7 thoughts on “Week 10 reading response: Questions

  1. Joel says:

    Mario Alberto Zambrano
    How often do you opt for short stories with open ending? Is it a technique you prefer?
    How do you choose the narrative from your stories? Do you experiment with different ones on the same piece?

    Paul LaFarge
    Following up on Rosendale, has the golem ever appeared in your life? And if so, how did you overcome it/control it?
    How much of our personal experiences is reflected in the characters from your stories?

    Alexander Chee
    What are some of the recurring themes in your stories? How related are they from one another?

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  2. Ronni says:

    Paul LaFarge:
    In which ways do you think creating a meta-structure of writing within writing benefits a story? What should I be wary of when using this device in my writing?
    When you first created April P., what made you want to return to her again in a different story? Or were you always planning to have her recur in your writing?

    Alexander Chee:
    Do you think that in order to create a compelling protagonist, he or she must be a ‘black sheep’ of sorts in their surroundings?
    How do you write sex scenes that are not embarrassing to read?

    Mario Alberto Zambrano
    In ‘Pelion’, your main character writes a letter to another person. How do you distinguish between your own voice as a writer and that of your characters’? Are there points in the story where you felt that you had to relinquish your own presence to that of your narrator’s?

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  3. Loulou says:

    Mario Alberto Zambrano:
    – Do you consider this a love letter? Or as something different
    – Because of the first person narrative it feels very personal. Was it personal or how did you achieve this?

    Paul LaFarge:
    – Which of the two characters did you enjoy more to write?
    – How did you get the inspiration to use a golem?

    Alexander Chee:
    – Did you also come up with other houses before choosing this ‘insincere house’?  the interior description
    – Did you consider putting in the meeting of the family in the house?

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  4. Alona Cohen says:

    Mario Alberto Zambrano:
    In ‘Pelion’ your narrator’s interaction with the person to whom he is writing is very limited, however the addressed seem to have a major impact on the narrator. Did you consider writing a more personal encounter between the two?
    while describing the house in ‘Pelion’ you wrote in extreme detail in order to introduce a character that is never there. How did you decide how much details to give and what kind, so the reader can know the character?

    Paul LaFarge:
    Towards the end of ‘Another Life’ the narrator’s focus shifts from the husband to April P. Was that how you originally planned the story to end or did the shift happen while writing?
    In ‘Rosendale’ April P becomes and unreliable narrator. How did you approach writing her in this story as opposed to ‘Another Life’? Do you have some rules when it comes to writing unreliable narrator and trading the lines of reality?

    Alexander Chee:
    In ‘The Insincere House’ Jake’s family and culture play a big role in his life choices. Do you think a writer can write characters that have a different ethnic background then their own, and still give a true portray of the culture on which they are writing?

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  5. Lola Jalbert says:

    Mario Zambrano:
    1) The story seems to go by for a while without specifying the protagonist’s gender and his name is never given? Why is this?
    2) What was your inspiration for writing a story in which the two main characters rarely, if ever, meet, yet have such an intense relationship?

    Paul La Farge:
    1) The perspective of “Another Life” is from the character referred to as ‘the husband’ who is a self proclaimed writer. At the end of the story, April P sits down to write a story as well. When writing this, which of the two characters did you see as being the writer of the story?
    2) In “Rosendale,” April P’s reckless personality is enhanced even more than in the first story but why she does the things that she does is seldom discussed or explained. Do you consider her to be a drug addict, a sociopath, or delusional?

    Alexander Chee:
    1) I really enjoyed your opening line to the piece. What inspired it?
    2) The entirety of the story takes place while the protagonist waits for his family to arrive to begin their vacation. Why do they never arrive within the story?

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  6. Paul LaFarge
    -Is the golem a metaphor for troubling but fruitful inspiration that a young yet undeveloped writer is constantly confronted with?
    -How does your way of writing reflect the emotions you want the reader to feel (be it confusion, discomfort, stress)?
    Mario Alberto Zambrano
    -How did you succeed in depicting conflict through putting a character in a self-reflective situation (writing a letter)?
    -Is there any significance in the characters being left nameless?
    Alexander Chee
    -How difficult was it to expose the id of a character that is so capable of self-reflection?
    -“Someone’s vacation darkest secret, he thinks as he fills the cup with ice and pours in equal parts of vodka, coconut rum and Diet Coke. Now mine.” Is the character taking over other people’s “dark” secrets because he is so troubled with his own?

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  7. Lindsay parkhowell says:

    Questions for Mario :

    In your story pelion place often  mirrors mood (I’m thinking mainly of the Greek island and the dance companies.) How do you balance these two concepts so one doesn’t dominate the other?

    You use a very colloquial, confessional narrative voice. it feels very close to the reader. Did you décide for this over an impersonal third person , or was it the material of the story that decided?

    Questions for Paul:

    ‘Another life’ flows so seamlessly between the different lives it narrates. I guess that there was a lot of drafting involved in making this story so lean, so precise and short without unnecessary details. Were you under a word limit? Could you please tell us about your drafting process and how you sketch out your characters?

    I really like how you weave other stories , like the golem and frankenstein, into your story ‘Rosendale’. Thé story wears your learning lightly. Do these references just ’emerge’ through analogy in your stories or are they more self-conscious?

    Questions for Alexander:

    Your story ‘the insincere house’ reveals the secrets of one of the characters. Could you tell us about the difference between telling and showing in revealing?

    To what extent do you draw your characters from real people, or even just observed moments or interactions? Are they unrecognisably ‘fiction’ by the end of the process?

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