Novelist & Professor, University of San Francisco
“Plaracterization” – a strategy that will help any writer build characters and plot
Saturday, May 16, 2015 11:00 AM-1:00 PM
His work has been reviewed in major newspapers on both coasts and has appeared in the New York Times Book Review. Meet Joshua Mohr, observing the world and writing long after midnight, while the rest of us sleep.
His novels have caught the eye of some of the world’s most visible media: O Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. His novel Some Things that Meant the World to Me became an O Magazine Top 10 reads of 2009. Termite Parade received Editors’ Choice rating on The New York Times Best Seller List. Damascus earned the designation “Beat-poet cool” by The New York Times. Mohr’s most recent novel, Fight Song, inspired The Huffington Post to label him “a brilliant and skilled storyteller.”
A former Mission District bartender who admits he wrestled with alcohol, Mohr once told The San Francisco Chronicle, “So much about being a writer isn’t about talent, it’s work ethic.” Acclaimed for his characters, Mohr is equally known for describing the world uniquely. (When busy, he refers to himself as “in the weeds”.) He calls his tattoos a personal timeline, witness to the scribbling he’s been doing on his skin for years. “My memoir is all over me,” he says, offering no apology for his “wedding invitation” inscribed on his arm, even after the marriage failed.
Teaching in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco, Mohr maintains that the best plots aren’t controlled by an authorial presence, but spring from the characters themselves. During his Sacramento appearance, he will cover characters’ decision making, the causality between plot points, how to include specific tactics for constructing a present action and how to fold in backstory. “The more we program ourselves to think of it in this way,” he says, “that our protagonists are sovereign beings with independent consciousness, the better prepared we are to traverse plaracterization.”
Catching up with Joshua Mohr
Q. What do non-fiction writers learn from novelists and other fiction writers such as yourself?
A. We are all working toward the same goal of telling a compelling story, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. And I’m just putting the finishing touches on a memoir and leaned heavily on the principles of Plaracterization. It crosses genres!
Q. What’s the most important advice you can give to writers with dreams of writing fiction?
A. Show up every day. There is no magical answer for finishing a book, except that it’s a page by page, sentence by sentence process. Do your best to engineer a writing life that you’re deriving pleasure from. That way, it never feels like a chore to get back into the draft and do the work.
Read more about Joshua at http://joshuamohr.net/.
- Monthly Luncheons are open to the public
- Cost is $17 for members, $20 for nonmembers
- The meeting fee includes lunch and beverage
- Cattlemens Restaurant, 12409 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova, CA
The restaurant is located just east of Hazel Ave. at the northeast end of the Nimbus Winery complex along Highway 50. Cattlemens offers CWC a spacious meeting room with free WiFi, quality AV equipment, free off street parking and excellent food.