June 2, 2011
06-02-2011
4,303 Views
 
Start At s      End At s
 
Width px      Height px
 
Autostart
Link
Embed Code
Available Versions
 
00:00:08From the Center for the Study and the Teaching of
00:00:10Writing at The Ohio State University this is
00:00:12Writers Talk. I'm Doug Dangler. Lee Martin is
00:00:15the author of five novels including 2006's
00:00:19The Bright Forever, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist,
00:00:22and River of Heaven, Quaker Town, and most recently
00:00:25Break the Skin. He has written two memoirs and
00:00:28a short story collection. He lives in Columbus,
00:00:30Ohio, where he directs and teaches in the creative
00:00:33writing MFA program at The Ohio State University.
00:00:35Welcome, Lee Martin, to Writers Talk.
00:00:39>>Thanks a lot, Doug. Good to be here.
00:00:40>>Great. Well, I'm very happy you're here.
00:00:42I read online that you really want to be introduced
00:00:45with a line from a review of Break the Skin from
00:00:48Publishers Weekly saying, "Here he is crackling
00:00:50with dark deeds and bad intentions! Lee Martin."
00:00:54So now you've been introduced that way.
00:00:56>>Beautiful. Thank you so much.
00:01:00>>And I tried to use the exclamation point that
00:01:01was in it. So lets get to your dark deeds. Tell me
00:01:03about Break the Skin. Tell me about the new book.
00:01:05>>Well, in Break the Skin the premise is based
00:01:09upon a revenge plot that goes wrong. Three women
00:01:14are involved in a romantic triangle with another man.
00:01:20
00:01:21Well, two of the women are and the narrator,
00:01:24Laney, is deeply devoted to one of those women,
00:01:27Delila Daid. They become convinced the third woman,
00:01:33
00:01:33Rose, has placed a hex on them and the only way
00:01:37to get rid of the hex is to kill Rose. Early in the book
00:01:43
00:01:44they decide that this is not a good idea so they
00:01:46call that all off, but Laney finds out that it's harder
00:01:50to get away from that plot than she thought it
00:01:56would be and so the book does revolve around
00:02:02this revenge plot of murder. Laney tried to
00:02:04separate herself from that and finds out that
00:02:07it's really hard to do that.
00:02:09>>So this is based on what in your life? Love
00:02:11triangles around you and being the subject of
00:02:17this or this is just fiction? I'm not sure which.
00:02:20>>Doug, this if what we call a novel and so this
00:02:22is fiction, but it does have a basis in reality
00:02:27in the respect that I was aware of a story of a
00:02:29woman who had convinced these other people that a
00:02:33young girl had placed a hex on all of them.
00:02:36Really what brought me to the novel was trying to
00:02:38figure out how in the world a woman could have
00:02:42that much sway over other people to make them
00:02:45believe that. It lead me to the story of the young
00:02:48woman, a nineteen-year-old woman, upon whom
00:02:51I base the character of Laney, who was a girl who
00:02:56had never been in trouble, the sort of girl who was
00:02:59fairly unremarkable and yet for some reason
00:03:03found herself under the influence of this older
00:03:05woman who convinced her that the hex was in place.
00:03:09That's what really drew me to the subject matter
00:03:12was I was really curious about how this could happen.
00:03:16>>Ok. So you're writing to discover the answers
00:03:20for yourself in a book like this?
00:03:22>>Yeah. Usually I'm always writing out of some
00:03:24curiosity that I have. I think that what keeps me
00:03:27going is trying to figure things out so a lot of my
00:03:34writing process involves just starting in the midst
00:03:38of a story and seeing where I can take that each
00:03:41day as I try to answer the questions that I have.
00:03:44I have a feeling that if I make myself curious
00:03:48I'll make the readers curious too.
00:03:49>>What kinds of answers did you come to?
00:03:51What did you write yourself into the answers?
