Novelist says “Read ferociously!”

“I had the writing bug all of my life,” says Greg Belliveau, “but as a kid, I didn’t find any writing mentors. They just weren’t available.”

By that, Greg means that he didn’t know any writers in person.

But he did know that he loved reading.

“The first thing I often tell my students,” Greg says, “is to read ferociously!”

And by that, he means read a lot, read a wide variety of works, and read every day.

Greg, who is a writer, is now to many area students that very mentor that he wished for as a kid … and that he eventually found while completing his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Pacific University in Oregon.

An Assistant Professor of English at Cedarville University for the past 17 years, Greg also recently began serving as an Adjunct Instructor at Antioch University Midwest in that school’s Individualized Master of Arts program in Creative Writing. Greg has also led students in the “Getting Started” seminar of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop’s summer program in Yellow Springs. He lives in Cedarville with his wife and two daughters, and says they love the hometown lifestyle.

Greg explains that, as a ferocious reader himself, “I like pathos and humor on the same page. Other than that, my reading tastes aren’t really bound by genre. I’m currently re-reading Moby Dick and am reading Cloud Atlas. Obviously, I also like the ‘maximalist’ school of writing — stories that include a lot of detail and description.”

Other authors that he likes are David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest) and Paul Harding (Tinkers).

But Greg has achieved much more than ‘reading ferociously’ and serving as a writing mentor. He is a 2008 Christopher Isherwood Grant Recipient, earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s January 2012 Short-Short Fiction Contest, and was the 2002 Christy Award finalist for Best First Novel, for his novel, Go Down To Silence , which was published by Random House in 2001. (He’s excited to share that Random House will soon re-release this novel as an e-book.)

Additionally, Greg has been published in The Atticus Review, The Cleveland Review, and Vine Leaves; his vignette “LG Don’t Want To Fly” was selected for Vine Leaves’ 2012 Best Of Anthology published by eMergent Publishing, December 2012.

Currently, Greg says he is working on a thriller series set in the turn of the previous century on Lake Erie.

“Researching the 1900s has turned out to be consuming but entrancing,” Greg says.

Besides reading ferociously, Greg advises writers to “write every day!” He manages to do so, himself, most days by finding “time between academic requirements.” Given his teaching loads, sometimes that’s just a few precious minutes; sometimes between terms that’s longer.

He adds, “as a writer, it’s important to analyze how a piece of writing works and think about how you can apply those techniques — whether it’s setting a scene, or great dialogue, or character development — to improving your own writing. That’s part of studying and learning the tools of one’s craft!”

His last bit of advice: “Finish! Too often, writers start a piece and after the initial excitement wears off, move on just a little too soon. Give each piece of writing a chance to come to life!”

Great advice from a reader, a writer and a mentor.

Other Literary Life News

The Third Annual Yellow Springs 10-Minute Play Festival, now through Sept. 1, is accepting script submissions. As a showcase for local talent, the festival accepts submissions only from playwrights with a strong Yellow Springs connection: current or past residents, those currently employed in Yellow Springs or Miami Twp., and past or current participants in Yellow Springs Center Stage. Selected playwrights also are actively involved in the production of their plays (for example, casting and directing), but advice and help are available as needed from the festival managers, including a limited number of directors. “Being actively involved is tremendous fun and a source of inspiration for continued script-writing,” explains Virgil Hervey, founder and manager of the 10-minute play festival. Scripts may be submitted as email attachments to gunchpress@yahoo.com or by mail to Center Stage, P.O. Box 544, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. Feel free to address further questions to Virgil Hervey at gunchpress@yahoo.com.

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