At this salon, Keisha focused on an object, a place, a feeling or a character as a way into larger worlds and questions. One question many writers and aspiring novelists ask is, “where do you start?” Focusing on a very narrow space is an approach that has helped Keisha when starting a writing project. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with needing to see or know the entire novel from day one, she begins by writing the micro and allowing that to lead her to the bigger story. Keisha offered insights and prompts from her writing process that will help us do the same!
“Helping others find the courage and confidence to pursue their passion is the greatest gift anyone can receive.” —Keisha Bush
Prompt #1: Starting Micro with Objects
Think of an object and write for as long as possible about:
- the object itself and/or
- your character’s interactions with or feelings about the object
Prompt #2: Starting Micro with Place
Write about a character taking a trip in a car. The character cannot get out of the vehicle.
Prompt #3: Starting Micro with Feelings
Your character has lost something or is lost themselves.
Keisha’s Book Recommendations:
Scythe Series, Neal Shusterman
House of Spirits, Isabel Allende
The Plague, Albert Camos
Aura, Carlos Fuentes
Bartleby, The Scrivener, Herman Melville
100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Black Face, White Masks, Franz Fanon
Civilization and Its Discontent, Sigmund Freud
Barracoon, Zora Neale Hurston
White Rage, Carol E. Anderson
Dictionary of the Undoing, John Freeman
Citizen, Claudia Rankine
The Odyssey, Homer
Duino Elegies, Marie Rainer Rilke (Stephen Mitchell translation)
Books on my current to-read list:
Biestary, K-Ming Chang
Milk Blood Heat, Dantiel W. Moniz
Remote Control, Nnedi Okorafor
The Prophets, Robert Jones, Jr.
Detransition Baby, Torrey Peters
The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk
Keisha Bush was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her MFA in creative writing from The New School, where she was a Riggio Honors Teaching Fellow, and recipient of a NSPE Dean’s Scholarship. She has received fellowships from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland, Moulin à Nef in France, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. After a career in corporate finance and international development, that brought her to live in Dakar, Senegal, she decided to focus full-time on her writing. Her debut novel, No Heaven For Good Boys, is a New York Times Editors’ Choice.