A braided essay weaves together several seemingly disparate moments to create one entertaining and resonant piece. The essay’s true subject is revealed as you alternate topics with varying degrees of tension. You may be watching your father build a fence, planning a birthday party for your son, remembering the last day of your mother’s life, and by the end of the essay the reader will see how each of these events is linked, how these 3 separate stories are, in reality, one. If you can write a braided essay, you have a template to write a novel. Using published examples, we will make this technique our own.
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About Laura J. Oliver
Laura J. Oliver, MFA, is an award-winning developmental book editor and writing coach, who has taught writing at the University of Maryland and St. John’s College. She is the author of The Story Within (Penguin Random House), named by “Poets and Writers Magazine” as one of the best writing books ever published. Oliver delights in teaching others to write successful short stories, novels, memoirs, creative nonfiction articles and personal essays. Oliver’s own fiction and essays are published in national newspapers, magazines and top-tier literary reviews such as The Washington Post, Country Living Magazine, The Writer Magazine, The Sun Magazine, Baltimore Review and Glimmer Train. She guides writers through the submission process, editing successful query letters and proposals and many of her clients have landed book contracts with major traditional publishers such as Simon and Schuster. Co-creator of The Writing Intensive at St. John’s College, she is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction, an Anne Arundel County Arts Council Literary Arts Award winner, a two-time Glimmer Train Short Fiction finalist, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. For more information: www.thestorywithin.com
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