00:03:52Not to give away the plot, but what is it for you
00:03:57now that you have written the book around the
00:04:00idea of how can someone have this kind of
00:04:01influence over other people?
00:04:03>>Well one of my characters, the other narrator
00:04:05of the book, is a woman in Texas named Betty
00:04:08Ruiz or she goes by the name of Miss Baby
00:04:10because she owns Miss Baby's Tats, a tattoo parlor.
00:04:15Toward the end of the book she simply says that
00:04:19it was all about wanting to matter to someone.
00:04:23Wanting so badly to matter to someone that you
00:04:26found yourself doing things that you never
00:04:29thought you would do all for the sake of love.
00:04:31What I found on the underside of these dark deeds
00:04:35and evil intentions was the fact that it happens
00:04:41
00:04:42because people want to matter to other people and
00:04:45so they go to extremes that they never thought
00:04:47they would go to. So really it's a story of love
00:04:51underneath all of that.
00:04:54>>It's a love story.
00:04:55>>It is.
00:04:57>>A comforting love story. That's really interesting
00:04:59that you say that its all about mattering, wanting
00:05:01to matter to somebody else because I come from
00:05:04a background of rhetoric persuasion, things like
00:05:06this, and we're always thinking that it's the person
00:05:09who has the ability to persuade others that is really
00:05:13what the plot turns around, but this is the other way.
00:05:16It's saying wanting to believe is that person wanting to
00:05:21matter to that person is really what the world turns around.
00:05:23>>Well, particularly in the case of Laney. She wants
00:05:25to matter so much to Delilah Daid that she finds herself
00:05:31
00:05:32allowing this belief and the hex to exist. Once she
00:05:36allows the space for that, then she's on a road that
00:05:42
00:05:42is going to be hard for her to get off of and she tries
00:05:47her best, but events have been set in motion at that
00:05:53
00:05:54point and they have to come to their end.
00:05:56>>Right. And from the position she's narrating from,
00:05:58she actually remarks on that once or twice in the
00:06:01novel. "Had I known then.." and she's doing that sort of
00:06:04foreshadowing which I found interesting.
00:06:06Now you were born and raised in a small Illinois
00:06:08town, probably similar to a lot of Ohio towns and
00:06:10you describe it as, "I'm connected to the rhythm
00:06:13of the seasons. The stark beauty of its landscape,
00:06:16the come and go of its people." The connection is
00:06:20evident in Break the Skin. There's a lot of-
00:06:21Landscape plays a roll in a lot of the book.
00:06:26I'd like to hear more about how you see your
00:06:29background as appearing in your writing.
00:06:31For example, I'm an Ohio native and I have to say
00:06:33that I'm not always aware of the stark beauty of
00:06:35the landscape of the Midwest. What is it that you're
00:06:38referring to there? What in the stark beauty, the
00:06:42come and go of the people, the rhythm of the
00:06:44seasons? How are you connected to that and
00:06:46how does it show up in the writing?
00:06:48>>Well, my father was a farmer in southeastern
00:06:50Illinois and my mother was a grade school teacher
00:06:55and because my father was a farmer, I was, from a
00:06:58very early age, attuned to the changing of the
00:07:02seasons, the way weather affects the crops, the
00:07:06way the landscape changes throughout the seasons,
00:07:10that sort of thing. Once I lived away from the
00:07:16Midwest, as I have for a while, I've been back here
00:07:19for ten years here in Columbus, but once I lived away
00:07:23from the Midwest I started to miss it. I started
00:07:27to miss the changing seasons. I was living in
00:07:29Texas for quite awhile and I missed the changing
00:07:32of the seasons. So now that I'm back, it's all very
00:07:37poignant to me and so if I take drive across I-70 for
00:07:41example, through Indiana and into my native Illinois,
00:07:45even if it's the dead of winter, I'm just charmed by
00:07:50the landscape. I love the brown fields, I love the
00:07:55snow falling in the dead furrows of the fields and
00:08:00that changes as the seasons change and I do find
00:08:02a stark beauty in the Midwestern landscape and I
00:08:07find that also in the people of the Midwest.
