Monday, February 7, 2011

More than Just Making a Living

-- Quote of the Day -- 

"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."  

~ Woodrow Wilson

-- World of Writing -- 

Joining us today as our featured guest on the Brummet’s Conscious Blog is Carolyn Moncel, author of Encounters in Paris – A Collection of Short Stories. Her next collection of short stories, 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover will debut this fall. A virtual media and web consultant by day and author by night, Carolyn once lived in Paris for five years and now resides in Lausanne, Switzerland with her family. Visit her website @

Q: Carolyn, what are your thoughts on the creation of good story?
The stories that I hated the most as a child were fairy tales because they always had predictable happy endings.  A good story for me is unpredictable. I like stories with logical and satisfying endings; no story twists that force a happy ending. Some stories shouldn’t have one. I like believable characters executing deeds consistent and truthful to their behavior.  

Q: What drives you to write in certain genres? 
While I love reading novels, I don’t have a burning desire to write one right now. For me writing short stories provide the perfect format for inviting readers to take a peek inside the lives of others, if only for a brief moment.  Stylistically, I am allowed to say my peace, get off the page, move on to another story, and I love it!  

Q: Do you insert your own characteristics in your writing? (Character development in fiction writing)
Yes, in my stories there is always one character that is a little like me in personality.  However, through development the characters’ actions become all their own. That’s where the fun is.  If presented with certain situations in real life, I might have behaved in one manner, but the character has the freedom to do something totally different – maybe something I would’ve liked to have done.

Q: What’s the best advice you were given about writing?

Find your truth in your stories and tell it. Truth is a subjective thing and finding it is risky because it requires deep introspection.  Not everyone will agree with your interpretation.  I think having the courage to say the truth, unabashedly, is the hardest part of writing.  Yet, truthfulness is what readers identify with the most.    

Q: Who are your favorite authors/poets?
Baldwin and F. Scott Fitzgerald are two of my all-time favorites.  However, I also love Flannery O’Connor, John Updike and Toni Morrison.  I am rediscovering Philip Roth.  I adore Zadie Smith.  If I was to choose a poet it would be Nikki Giovanni.  However, I consider songwriters poets as well.  So there would be so many musicians I could add to the list as well.

Q: What is the important role that writers play in today’s world?
I think writers have a duty to speak their truth.  Even when we are describing our own little world, we often are presenting a microcosm of the world at large. If by speaking our truth, we incite readers to reflect on their own lives, the world around them or view their circumstances through a different lens, we have done our jobs.  If through our efforts we are fortunate enough to help at least one more person become a life-long reader, then that should be our greatest success. 

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