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Writers on the River Presentation and Workshop


I'm so excited to be giving the first ever workshop for Writers on the River in Corvallis, Oregon! It's already sold out, but if you're interested in attending, contact these great people and get your name on the waiting list.

To read more about the workshop:


On May 20th, the Monday before the workshop, I'll be giving a presentation, "The Story and the Question," which is open to the public:

In my workshop on the 25th, I’ll be talking about where and how to end a story or novel, so it only seems right that I first speak a little about beginnings. When you sit down to write, where do you begin? With character? Voice? Plot? Setting?

How much do you need to know – if anything – before you start committing those words to paper? Should you have a theme? Adopt (or already know?!) a particular style? Can you figure out some of this stuff along the way?

I’m going to argue that you begin with a question that you know you’ll never be able to answer. A question that means enough to you that you’re willing to fumble towards it for 350 pages. Nabokov has a fancypants description for this: “the subliminal coordinates with which to focus the plot.” Jim Shepard calls it “the question to which the novel keeps obsessively returning.” Call it whatever you want, but this is the question you are writing the book to figure out. The question is the eternal engine. Once you know your question, you are ready to begin.

This presentation will last roughly one hour and will move fluidly between an informal lecture and audience Q & A. We will likely look at several examples of these novel-generating questions and consider possibilities for our own.

Presentation: The Story and The Question: May 20, 2013 6:30-8pm
Dennis Hall at First Presbyterian Church, 114 SW 8th St.
Corvallis, OR

Workshop: May 25, 2013 Meet @ 9:45am for all day workshop
Imagine Coffee House (Community Room) 5460 SW Philomath Blvd.
Corvallis, OR

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Comments from Elizabeth

Mar.04.2014 - 8:20 am
In response to: A LONG AND SCARY NIGHT
Deeply moving on so many levels, especially that thought you leave us with. We're "reminded" to consider those living...
Mar.04.2014 - 8:07 am
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Thanks, Charlie. You found my old tough love essay. :) "One thing writers can do for each other is to encourage one...
Feb.19.2014 - 8:00 pm
In response to: Here
Likewise, dear Harrison.  Just now catching up on Red Room and very much looking forward to reading your...
Feb.19.2014 - 7:54 pm
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Thanks so much, Charlie, for reading and commenting on both of these. And "careful and graceful writing" -- such...
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...and you're very kind to ask! I need to be better about posting regularly. Just posted something new -- Hope you...

Published Reviews

Published by Elise Blackwell
“Using clean lines, Eslami cannily depicts the variety of human strangeness and longing. These stories are sage, vital, and addictive. More than that: they will pierce your heart.”