00:08:10I've been on a campaign here lately for
00:08:13literature from the Midwest, which I think has
00:08:16its own place in our canon these days.
00:08:19>>It's interesting in this book because you've
00:08:21got somebody from the Midwest, Laney.
00:08:24All of these characters seem to be, Laney and the
00:08:26group in Illinois seem to be natives and then
00:08:29Miss Baby is in Texas but the description of
00:08:32Texas is very different within that. It's othered
00:08:36for a couple of reasons. One is that she's a
00:08:39different ethnicity than the rest. I was curious
00:08:41about when you started writing this book, what
00:08:44was the research into that? Did you speak Spanish?
00:08:47Is that something you picked up? Is it just something
00:08:49you researched enough for the book? What's the
00:08:51necessary alteration for you as a writer to do that?
00:08:57
00:08:57>>I have studied Spanish, but I wouldn't say that
00:09:01I speak it. As I say in the acknowledgements page,
00:09:04I know just enough of it to make me dangerous and
00:09:06so I relied upon one of my colleagues at OSU to help
00:09:11me with some of the Spanish. I lived in Texas for
00:09:13five years and this book actually began with Miss
00:09:16Baby's section even though in the finished book it
00:09:19appears about a third of the way in. The first scene
00:09:22I wrote was Miss Baby coming out of her tattoo parlor
00:09:26one evening and finding a man on the street corner
00:09:30who eventually tells her that he doesn't know who
00:09:34he is or how he got to Denton, Texas. Miss Baby,
00:09:40seizing an opportunity that stuns her once it happens,
00:09:44tells him that he's her husband and now lets go home
00:09:48and they do go home and over the period of weeks
00:09:53and months that they're together they start to fall in
00:09:57love. To answer your question, it's simply a matter of
00:10:01immersing myself in the culture of the place. I carried
00:10:05with me everything I knew from that part of Texas and
00:10:09that particular town in Texas, in that particular corner
00:10:13where Miss Baby discovered Lester Stipp.
00:10:17>>But there isn't a Miss Baby's Tattoo Parlor?
00:10:20>>No, there is not a Miss Baby's Tattoo Parlor.
00:10:21>>I was just curious how closely you adhered to
00:10:24that because there's the old adage, you can tell
00:10:26me your opinion on this, write what you know.
00:10:30Is that something that you make a lot of use of?
00:10:35Is that something you repeat to students because
00:10:37you're writing about something which you know?
00:10:40There always seems to be a double side to that.
00:10:43It could be good, it could be bad.
00:10:45>>Yeah, I agree with that. I do tell students to
00:10:48write about what's genuine to them, what's authentic
00:10:50to them as I try to do in my own work. That doesn't
00:10:54necessarily mean the experiences that you've lived
00:10:56through. Often when those are put on the page by
00:10:59young writers they don't leave enough room for
00:11:02invention and the imagination, they just try to duplicate
00:11:06the facts of their lives. It often means writing from the
00:11:11conflicted feelings that we all experience as we grow up.
00:11:17
00:11:19The combination of sadness and anger, the combination
00:11:25
00:11:27of humiliation and pride, whatever those might be and
00:11:30so sometimes it's a good idea to find a way to look
00:11:35away from the self, but to always stay in touch with
00:11:39those moments from your past that brought out very
00:11:43conflicted emotional feelings in you. That's what I try
00:11:47to impress upon my students.
00:11:51>>So, reach for the painful, conflicted moments.
00:11:53>>Yeah, well you can describe it as painful if
00:11:56you'd like, but conflicted in whatever way.
00:11:59>>How do students generally respond to that?
