Geraldine Ferraro

I’ll never forget in 1984 when Walter Mondale made history by selecting the first woman, Geraldine Ferraro, to be his running mate in his bid for Presidency.  As a freshman in college studying political science it was a proud moment and even more exciting working on their campaign.  I recently came across a Mondale/Ferraro button I had from those days.  Despite the landslide loss she paved the way for other women in politics for years to come. LA Carlson

We Had It So Good

This character driven work of fiction is a refreshing change from the densely populated stage of memoirs which are being pushed in the book world. Linda Grant plies the reader with a variety of viewpoints and characters to visualize, cringe at and have an ah-huh with. Her writing is solid with narrative and conversation flowing intermittently between nicely paced chapters that are not overly long. The majority of the story takes place over the pond; but begins with a clever introduction on American soil. Only once did I backtrack to a chapter to realize who the author was speaking about but this was an uncorrected proof I was reading. There’s nothing like great fiction with believable characters. I would read Linda Grant again. LA Carlson

Build your brand

If you’re looking to have staying power in the literary world regardless of what form it takes; build your own brand.  I regularly walk into book stores and do my own research as to what books (especially fiction) are published and how books are placed.  The most important quality is to be consistent. LA Carlson

Alice Waters

Are you interested in learning simple techniques for bringing healthy meals into your kitchen?  If so In The Green Kitchen is the book for you.  It gives essential, easy information on doing what more Americans should be doing; home cooking.  According to Alice Waters you don’t have to have an arsenal of cooking equipment but knowledge in the food/cooking world is like anything else, it will bring you to a better place.  The recipes for  garlic mayo, no-knead bread and roasting chicken make my mouth water.  LA Carlson

Diagram Chapbook Contest

Chapbooks became popular in the 19th century and often included many styles of writing;poetry, folk tales and children’s literature.  Today chapbooks are usually no more than 40 pages and are popular in fiction writing because they are inexpensive to produce.  Entry fee of $16.00 by 4-1-11, manuscript of between 18-40 pages of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction or mixed-genre work accepted.  See  more guidelines at Diagram. LA Carlson