Sunday, May 31, 2009

Eight Ways to Conjure Your Writing Genie [author anonymous]

1. Shake off "Impostor Syndrome"

Everyone communicates, and a lot of people write, but few people dare to call themselves "writers". If you feel like an impostor, take a deep breath and remind yourself of your unique purpose and how important it is. Or take on a fictional persona and write through that mask.

2. Conjure Your True Voice

If you're at a loss for words, try meeting a friend for tea and talking your way through the material, or even talking out loud to yourself. Your spoken words might not be publishable, but once you've got 'em down on paper, you can edit to your heart's content.

3. Write it as a Letter

Submitting written work can be scary--especially if it's going to be read by The Powers That Be. But you don't have to think about those Powers when you're writing; in fact, it's probably better not to pay them any mind until the last few editing stages, after you've already squeezed out every last idea and captured it on paper. So when you're still writing, why not imagine you're writing a letter telling your closest confidante about your project? Try starting your work "Dear ____", and you might tap into a fountain of lovely, loose conversational prose.

4. Detach Your Ego

If stage fright derives from fear--the fear that if the work fails, we fail--we need to disconnect ourselves from the work. When I play pool, I don't care if I win or lose, because I'm not A Pool Person--but beat me on the air hockey table and I'll be grumpy, because I'm invested in the game. Realize that people reading your work are just as self-centered and will most likely not draw any permanent conclusions about you from your work.

5. Plunge Into the Scary Parts

What are you afraid of? Spelling poorly? Weak transitions? Well, go ahead and deliberately spell every word incorrectly, write without transitions, don't use any punctuation--do everything you're not supposed to do, and have fun doing it! Draw caricatures of your writing demons, put the dreaded failure behind you, and move on.

6. Lower Your Standards

There's really no reason to worry about editors, teachers, critics, bosses, and what they think until the last stage of revising. Until that time, indulge yourself. Don't correct anything; write in slang; write 3 pages in 15 minutes; leave notes to yourself, like ADD DETAILS HERE or FIX THIS LATER, throughout your work--anything that makes it easier to write.

7. Sidestep What Blocks You

Don't let one part of your writing stump you for long. If it's bugging you, just skip it and move on to an easier, more appealing task. If the introduction isn't coming, jump right to paragraph two, or page 23. If you can't think of anything to say in one section, just skip merrily along to the next part and let your unconscious work on the hard stuff for a while.

8. Stop When You're On a Roll

When writing is a struggle, you'll naturally want to stop. But if you do, you're rewarding yourself for not writing. Try sticking with it--and then quit when you're on a roll, so that next time you'll be eager to return to the work. Or start writing when you know you have to do something else in 45 minutes--as soon as the pressure's off, as soon as you say "well, I know I won't get anything done in this little bit of time" you're free to let your creative juices flow. Waves of inspiration will come and go; the trick is scheduling your work to take full advantage of the tides.

Dream Novel

A subject anyone could find exciting,

written in a voice that matters, &

a plot that keeps you spinning

all the way to the end.

                                Anne Hawkins

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Review: The Gnostic Mystery © 2009 by Randy Davila

Mystery cover 

(Hieraphant Publishing, San Antonio, TX USA)

The Gnostic Mystery is an intriguing tale that challenges the long-held beliefs of millions on all sides of the Middle East conflict.

I thought it unfortunate that the strong first paragraph is followed by some confusion as to whether this was to be a new meeting or reunion between protagonist Jack Stanton, and Professor Chloe Eisenberg. I did not feel that the flashback literary device worked well as an opening for this novel. Nevertheless, the technique caused no discomfort as the story progressed.

Although presented as fiction, The Gnostic Mystery reads as well documented fact complete with an extensive bibliography. Some readers will be shocked and confused by the concepts presented. The profoundly devout, may slam the book down mid-sentence or throw it at a wall. While others will devour every word with enthusiasm and appreciate it for the fine example of the Socratic Method that it is.

I recommend The Gnostic Mystery to those last without reservation, and I look forward to Devila's next.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sappho (fl. c. 610-c.580 B.C.)

Greek poetess, who lived on the island of Lesbos. Sappho is the most famous female poet of antiquity, but only incomplete poems and fragments remain of her work. Most of Sappho's love poems were addressed to women. The Greek philosopher Plato called her the tenth Muse. more

Friday, May 15, 2009

Q: Do I need an agent to sell my book proposal?

A: It depends.
This is almost like me asking you if I need a realtor to sell my house. Okay, in light of the current housing market, that might not be a very nice parallel. But then again, a quick look at the publishing industry might make that comparison even more apt. But back to the question and topic.
In the "old days" of publishing, let's say prior to 1990, there was a common publishing phrase that referred to an unsolicited manuscript that was sent to a publisher as something that "came in over the transom." (A transom is literally a hinged window over a door. Think of the book return slot at a library.) In other words, a writer sent in his or her manuscript to a mail drop, which then ended up in one of several 4-foot high stacks in a junior editor's office, and which after six or seven months of collecting dust was either rejected with a form letter - or voila, it got discovered and published. One way many publishing companies handled submissions that came over the transom was to hire college interns to sift through hundreds or thousands of manuscripts over summer break and separate the winners from the losers. More

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The one not here

I lost him long ago although it was thirty-three years later that he died.  He was the sweetest of my sons until his baby brother came.  A quiet child with soft blue eyes as gentle as his soul.  Those eyes, his glance could melt any mother's heart no matter what mischief he got into and he got into plenty though nothing beyond naughty.  At least nothing I caught him at.
All that ended when his first mistress entered his life.  Her name was marajuana followed closely by cocaine and my precious boy was gone.  Lost to me forever although he never ventured very far geographically.  A few blocks, a few miles - infinity - unreachable - never mine again although I always knew he loved me in his own peculiar way.
He shook off the worst of the drugs I think, eventually, but my sweet, gentle boy was gone.  Gone from all of us who loved him though we saw him off and on.  And then, nineteen days after he turned fifty he was killed but for me my precious Johnny'd been long gone.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Tipping Point has finally arrived for the publishing industry…

While the internet has savaged the newspaper and recorded industries, it has had much less impact on the book business. But in 2009, one big thing and many little things in new media have conspired to bring traditional publishing to boiling point. Write... Read more at Independent »

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pros & Cons on Using Voice Recognition Software

As it is with everything else in this world, there are pros and cons - a double-edged sword to everything one uses. Here are some ups and downs in using Voice Recognition Software.

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