00:12:01Is that something I'm guessing MFA students
00:12:03really take in and sort or cherish because that's
00:12:06something as a writer you have this romantic
00:12:09notion of chasing the conflict within your own
00:12:12life and using it for art.
00:12:14>>Well, I think by the time the students get to
00:12:17our MFA program they've pretty much embraced
00:12:18what Faulkner called the human heart in conflict.
00:12:22Really the kind of thing that I'm talking about
00:12:27happens most often in my undergraduate classes.
00:12:31>>When did you start writing? Where did you get your start?
00:12:34>>I always wrote, not well, but I wrote. I started
00:12:40writing when I was a kid, spent an afternoon deciding
00:12:44I was going to write the next great Bobbsey Twins
00:12:48novel. That took about an hour, knocked that one
00:12:50off. I started seriously writing when I was in college
00:12:55and I started writing poems, which I think a lot of people
00:13:01do. Those angst-driven teenage poems.
00:13:03>>Again, reaching into the conflict.
00:13:04>>Exactly. The angst of lost love and aimless
00:13:09youth, etcetera etcetera, but eventually I turned
00:13:12my attention to short fiction. I did a Bachelors
00:13:18
00:13:18degree and a Masters degree at Eastern Illinois
00:13:21University and then worked for three years and
00:13:23decided that it was time to get serious about
00:13:26studying writing and that's when I went to the
00:13:28University of Arkansas for their MFA program.
00:13:29>>What made that turn for you? What was the
00:13:31idea that it's time to get serious about writing?
00:13:33You weren't happy with the day job? You list a
00:13:35number of day jobs: flipping burgers at Burger
00:13:37King or restaurants and things like that.
00:13:41>>Yeah, and at the time I was working a full time
00:13:43job as a coordinator for a federal program that
00:13:46helped students get into college, but I was
00:13:51always writing. I was writing in the evenings
00:13:53and I decided that this MFA program might
00:13:59be a good thing. It would deepen my study of
00:14:02craft and it would also start me on a path of
00:14:06what I would always wanted to do, which was teach.
00:14:09>>When did you start calling yourself a writer
00:14:13then? Was it right around this time? Was it before
00:14:14or after the Bachelors you called yourself a writer.
00:14:17I'm curious because you had a full time job doing
00:14:20something else and most people say oh, I'm my
00:14:21full time job when you ask them their self-identity.
00:14:25When did that switch for you to talk place for
00:14:27you to say, "I'm a writer now?"
00:14:29>>Well, I think at that time I probably wouldn't
00:14:30have answered the question what do you do by
00:14:33saying I'm a writer. I imagine I didn't start doing
00:14:38that until I actually started publishing.
00:14:39>>The advice that people often get and the advice
00:14:45that you had talked about writing what you know,
00:14:48I'm curious about how you turn that into the
00:14:51process on yourself and whether... You've only written
00:14:56a couple things. You've written memoir, short stories,
00:14:58longer novels. What you tend to gravitate toward is
00:15:04novels, which takes away from memoir. What is the
00:15:09turn there for you? Why the turn towards memoir if
00:15:11you're more in a fictive mode?
00:15:14>>Well, I really love working in both forms.
00:15:16I started as a fiction writer and then when I
00:15:20went to the University of North Texas to teach,
00:15:23they assigned me a workshop in creative
00:15:26non-fiction. I thought well, I should try to
00:15:29write some of this if I'm going to teach other
00:15:31people how to write this. I wrote an essay called
00:15:33"From Our House," which was the first time I had
00:15:36written directly about my father and the farming
00:15:42accident that cost him both of his hands when I
00:15:43was about a year old. That essay opened up
00:15:47material that I had approached indirectly in all
00:15:53of my short stories, but for the first time I was
00:15:55writing about it and claiming it as my experience.
00:15:57I wrote about four essays and before I realized I
00:16:00had a narrative arc and I had a book and that
00:16:02became my first memoir, From Our House.
