Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor Rebecca Bohanan! Rebecca is teaching a section of Developmental Editing (Reg# 380026) in our Remote Instruction format, with live Zoom class meetings on Thursdays at 7pm PT this Summer. She sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and her upcoming course.
What do you look for in a good story?
I’m drawn to character-driven stories over plot-driven narratives. While I admire writers who can build out futuristic worlds that look very different from ours, or describe the play-by-play of detailed battle scenes, I’m most invested in a story when a character undergoes an internal transformation. As a reader (or watcher), it’s so rewarding to gain a new understanding of the world by experiencing some part of it through a character’s eyes. I also love returning to stories that have such well-drawn characters that they feel like old friends.
What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
The Brothers K by David James Duncan definitely makes my list of Top 10 Contenders for the Great American Novel. That and The River Why (also by Duncan) are great coming-of-age tales set in the Pacific Northwest. I was introduced to Duncan’s writing through a high school lit class, and both books really left an impression on me—especially since I first read them while living in Oregon.
What’s your favorite quote about writing?
“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of their thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. They cannot inflame the minds of their audience.”—Henry David Thoreau
What do you find most inspiring about editing as part of the writing/publishing process?
I love editing because it always strengthens the writing. It’s like lifting weights. It may hurt a little and tire you out while you’re doing it, but the writing will get stronger.
What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
It’s such a rewarding experience to help others find the story within their story, and bring their own voice to the surface of their writing. I look forward to sharing the skills required to do that with anyone who’s interested in learning!
What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
I’d like anyone who takes my course to finish with a sense of confidence that they could be handed an essay, manuscript, script, or any other form of writing, and they’d be able to give the writer constructive feedback that will ultimately benefit their work. I also hope any writers who take the course will increase their ability to edit their own work.
Thank you to Rebecca for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!