“Falling” to be published in Flying Ketchup Press’ “Tales from the Deep” in Spring 2020

I’m thrilled to announced my short story, “Falling,” will be published this spring in Tales from the Deep, an anthology of fantasy, horror and science fiction.

The anthology will be the product of Flying Ketchup Press, a small press based in Kansas City, MO, and be published sometime after May 2020.

“Falling” is a gothic horror retelling of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House for the Kaufmann family in Pennsylvania.

In the story, retail scion Edward Zeliger Jr. (a fictional representation of E. J. Kaufmann Jr.) becomes fascinated with a mysterious architect (a portrayal of Wright), who Edward Jr.’s father has hired to build their family’s country house. But The Architect’s sublime (and perhaps supernatural) work strives to achieve harmony with nature, a process which has devastating effects on the Zeliger family—and leads Edward Jr. along the dark path constructed by the master builder.

In July 2019, Fallingwater was proclaimed a World Heritage Site. So it is fitting that, a year later, this short story—an appreciation yet cautionary tale about Wright’s work—will reach the wider world. Thanks to all the beta readers who helped shape it!

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Fallingwater. Photo by Harrison Blackman, August 2018.

“Narrative Architecture” creative writing workshop held at Princeton University Writing Program

Within certain storytelling genres (such as fiction & screenwriting), there lurks an essential element that is often difficult to pin down. That element is narrative architecture, the structure of the story that — like the steel frame of a building — works to justify a plotline, and most critically, a character’s decision-making within that context. A self-supporting narrative architecture is a positive feedback loop that is capable of resisting an earthquake of scrutiny; a flimsy narrative architecture will collapse like a house of straw in a tornado.

On March 29, 2018, I gave a 90-minute professional development workshop on “Narrative Architecture” to Writing Center fellows at Princeton University. By using examples as varied as Portlandia, Vertigo, and Macbeth, we analyzed the plot and character dynamics intrinsic to narrative architecture, progressing from a single scene to a sequence of scenes. These examples  helped us answer the following critical questions:

What events must happen for a character to make a critical decision? How can you arrange these events to make that character’s decision justified?

With a deeper understanding of narrative architecture, we practiced analyzing a student fiction story and brainstorming how a Writing Center tutor might be able to give productive suggestions to a student attempting to write an engaging, efficient, and airtight story.

The main ideas of this workshop are currently being adapted to an essay format for future publication. Many thanks to the Princeton Writing Program for inviting me to give the workshop, and to the enthusiastic fellows who participated.

 

C.K. Williams Reading on February 17

On February 17, 2017, I will be reading from my fiction thesis along with my classmates as part of the C.K. Williams Reading Series hosted by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing. The event will be held at 6 p.m. at Labyrinth Books. Learn more here. The reading series is held in honor of the late C.K. Williams, a National Book Award-winning poet and longtime Princeton professor and showcases the writing of Princeton undergraduate writers.