Showing posts with label novel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label novel. Show all posts

30 April 2018

no restrictions

I was asked this week what my choice would be if I could teach anything, and I am thinking about baseball. Perhaps because I visited one of my brothers last weekend, and he took me to Baltimore to see my first Orioles game. Perhaps because I simply love baseball.

The potentials are intriguing.

What's your favorite sports novel?

Reading the Game: Baseball

The Art of Fielding
The Brothers K
The Natural
The Great American Novel
Shoeless Joe
Baseball's Best Short Stories
The Might Have Been
Bang the Drum Slowly
Pafko at the Wall
The Golem's Mighty Swing
The Southpaw
Baseball: a Literary Anthology
The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.
The Summer Game
The Celebrant
Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series
Two Pioneers How Hank Greenberg and Jackie Robinson Transformed Baseball--and America
The Lords of the Realm
The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad

Sherri Hoffman's favorite books »

"In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened."

 ~ Vin Scully
          Announcing Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit, walk-off home run
          in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

02 February 2017

new fiction: Fire, Fire

We heard Fire! Fire! and hauled out of bed like it was a real emergency. Pounded out the back door in our boxers and bare feet. Ranger barking. Michael dragging his blanket. The summer was a dark chill on our skins dragged from our blankets. As soon as I guessed it was Lenny, I knew we’d been duped. Pops’ truck wasn’t in the driveway, and mom was still in Indiana keeping her secrets. Saying she needed a real Indiana summer. Even Pops knew it was something else.
from "Fire, Fire," by Sherri H. Hoffman

Read the rest of my short story, "Fire, Fire" in the newest issue of  Potomac Review, Issue 60. This story is a chapter from the novel I am working to finish, The Wildish Boys.

You can purchase your copy of Potomac Review, Issue 60, online. Or if you are going to the 2017 AWP Conference & Bookfair in Washington, DC next week, I'm sure you can pick up a copy at their table.

10 October 2009

what's real - what's not

Spending a lot of time lately fact checking. If you write a story into a real setting, I think you have a responsibility to make sure you get the real parts right.

Questions like did it really snow in Redmond Christmas 1981? Where would a brand new U.S. Marine go to boot camp if he enlisted in Seattle? And would said same new Marine be hot or cold on August 17, 1990 as he arrived on his new assignment? Or who won the Super Bowl in 1982? (I admit, that's a cheater one because I remember when it happened.)

Today I watched some classic NFL footage. Read stats from all kinds of places, online and that old traditional method: books. Spent some time talking to my USMC cousin in D.C. with some real-life experience in the Gulf War. Read some historical TIME magazine articles. Googled "Scud Bowl." Watched part of a George Clooney movie.

Over the last couple of months, my husband has had to field a whole lot of random questions. As if I was the 3-year old he needed to revisit: do the schools close in Tam O' Shanter if it snows? can you find me a 24-year old weather report? 25-year? what high school did those kids attend? when you were a kid, did you see a Steller's jays or just scrub jays? was there a fence around the golf course? what kind?

Confounded by so many notebooks of so many facts, I have been writing around and around the story today. Perhaps sleep will bring it all together into an intuitive informing of character for tomorrow.

Or perhaps I'll just have that dream, like my daughter, where I am really hungry and the refrigerator is full of only one thing: eggs. Cartons and cartons of eggs.

Analyze that.



13 August 2009

things i learned in conference

The Willamette Writers Conference was a great experience for me. Lots of writers. Lots of writing theory and practical suggestions. First-time exposure to the art of pitching, a most amazing process to witness. I did not pitch anything myself - just trying to figure out how it works at this point. And I might need to work on my knuckle-ball.

I did get a one-on-one manuscript critique with an established writer. The first 20-pages of my novel in progress were submitted back in June, and at the conference, I had a meeting with author and editor Jill Kelly for the review. It was encouraging to get positive feedback. Also confirmed some of my instincts that I have been second-guessing up to now, although in retrospect, it would have been nice if I could have embraced some of those thoughts six months ago. Ah, well. What's that they say about water and a bridge?

The good news is I have a good, orderly direction to pursue as I move forward on the novel.

The bad news is my synopsis sucked. Ha. My first. Silver-lining is that there is "plenty" of room for improvement.

To quote my most favored (and frequent) rejection letter: Onward.


12 June 2008


This week, my novel found its voice. It has been more than a year of writing pages and pages of these boys, the Wildish boys. I have worked parts of it in and out of sessions at The Pinewood Table with Stevan Allred and Joanna Rose.

Most recently in a short summer session, I read a section that I knew was key but not working. Around the table with Stevan, Joanna, Hope, and Christi, the comments were as I expected - and more. High marks on character details, language and energy, but lots of confusion. Chaos. Anarchy, even.

Stevan wrote in his end notes, "I'm pretty lost."

But the conversation over the table was exactly what I needed. It prodded at the sensitive parts, revealed options, opened up language and potential. I went away last week with a new sense of direction and hope, infused with the energy and insights of my teachers, friends and peers.

Reading. Reading. I can hear it, that "thing" that I want, recognize it in my favorites. Stephen King's Stand By Me, William Kennedy's Ironweed and E.L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate. I spent some days with Billy, marking "vertical" and "horizontal" in the margins, line by line.

Taking up my story, this novel in progress, I cleared away everything to get to the part that held my heart, the core of the Wildish story. And then I wrote. Or re-wrote, as it were.

Last night, Julia Stoops read the last chapter of her new novel, and we celebrated. A brilliant achievement. A lovely, talented writer. I am honored to have been across the table from Julia as she breathed life into her novel.

Then I read my revision, a 2-page segment, across the Pinewood Table. And I heard it. Voice.

Bigger than character voice. Stevan called it stance. It is the voice of the story.

It changes everything. I am elated.

My deepest thanks to Stevan and Joanna and all those who have sat across the table from me so that I might hear and practice. And write.