Classy Talk with Michael Shilling

Posted Thu, 3/06/2014 - 4:08pm by  |  Category:

catmichaelWhat is the title of your class?

Plot: It’s Not a Four-Letter Word

People should take this class if…

a) Other people keep reading their work, handing it back, and saying, “This will be better when something happens.”

b) You’re ready to admit that epiphanies at the end of stories do not constitute action

c) You’d like a little more “Breaking Bad” in your work and a little less Alice Munro

Can your students connect with you on social media? If so, how?


Twitter: @Shilling4Eva

Are any of your works online and available to the public?

This company called Amazon sells my book, and on the sales page they offer up some preview pages.

Also, here’s a link to the work I’ve written for MSN Music

And for The Stranger

What’s your teaching philosophy?

Respond to what your students are saying, not what you wish they said. In workshop, approach the work on its own terms and aims. Strive to help, not pontificate. Be nice and open to the idea that you’re wrong a lot, and that students are right. But not too right.

If you could have any famous actor read one of your pieces to you, who would it be and why?

John Slattery, because he’d find the inflections that would make the work more exciting, and which I didn’t even know were in there.

What are you currently working on?

A novel that takes place in Miami in which one young man realizes that the major choices he made in his life were wrong. And people died because of it. Did I mention that it’s a comedy?

What’s your favorite “rule” of writing to break in your own writing?

If you have a lot to tell, tell. Just be specific.

What are you reading now? If you could pair it with a beverage (alcoholic or otherwise), what would you choose?

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Considering the subject matter, I don’t think mixing alcohol with it is a good idea.