Posts Tagged ‘author’

By Dennis Finocchiaro

Hello authors! Ever wonder what famous author your work might resemble? I was on Facebook today and saw that someone posted a link to a website that does just that, I Write Like. So I went to my blog, copy/pasted my story Albert’s Arc, and got J.K. Rowling! I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter books, so I was pretty happy.

So I decided to try another story, an excerpt from my new book Inheritance and got Gertrude Stein, another author I enjoy. Plus, I loved her in Midnight in Paris, wink wink.

Finally, I tried my short story Long Lost William from Coney Island and got James Fenimore Cooper. I’ve never read any of his work, but now I just might have to check it out.

What fun! Now you should try it.

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I really think, sometimes, a great way to break through writer’s block, besides just forcing yourself to write, is to read. But you can’t read just anything, can you? It has to be inspiring. Or at least fun.

In the past week, I have been lucky to read a pile of absolutely inspiring books, starting with Dave Eggers’ new one, A Hologram for the King. If I tried to tell you the plot of this story, you would just think to yourself Why would I want to read that? But it was an excellent read. Anything that guy writes is excellent; he has such a talent.

Neil Gaiman was next with Anansi Boys. Loved it. A few chapters in I was wondering when it would become more Gaiman-like (there was an odd lack of magi or fantasy) and then all of a sudden it appeared. It was nearly impossible to tear me from the book. Even on public transportation, I was glued to the novel.

Then I got to read a few sequels about my favorite characters, Odd Thomas (Dean Koontz) and Thursday Next (Jasper Fforde). I’m halfway through the latter.

I was surprised to find that as soon as I started reading Hologram, my writer’s block just disappeared. So maybe, for me, it’s all tied into what I’m reading.

So I guess what I’m wondering now is, what inspires other writers out there. Here is a poll to find out.

Dennis Finocchiaro is the author of such books as The Z Word, a collection of flash fiction that takes place during the zombie apocalypse, Capturing a Moment, a collection of his flash fiction typed onto vintage photographs using an antique typewriter, and Inheritance, a nonfiction memoir about his grandfather.

He also edited WragsInk‘s Anthology Philly, a collection of the best new short story authors in the Philadelphia Area.

Follow Dennis on Facebook or twitter.

Follow WragsInk Publishing on twitter.

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Inheritance, the new book by Dennis Finocchiaro, details the life of his grandfather, Rosario “Charlie” Finocchiaro, from 1920s Philadelphia to World War II, all the way up through his retirement in Havertown. I sat down with Dennis to ask him a few questions about the upcoming memoir to learn everything from his process to what his family thinks of the new project.

Many people hear the stories from their grandparents, but not many take the time to actually put the stories down on paper. What made you decide to do it?

Well, it all started out as a graduate school project. I’ve always been a fiction writer but had to take a nonfiction class, which meant stepping out of my comfort zone (something I think everyone should do from time to time). I was having trouble coming up with something to write about when we had a family party and my grandfather told one of his famous stories. When he finished everyone was laughing and that was when the idea hit me. So I brought a camera over one day and recorded our conversation.

How did he feel about having a camera recording what he was saying? 

I thought he would feel awkward, but he acted like it was an audience. He was VERY comfortable talking in front of a camera. I was surprised.

What was the most fascinating thing you learned from this experience?

Probably some of the war stories. I never had any idea of what he’d been through. The most surprising was the story he told about an attack on a harbor and the huge explosions that took place when a tanker was hit. But I don’t want to give too much away.

Your story is written in less of a linear, chronological fashion, and more of a jump-around kind of way. Would you say this symbolizes the way we remember our own pasts? What was the inspiration behind writing in this way?

At first I tried doing it chronologically, but that ended up in the trash. It took a few tries before I figured out the best way to do it. I wrote it in the same way people tell stories. They jump around, and a story will sometimes trigger a totally unrelated story. And yes, it definitely is written in the way we remember our own histories.

Did you ever find it difficult to write so personally about someone so close to you?

Not at all. I guess as comfortable as he was in front of the camera, I was at the laptop. I asked permission on a few items that people said, of course, to make sure they didn’t mind.

I think the hard part was refraining from putting him up on a pedestal. I didn’t want him to sound like a saint, because he wasn’t. He had his negatives, just like anyone. As a matter of fact, in the first draft I turned in, the main comments were that it was too positive, too much of an “I love my grandfather” story. So I talked to a few people who would remember some of the negatives and added to it.

Has becoming so in depth with your grandfather’s past help you to understand your own life more? Have you discovered parallels?

Wow… that’s a tough question. His life was so different from what I’ve gone through. He was a contractor; I’m a professor and writer. He went to war, and we don’t really have wars that have that aura of importance like WWII, you know? But knowing his past really taught me a lot about him that I never would have known otherwise.

How do you think this story can inspire others?

I think it’s really important to sit down and get to know our elders. They are a major part of our history and everyone I talk to since the book came out says “I wish I’d done this with my grandparents.” And hell, I did it with one, and still regret not doing the same with all of them before it was too late. But if my dad and uncle learned things about him they didn’t know, then of course I think everyone should do something similar. Even if it isn’t with a camera, even if they just take them out for lunch, or tea, or whatever. Get to know them before it’s too late!

Finally, how has your family responded to the project?

They adore it. Part of the epilogue I wrote even has my uncle’s email that he wrote after reading it while he was writing my grandfather’s eulogy. As a matter of fact, the daughter of one of my grandfather’s cousins wrote my dad and said how amazing of an idea this was. Then she shared some of her own stories about her dad, so I guess it’s already inspiring some people.

Inheritance is a publication by WragsInk and is Dennis Finocchiaro’s third publication, following The Z Word and Capturing a Moment. The book can be purchased on Amazon. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, be sure to look for upcoming promotional appearances for this and other WragsInk publications.

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We at WragsThinks were curious. With so many writers out there, we can’t help but wonder how many people are like our author and editor Dennis Finocchiaro, and find that early morning writing is the easiest. So we created a poll:

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Writing Tip Dialogue

A Writing Tip

by Dennis Finocchiaro

Hello readers! As I sat down the other day to work on a zombie Christmas tale for an anthology, I started really thinking about the compound where the main character finds survivors. When it came time to do a description in the story, I had to really visualize what I would want it to look like. How big is it? How many buildings? And where are they on the compound?  When the main character was giving a tour, I started having a bit of trouble.
That’s when the art major in me took over. Or should I say, the one year of art school I attended. I grabbed a piece of paper, the tools I had for architecture, and got to work drawing what I thought it would look like. It’s not especially detailed, just a basic idea of the property.

And then the tour of the compound flowed quite easily.

What about you? Do you writers out there have any tips or tricks you’d care to share? We would love to hear.

Dennis Finocchiaro is author of The Z Word, a zombie anthology of short stories, Capturing a Moment, a collection of his flash fiction typed onto vintage photographs, and the upcoming nonfiction novella Inheritance. He is also editor of Anthology Philly, a collection of short stories by authors in the Philadelphia Area. Dennis writes children’s ebooks as well, available on Amazon.

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Here’s a helpful video on writing tips.

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Okay okay, I’ll calm down, it’s only two reviews on Amazon. But hey, one gave the anthology four stars, and the other gave it five!

“I found myself hoping for full-length

novels from several of the writers.” -Lou

“A great collection of short stories by

Philly authors. Each story incorporates at

little taste of what makes [Philadelphia]

wonderful and exciting.” – Nixie

So feel free to check out the book on Amazon or if you’re in the area, let us know and we’ll let you know about the readings!


Editor, Anthology Philly

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