Waiting for publication…

The first review is out of Glixman, and now people are contacting me because they want to buy a copy. But it’s not ready yet, at least in the States, and I don’t even have copies yet, myself. I’m trying to remind myself that this is just a temporary issue, that (G-d willing) my book will be in stores and accessible via Amazon, etc., soon.

In the meantime, I’ve got plenty to do. Passover is coming up, and there’s still cleaning, shopping, cooking to do. I’ve got editing to do. And I’ve got more stories to record on Soundcloud!

The latest, just added this evening, is the true story Continue reading

What I’m Reading Right Now: On Moral Fiction

A while back, EriOn Moral Fictionka Dreifus had recommended John Gardner’s On Moral Fiction, a slim volume dedicated to writing and literary criticism from the POV that an artist has a moral responsibility to their audience, and that art criticism should in part address how well the creator of a work of art has met that responsibility. The book dates from 1978, and it’s amazing how well it (thus far in my reading) stands up over time.

I’m only about three chapters in, and what strikes me most Continue reading

Rabbi Yoel Gold: innovative storytelling

Last week, my profile of Rabbi Yoel Gold appeared in The Jewish Home – L.A. edition. Rabbi Gold leads Congregation Bais Naftoli here in Los Angeles, and teaches in a local yeshiva high school, but he is also becoming quite well known due to a series of videos he began making last year.

I got a chance to interview Rabbi Gold, and he said several interesting things about storytelling, particularly it’s role in education and how he makes sure his “true stories” are true. He also explains how to identify a “good story” to retell. Check out the interview yourself to see what he said.

Telling kids about storytelling

I’m very excited to be visiting one of the local day schools tomorrow. For a change, I won’t be doing a read-aloud of Raizy. Raizy may not even come up, due to the age of the kids involved. Instead I’ll be talking about “Storytelling,” to coincide with the current unit the students are studying in school.

Fishing for a few stories on this fine morning

Breaking down storytelling in forty-five minutes will be challenging, especially at the upper-elementary school level. After a little intro, I plan on making an extended metaphor connecting storytellers to fishermen. I’m hoping it will be both instructive and age-appropriate. I’ve spent quite a bit of time preparing and concocted a whole series of visuals, and the like.

How is a good storyteller like a fisherman?

The truth is, everyone is a storyteller. Continue reading

Writing for Children: not for those who want glory, fame, or big bucks

Last week’s Hamodia/Inyan Magazine had an article by one of my favorite columnists, Rabbi Fishel Schachter entitled “Guided by Tale Winds.” While today Rabbi Schachter is well-known in the Torah world for essays and presentations for adults about the weekly Torah portion, parenting, and other subjects, he first gained popularity as a rebbi and storyteller to students in Jewish day schools.

Rabbi Schachter explains in the article that one of the adults in his audience told him many years ago that he had to choose between teaching grown-ups or kids — and he indicated that the natural choice for a man of Rabbi Schachter’s talent and intelligence was to teach adults.

Turning to his own rebbi for guidance, Rabbi Schachter asked if teaching kids was really beneath him? Were all the silly voices and so on undermining his stature?

Continue reading

How writing a novel differs from writing a screenplay: my last post on STORY

After reading my earlier posts on STORY, you might think I’m 100% sold on the book. I have to admit that I’m a fan, but I do have some quibbles, largely on the adoption of screenwriting techniques for short story or novel writing.

Differences between writing for readers and for viewers that limit the utility of STORY:

1) (The only one I noticed pointed out by McKee) You may get inside the characters heads and explore their thoughts in literature. This creates a greater intimacy between the narrator and the reader. It also means the conflict can be much more subtle and much more interior.

2) Some readers like descriptive, sensory details that can’t be experienced with film — smell and touch can be better evoked, for example (unless you’re viewing in smell-o-rama).

3) The audience must work harder when reading print–in a good way.

4) When contrasted with other useful literary guides, you see some shortfalls. Continue reading