Mastering the Power of Verbs (Video)


Thanks to Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop for hosting this short video. It sums up my thoughts on Verbs and what I covered during my craft lesson earlier this month.

Here I discuss three kinds of verbs, how to evaluate their presence in your writing, and using this for better revision!

A few examples of linking verbs are: to be, to seem, to look, to feel, to become, to appear.

If you’d like more teaching content, please subscribe to my Patreon here. Or join this mailing list. You can also sign up for

my next online class: The Gripping Read at LitReactor

my next local class: 8-Week Intro to Fiction Workshop

Thanks for watching! I’d love to know your thoughts!

Upcoming Classes in 2018

Seth_Harwood_Portrait_12-15-17This winter I have two classes coming up: the first online and the second local to the Pioneer Valley (Central Mass.)

1) Online Course: The Gripping Read at LitReactor

Dates: Jan 23 to Feb 20th   Place: Fully online

You know the feeling when the sense of reading falls away, and you find yourself completely immersed in a book’s action? I’ll show you how to write like that: Engage readers. More here at LitReactor.

2) Local course in Central Mass: 8-Week Intro to Fiction Workshop

Dates: Mondays from Feb 5 to March 26th.    Time: 7-9PM.        Place: Williamsburg, MA

In this course, you will produce creative work of your own and learn how to discuss and critique the work of others. More here from the Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop.

I hope you’ll come join me to learn more about writing craft, stories, and fiction in general. We’ll be doing a lot to discuss the writer-reader connection.

You can also find more of my teaching options and private sessions here via my Patreon page. (Look to upper level rewards.)

I’m also teaching a monthly office hour on the last Friday of the month. Sign up here to get notices about that. It’s FREE!

 

Short Story: To the Bone

41oFurbtTcLHere’s my Southern Gothic style story “To the Bone” for your ears.

Click here to download or listen.

This audio first appeared on CrimeWAV with guest host Mark L. Berry–my boy! Thanks, Mark!

“To the Bone” was first published in The Booked. Anthology back in 2013. Thanks much to the Booked. Podcast guys, who’re also on Patreon here.

Backstory on the story: I don’t know where this one came from, but I wrote it back in SF about 5 years ago. It feels very Faulkner-influenced and, since I’ve just picked up Go Down, Moses again for the first time in a LONG time, I thought of it. Where did these characters come from, Duncan and Estep? Neither of them PC or forgivable? Perhaps the story “Pantaloon in Black” holds the answer. Also, if you’re looking for a good read you could do a lot worse than to start there.

Anyway, that’s my background on this one and a reading tip for the month.

Thanks for listening! If you’d like to find more of my new audio work, head to my Patreon page here.

Chapter 1: THE MALTESE JORDANS (free)

IMG_0294JACK PALMS is BACK! And now for the first time, Chapter 1 of The Maltese Jordans is free for you to download, listen to, share, and crow about to all your friends!

Feel free to share this post. After you listen here to chapter 1 (click to listen or right-click to download) you can head over to my page at Patreon OR go right to this page:

THE MALTESE JORDANS – Episode 1 is HERE

to hear all of episode 1, 3 chapters, all free for your ears! Take the story out, give it a test-drive and see what you think before you buy, purchase, support right there on the Patreon page. Go on! What have you got to lose?

So here’s your boy, working on a new publishing model for audiobooks, asking you to come along for the ride. Enjoy!

See links below for sharing. Thanks.

Interview with Steve Dave at Fascination Street

Click here to download or listen to the podcast.

Steve Owens is a longtime listener and fan of my work, an early and awesome Patreon supporter and a podcaster in his own right. He runs the Fascination Street Podcast, which you can find here: http://fascinationstreetpod.com

Alex Hernandez is his podcasting partner you’ll hear. He runs a separate podcast, Finding Stax (http://findingstax.com/)

In our interview we cover:

  • my recent connection with the real residents of the Young Junius towers
  • the genesis and depth of my recent obsession with Jordans —Revealed!
  • a proper consideration of Patreon post pace and content
  • and much, much more!

I hope you enjoy it.

Denis Johnson Craft Lecture

112299617-30232943In 1999 I had the good fortune to study with one of my heroes, the novelist and short story writer Denis Johnson. This happened at a workshop put on by the University of Montana at a place called Yellow Bay on Flathead Lake.

I took a two-day train trip out of Boston, on Amtrak, and stepped off a train in Whitefish, Montana, spent the night there, and arranged for someone to drive me the rest of the way to the lake. A couple hours, I think.

During that week I met other writers and had a great time. But the highlight was meeting and actually becoming friends with my hero, Denis Johnson.

He liked the pieces I put up for workshop very much, chief among these “When They Were Calling You in for Dinner.” Late in the week, he took me aside. We walked along the shore of the lake, skipping rocks onto the water. He told me (and here I’m paraphrasing), “if you take care of your craft and focus on writing well, everything else will work out.” He said it much more succinctly, clearly, but that was the heart of it. In short, he gave me the confidence to write. Even more than that, he gave me the seed of a faith that this could work. Not the start, but perhaps a foundation of my belief.

He encouraged me to apply to graduate programs, and a year later I wound up at his alma-mater, the University of Iowa, and the Writers’ Workshop. We corresponded for a few years after that and I had the pleasure of being his Iowa City tour guide when he came to read in 2002.

He was a friend, a teacher, and a great writer–the author of Jesus’ Son and the National Book Award-Winning Tree of Smoke, among others.

And now we have lost him. May Denis Johnson rest in peace.

This summer I searched out the tape I bought of his “craft lecture” at that conference and found it, bought a small auto-reverse cassette walkman with a USB output, and I converted it to audio. I hope you’ll enjoy this. I certainly taught me a lot.

Click here to listen or right-click to download the file: http://shoutengine.com/SethHarwoodCrime/SethHarwoodCrime-1999-denis-johnson-craft-lecture-1999-37622.mp3

 

Craft of Fiction Seminar in June

pvww-new-logoTuesday nights this month I’ll be teaching a seminar on the craft of fiction at my new local: The Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop, a new endeavor started by Joy Baglio within the past year. For writers in my new adopted home area of Northampton, MA and its environs, this will be a wonderful new opportunity to meet, write, share, and learn. More here: pioneervalleywriters.org

Fiction Writing: The Craft of Connecting with Readers

In this course, students will focus on writing the kind of clean and gripping prose they’ve loved to read their whole lives. You know the feeling when a sense of reading falls away and you find yourself immersed in a book’s action, tied to the narrator’s struggle, and watching each scene unfold in your mind’s eye? That’s the kind of prose we’ll be working toward creating in this class.
Our first and possibly most surprising lesson: You don’t need a fascinating, multi-layered outline or a stellar plot concept to write like this. Instead we’ll be looking at how writer and reader connect, and build the craft elements necessary to pull readers in and to keep them eagerly turning pages. Students will develop work through exercises in the use of dialogue, visual action, and creating three-dimensional characters in scenes. This class meets four times. Open to writers of all levels and genres.

Signup here: http://www.pioneervalleywriters.org/writing-classes.html