00:16:05Now I find myself going back and forth between
00:16:09the two genres because there's just certain
00:16:12material that I want to own and I want to
00:16:16announce that is it my experiences that I'm
00:16:19putting on the page because that's what I really
00:16:22got out of writing From Our House. The first time
00:16:25of actually stepping forward and saying this is
00:16:28who I was when I was a young man. I was in this
00:16:32very difficult relationship with my father, who
00:16:35turned violent after his accident, but he and I
00:16:39eventually came to reconciliation and redemption.
00:16:43There was something empowering, just claiming
00:16:47that as mine. That's what got me into non-fiction,
00:16:52it's what's kept me there and it's what I enjoy
00:16:55about going back and forth between the two forms.
00:16:58>>What was that like writing that first thing you
00:17:02said? Is that part of what led you to the redemption
00:17:06part? Was writing something that helped you through
00:17:08that or was that something that was separate from and
00:17:10you were able to use writing to describe the experience?
00:17:13>>Well, I always tell people that once somebody
00:17:15decides they are going to write a memoir, that
00:17:18person has pretty much accepted the fact that the
00:17:24writing will give them a way of thinking about
00:17:27the experience and a way of sorting through it
00:17:31and making some kind of sense out of it.
00:17:34By the time I wrote From Our House I was ready
00:17:37to face the material so it wasn't a hard thing to
00:17:40start writing. I don't like to think of writing as
00:17:43a therapeutic process although I think I can be.
00:17:47I just know that by the end of my writing of From
00:17:51Our House I was a slightly different person than
00:17:53I was when I began the book.
00:17:55>>Now we mentioned The Bright Forever from
00:17:582006 for which you were a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
00:18:00What was the experience like, the process like,
00:18:03of learning about that? Was it a phone call, e-mail,
00:18:05sky writing over your house? How do they tell you
00:18:08and how did you respond to it?
00:18:12>>Well, it's really funny because you have no
00:18:15idea this news is coming. I was observing a
00:18:19graduate students class at Ohio State that
00:18:24afternoon and when I got back to my office my
00:18:26inbox was full of congratulatory e-mails and
00:18:30the first one was from a former student who
00:18:33said did you know that The Bright Forever is
00:18:37a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize? Well no, I didn't
00:18:41know and I thought it was like the National Book
00:18:44Awards where there would be five finalists and
00:18:46then in a months time there'd be a ceremony
00:18:49where the winner would be announced, but
00:18:52that's not the way it works with the Pulitzer Prize.
00:18:55The winner is notified. The two finalists are not
00:18:59called. They find out through their friends who
00:19:05read it online and then within a few weeks I got
00:19:10a letter from the President of Columbia University
00:19:13where the awards are done and a congratulatory
00:19:17letter, but that was the extent of it.
00:19:20>>Sounds a little anticlimactic.
00:19:23>>There's nothing anticlimactic about it, Doug.
00:19:29It was a fantastic moment.
00:19:32>>Good. Well I'll remember it when I get mine.
00:19:34>>You do that.
00:19:36>>Since I've never published anything, I figure
00:19:39I'm sure it's on its way. What's your best advice
00:19:42for a writer? What's the advice you seem to come
00:19:47back to and I guess in a general sense? I know
00:19:48much good advice comes, well probably, most
00:19:50comes to specifics when you respond to a piece,
00:19:52but what do you think is the most useful advice
00:19:53you've gotten or given?
00:19:55>>The best advice I ever read about writing, and
00:19:59this is what I pass on to everybody, comes from
00:20:02Isak Dinesen who said, "I write a little each day
00:20:05without hope, without despair." I think that that
00:20:09is a very, very wise thing. What we need to do is
00:20:11forget about the result. In other words, forget
00:20:17
00:20:19about publication and all the things that come
00:20:23with that and become more interested in the
00:20:26process, the day-to-day process of exploring
00:20:29material no matter the form that you're working
00:20:31in. If you can do that, then I think the result will
00:20:36come. I'm a firm believer that if what brought
00:20:39us to that writing in the first place was not
00:20:42because we wanted to publish, it was because
00:20:47we have a love of language and we understood
00:20:50in someway that language could help us better
00:20:53understand the world around us. That labor of
00:20:56love of just following the words on the page
00:21:01is what continues to satisfy me in all the years
00:21:04I've done this and I hope it's what satisfies my
00:21:07students when they do it as well.
