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    Subject Matters

    michelleMichele Karlsberg: How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

    Elisabeth Nonas: Story Workout grew out of my experiences as a writer and teacher of writing. Learning to write isn’t only about how to structure a story, create dimensional characters, craft compelling dialogue, use setting to enhance your themes and meaning. It’s also about figuring out what to write, and knowing the kinds of stories you want to tell and where you want to tell them. The channels for what I call “narrative delivery” have expanded beyond film and television. A partial list includes video games, narrative apps, web series, virtual and augmented reality, ancillary content for TV shows and films, and even theme park rides.

    The stories I had the most professional success with were those that I had a deep connection to, rather than the ones I thought I “should” write based on what I saw on the screen or in novels. So in my classes I don’t just cover story structure, screenplay format, character development, and what makes good dialogue—relatively straightforward material—but I also focus on the more abstract process of teaching students how to find their way to the stories they want to tell.

    My book is my way to provide anyone who reads it with the same tools I give my students. These come in the form of mini-lessons and exercises designed to help storytellers find and connect to the stories they want to tell.

    Novelist and screenwriter Elisabeth Nonas is the author of “Story Workout: Exercises to Help You Connect to the Stories You Want to Tell.” She is an associate professor and the Program Director of the cinema, photography, and screenwriting degrees at Ithaca College. 

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    Cheryl Clark: My new book By My Precise Haircut is a continuation of my lifelong poetic commitments as they addressed key awarenesses: blackness, women’s sexuality, the endangered lives of women and children, and queer people of all sexualities and genders.

    For me, history is essential to my poetics, especially that of the 300 + years of enslavement in this hemisphere—as is so in my previous collections. I include the voices of two enslaved black women in a suite of poems called “Women of Letters: ‘Belinda’s Petition Remembered’ and ‘Please Read.’” I dedicated my book to “Miriam Carey, Sandra Bland, and all black women who have died unarmed at the hands of the state.” Therefore, I write about them and in honor of them. I write also about black women in the armed services, like the poem “A Sister’s Lament as She Poses for an AP Photograph Holding Her Dead Sister’s Portrait.”

    Cheryl Clarke is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent is “By My Precise Haircut” in 2016 from The Word Works Press of Washington, D.C. She resides in New Jersey and Upstate New York.

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBT community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates twenty-seven years of successful book campaigns.