When We Talk About Craft: Oprah and Ayana Mathis Discuss

In preparation for my upcoming SBWC17 workshops, I’m crafting a bit of inspiration here thanks to the informative and always entertaining queen of communication, Oprah Winfrey. On a recent SuperSoulSunday book club segment, she interviewed  Knopf author of Twelve Tribes of Hattie,  Ayana Mathis. Her novel became an Oprah Winfrey Book Club selection. Their discussion of ‘process’ so fits with my sensibilities. For me, ‘character’ is how all my stories begin though theme sometimes precedes a character’s birth.

Note how she talks about a character from one story finding its way -or version of -into another story. Also, note the narrative arc….”the glue that…” as Ayana describes her protagonist /Hattie’s role in craft.

Sound familiar?


Listen to Ayana Mathis describe the process of workshopping a story. Does her overview of ‘critique’ sound familiar? How about the feelings associated with getting your work critiqued? Whether your work is critiqued by a Pulitzer Prize winning author – as Marilynne Robinson is- or members of your writing group, the process evokes similar feelings among all of us, doesn’t it?

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