00:21:11>>Let's get into the specifics about that.
00:21:14You said that you get into the process. You love
00:21:17the process. What's a good day for you in writing?
00:21:22How do you judge? I know you say no hope,
00:21:23no despair, which is a pretty blanket statement
00:21:26in some ways. What is that specifically? Do you say
00:21:28I'm not going to have hope or despair,
00:21:31but I'm going to have four pages?
00:21:33>>No. I don't set any goals for myself as far as
00:21:36page, word count, anything like that. A good day
00:21:38for me, which will come soon this summer, I'm sure,
00:21:44now that I'm almost done with teaching, a good
00:21:48day would be three to four hours of work where
00:21:50I find myself completely immersed in the
00:21:53characters and their situations that I'm following
00:21:56on the page. If I get to the end of that time and
00:22:00I feel that I've gone more deeply into the characters
00:22:05and their situations, then I'm very, very satisfied.
00:22:09>>You're sitting at your desk? You're typing or are
00:22:15
00:22:15you using a computer or long hand?
00:22:17>>Well sometimes I'll start long hand because I
00:22:20really feel that there is something about the
00:22:22movement of the hand across the page that helps
00:22:24me capture the rhythm of the prose that I'm going
00:22:27to use in whatever I'm working on, but eventually
00:22:30I'll switch to the computer.
00:22:33>>What do you like? I've always got this image
00:22:35of authors sitting at the desk and they're typing
00:22:38away. I remember it used to be Steven J. Cannell
00:22:40would have that at the end of each of his six million
00:22:43scripts that he cast out of a typewriter. I've also had
00:22:46this idea that you're sitting there and sort of talking
00:22:48back to your characters and inhabiting. Is that
00:22:51something that happens for you or is that just all
00:22:57upstairs, it never gets verbalized, you're very quiet
00:23:01sitting there not arguing? There seems to be a divide
00:23:03among authors on how they do that.
00:23:05>>I'm very quiet. I'm just trying to listen to my
00:23:07characters. I do a lot of staring out the window until
00:23:10I hear the line I need or I figure out a little problem
00:23:16
00:23:18in the narrative that I've been struggling with, but
00:23:21I don't say much to my characters.
00:23:25>>You're an active blogger at LeeMartinAuthor.com,
00:23:29which I found really interesting because your books
00:23:33are categorized as serious fiction and there are a lot
00:23:36of views I think by people doing serious fiction about
00:23:41the Internet. It's Satan; it's bad for authors. Do you
00:23:42see that as a distinctly separate genre? Is it a variant
00:23:45of memoir for you when you're blogging about things
00:23:47in your life? How do you feel about that?
00:23:50>>First of all I would say that I was very resistant to
00:23:56the idea of a blog, but the advice was if you're going
00:24:01to have website, a blog is a necessary
00:24:04component of the website.
00:24:07>>You almost said evil, you said component.
00:24:09>>But once I started doing the blog, I found that
00:24:12I really enjoyed it. I look at it sometimes, as you
00:24:14say, a variant of memoir. When I'm writing about,
00:24:18for example, a recent post I did about the pronunciation
00:24:24
00:24:25of the word peony, the flower, which we always said
00:24:31piney in southeastern Illinois. That lead me to a
00:24:36piece that would be very close to something I would
00:24:39do in memoir, but other times I'm writing about the
00:24:43craft of writing or writing about the teaching of
00:24:46writing. I find that the blog becomes an extension
00:24:48of the conversations that are going on in my
00:24:51workshops and among my students. Sometimes
00:24:54something's said in a class that I feel we didn't
00:24:57get at as well as we could have and so I'll write
00:25:00about that. I'm really enjoying this way of engaging
00:25:03with readers either about personal stories or about
00:25:09pedagogical concerns or just the craft itself.
