Author Tyler pens serious 'semi-fiction' novels

Author Anne Tyler writes novels in the drama-family genre.

The Maryland Writers’ Association created the Writers’ Round Table Program to encourage writers, poets, playwrights and authors through monthly articles and activities.

The Notable Maryland Author articles and associated Fun With Words writers’ prompts are the centerpiece of the program. Each month, The Enterprise and other newspapers in the state will feature a Maryland Writers’ Association article about an author. Marylanders are encouraged to read the articles and try their hand at the writing prompts each month.

Author Anne Tyler

“I read so I can live more than one life in more than one place.” Anne Tyler

Genre: Drama-Family is a genre of narrative fiction (or semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humorous in tone, focusing on in-depth development of realistic characters who must deal with realistic emotional struggles.

A partial reading list of Tyler’s novels includes “The Accidental Tourist,” “Breathing Lessons,” “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant,” “Vinegar Girl” and “Clock Dance.” Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1941 to Quaker parents, homeschooled until 11, graduated from high school at 16, attended Swarthmore College and transferred to Duke when she was awarded a full scholarship. She graduated at age 19. Tyler started writing short stories at Duke, where her talent was recognized, and continued writing through marriage, moving to Baltimore in 1967. In 1970, she began writing novels and had written three by the end of 1974.

Tyler has written 20 novels, six of which have been made into movies. Her novel “Breathing Lessons” won the Pulitzer Prize and “The Accidental Tourist” and “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” were both finalists for the Pulitzer. Michiko Kakutani, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for The New York Times, commented, “The central concern of most of this author’s characters has always been their need to define themselves in terms of family — the degree to which they see themselves as creatures shaped by genetics, childhood memories and parental and spousal expectations, and the degree to which they are driven to embrace independent identities of their own.”

Fun with words

Maryland Writers’ Association invites readers to have fun writing part of a drama-family story using just 100 words. Pick and name two characters and show them dealing with realistic emotional issues that center around their need to define themselves in terms of family.

Readers can submit their responses at the website www.marylandwriters.org/Writers__Round_Table by the 20th of the month to receive an MWA Writers’ Round Table Submission Certificate. Selected prompts will be published next month.

Last month’s reader selections

In May, readers were asked to write part of a detective story using just 100 words, and to include these factors: the setting is an emergency room in the 1960s, and the character is a bookie. Also, a parent-teacher conference is involved as well as a moustache.

Here are some regional selections:

The detective bent down to look at the brick. “Is this the one?”

The uniform cop nodded. “That’s it. Can’t fingerprint it.”

“Doesn’t matter,” said the detective as he scratched his afro. “There’s enough blood on this — it can’t be anything else.”

He looked around the brick searching for more evidence. Returning his gaze to the cop, he asked, “What about witnesses?”

The cop sighed. “That’s going to be a problem?”

“Why?”

“Well, this group is all into crab picking and oyster shucking.

The detective waited. “And?”

“And nobody was paying attention. They were too interested in eating and showing off.”

“Who is the victim?”

The cop checked his notebook. “A horn player for the band.”

“He from around here?”

The cop shook his head. “Nope, they’re from Philly. They’re just here on tour.”

“Where’s his horn?”

“It’s missing.”

“They took his horn?”

“Yep.” The cop closed his notebook. “It’s worth a lot.”

“I can see that,” said the detective. “Worth a man’s life. That’s too high a price to pay for a damn horn.”

FJ Talley of Lexington Park

Officer Wise fired his pistol hitting the younger man. Moustache McGee followed the ambulance to Mercy Hospital Emergency Room. McGee knew the man as a small time Bookie. He looks at the young man.

“The old man owed you money. So you shot him.”

“Yep.”

Darlene Exum of Waldorf

“I’m no bad guy! I ain’t stole nothin’!” the bookie cried.

“He had a mustache ...” the investigator said thoughtfully.

“Plenty o’ men got them ‘staches!”

“Excuse me, sirs, but I believe this man. Mr., er, Mr. Duncan, you should be looking elsewhere,” another man said, with a wink at the bookie.

“I suppose I should move on, ‘else I’ll be late to the parent-teacher conference,” the investigator muttered.

“Mr. Peters?” A nurse called from the ER office. “And Mr. Frye?” the nurse added.

“That’s us,” the bookie said. “Nice meetin’ ya, investigator.”

And the men strode out the door.

Caroline Holland of Owings