Ep 99: Elements 13 – Plot. Ash Davida Jane talks to Pip Adam about ‘Kiss of the Sun’ by Mary Ruefle and ‘pool party’ by Ash Davida Jane.

In the fifth episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Ash Davida Jane about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. We’ll be talking about Plot until June. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Ash Davida Jane (Image by Ebony Lamb)

Ash reads both poems at the start of this podcast but you can read ‘Kiss of the Sun’ by Mary Ruefle here https://www.ronnowpoetry.com/contents/ruefle/KissoftheSun.html

And ‘pool party’ is in Ash’s collection How to Live with Mammal is published by VUP

Some of the things we talk about are:

Heather Christle’s The Crying Book

Intan Paramaditha’s choose your own adventure novel The Wandering

Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story

Here is an interview with David Wallace-Wells who wrote The Uninhabitable Earth: A story of the future


Ash and I talk a bit about how much explanation or description or detail you can take out of an imagined world and still keep the reader with you. That is the exercise. Imagine a distant planet or this plant in the future and write it in as few details as possible. Maybe there is one key object or image? Can the senses help?

This episode was recorded at the IIML at Victoria University of Wellington. Applications for the 2022 Writer in Residence are not open. Read about the Writer in Residence here

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

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