Paul Theroux, Lorrie Moore, Jorge Luis Borges, J.P. Donleavy, Bruce Chatwin
Writing tip I live by:
The first sentence is the most important in your story. The second is like unto it, and so forth. A few sentences of dialogue can often explain a relationship between two people better than a page of exposition. Give us conflict, and let us know why we should care about a character. Don’t be afraid to jump into a story headfirst; you can give us the background later. Here’s a sentence for you: “They found the stroller at the end of the dock.”
Barnaby Conrad III
I am the author of 11 books of non-fiction, including Absinthe, The Martini, and Ghost Hunting in Montana, I’ve published hundreds of magazine articles. Two novels are making the rounds with agents. As a travel writer, I’ve always tried to find the story in a journey, not just the reporting of facts. Non-fiction and fiction cross-pollinate to make good writing. A former magazine editor in New York and travel writer in Paris, I am the co-founder of Kanbar & Conrad Books, an imprint of Council Oak Books, where I edit fiction and non-fiction.
What I require of my students
I want you to stretch yourself, to not just tell a story, but to make every sentence sing. I expect you to surprise me—and yourselves. I would rather read one great page of writing than ten pages of typing. I may ask you to reduce a 300-page novel to 30 sentences. Expect some fun this week.
My advice for writers who have never attended SBWC
This is a friendly place with a lot of energy. Carry a notebook everywhere and jot down your whirling impressions, because stories will pop into—and out of—your head like never before. Get it onto the page as fast as possible. You can expand later.