00:25:13>>I was surprised by how long some of the entries
00:25:16were because I thought this is a significant
00:25:18investment because you're also on Twitter, for
00:25:21example. The Tweets are by necessity 140 characters,
00:25:26but you're directing them back to the blog, which are
00:25:28really long. To me that's a really interesting split
00:25:33because those audiences are so different, you know.
00:25:35If you're reading Tweets like check, check, check,
00:25:38check, check and if you're reading something that
00:25:42long you're really into the craft or so I assume. The
00:25:45last question I have now is your blog and your book
00:25:49of short stories are both titled The Least You Need
00:25:54to Know. What attracts you to that phase?
00:25:55What is the least you need to know?
00:25:57>>Well, the phrase comes from the title story of
00:26:01my first story collection, a story in which a son
00:26:04writes about a father whose job is to clean up
00:26:07crime scenes after the police have released them.
00:26:12In the midst of the story we run up against the
00:26:15idea of how much we can stand to know about the
00:26:20people that we love. The assumption is that there
00:26:23are always things beneath the surface. The cover
00:26:27of that book is a painting of a closed door, which
00:26:33
00:26:33I hope invites the reader to think about what's on
00:26:38the other side of that door and how much courage
00:26:41does it take to walk through and see what's on the
00:26:44other side of that door. I like it as the title of the
00:26:47blog because I think anybody engaged in the craft
00:26:50of writing or the profession of teaching is always
00:26:55coming up against those same questions of how
00:26:58can we open the doorways to the things that we
00:27:01might not want to talk about but need to talk about.
00:27:04>>Is there a danger for you as an author in
00:27:06knowing too much about a character on the other
00:27:08side? You said, ok I can't write about this person
00:27:11because I'm no longer interested.
00:27:13>>Yeah, absolutely. I think that if you know too
00:27:16much about the character too early, that character
00:27:18can only be that person that you've decided he or
00:27:20she is and what I'd rather see in a piece of fiction
00:27:23is a character who's capable of surprise as they
00:27:26evolve through the circumstances of the narrative.
00:27:32
00:27:32>>That leads you to the idea of you don't work your
00:27:36arcs out in advance. You're surprised by the endings.
00:27:39>>The first novel I wrote I gave it a classic
00:27:44three-act structure and I knew what I was heading
00:27:48toward at the end of each of the three acts. Since
00:27:51then I've really operated on this principle of curiosity.
00:27:54Even though, say in The Bright Forever when I
00:27:58knew that the book would have a certain arc to
00:28:01it, I didn't have any idea how I was going to get
00:28:04from one point to another. I'm really just trying
00:28:07to make myself curious and satisfy my curiosity.
00:28:11>>Ok. So Break the Skin is satisfying curiosity for
00:28:13you. From now on all these books are going to be
00:28:16satisfying your curiosity so we just have to find out
00:28:19what you're curious about and that's how we get a book.
00:28:21>>There you go. Ask me and I'll tell you.
00:28:24>>Alright, well thank-you very much for being
00:28:27here on Writers Talk, Lee Martin. Appreciate it.
00:28:30>>Thank you, Doug. I appreciate it too.
00:28:32>>And Lee Martin's books are widely available,
00:28:34including the Writers Talk section of The Ohio
00:28:37State University bookstore. That's a good place
00:28:40to get it. And from The Center for the Study and
00:28:41the Teaching of Writing at The Ohio State University,
00:28:43this is Doug Dangler saying, "Keep writing."
Note : Transcripts are compiled from uncorrected captions