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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Novel Journey with Jeff Turrentine

by Halie Rosenberg

If you've ever thought about writing a novel, you're not alone. Here at Writing Pad many of us are working on such a feat, including journalist and critic, Jeff Turrentine. Jeff has been a contributing writer and editor at Architectural Digest magazine since 2006, and he's reviewed dozens of novels and short-story collections for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

When Jeff decided to write his own novel, he called Writing Pad! Well actually, Jeff's wife bought him the five week So You Want To Be a Writer (SYWBW) class series as a birthday gift! He liked the classes and Adel's delicious soup shooters so much that he came back for a second session. Jeff workshopped parts of his novel during the SYWBW classes and came away with usable insights. "The feedback from Marilyn, and the rest of the group, was very helpful."

Writing Pad helped Jeff muzzle his inner critic. "I've reviewed scores of novels over the years, and by now I'm so hyper-conscious of how good (and bad) stories are constructed that it has become quite difficult for me to let go of my inner critic and just keep writing." To combat this, Jeff reminds himself of Writing Pad's number one rule: "sitting down and simply writing, immediately and unself-consciously, without worrying at that moment about whether it's any good or not. The class taught me that what you're able to get down in those first few minutes of spontaneous writing, however unpolished it may be, often contains the embryos of your characters, plot, tone, etc."

Jeff is currently completing his novel which is a three part story set in Dallas, Texas about the breakdown of utopian political visions. One part takes place in the 1850s, one part in the 1950s, and one part in the very near future. Fascinating! You can check out some of Jeff's amazing reviews at The New York Times, The Washington Post and Slate.

And don't hesitate to let us know if you have a recommendation for our next Writing Pad Awesome Alum!


Writing Pad said...

Can't wait to read your book, Jeff! The parts that I saw in class were amazing. Thanks for being part of our Awesome Alum series. :)


Writing Pad said...

Great article, Halie!