"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~ William Wordsworth

The Writing Life Too

And if you're reading this, it means you're not writing.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Quick Take: Out of Sync

For every scene you write ask yourself how can my character feel out of sync with his/her environment or situation. Characters are besieged, betrayed, undermined, lied to. They are too real, too vulnerable,  too scared for what is happening to them. They fear change, the future, the past, the next step.  You, their creator are a manipulative demon. Your job is to make them as uncomfortable as possible, as often as possible.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again.”
~Eudora Welty

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Karen Karbo is keynote speaker on January 25

Morning fog is so thick that I can barely make out the Douglas fir stand at the end of the block. And those trees are tall and lush. It's all delightfully Holloweeny...

Plans are falling into place for the Making it in Changing Times Conference on January 25, 2014. 
As usual, a great line up of speakers and workshops, all designed to give you an edge in today's changing market place. I'm so excited to have Karen Karbo as our keynote speaker. Karbo is the author of fourteen award-winning novels, memoirs and works of non-fiction including the best-selling “Kick Ass Women” series. Her latest in the series is Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life.  She's also written about Georgia O'Keefe, Katherine Hepburn and CoCo Chanel. Don't you love her already?  She'll be talking about writing from your passions.
More details will be coming and registration opens on December 1.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Monday, October 21, 2013

Play with words, languages, even in serious stories. Choose words the average writer avoids (hullabaloo,heretic, histrionic,hogtied)
but the average reader understands.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Quick Take: Word Territory

Observe "word territory." Give key words their space. Do not repeat a distinctive or unusual word unless you intend a specific effect.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Neil Gaiman's Advice to Aspiring Writers

  • "If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but
    you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not “inspired.” … And the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you’re going to look back and you’re not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written."
 “The process of writing can be magical — there times when you step out of an upper-floor window and you just walk across thin air, and it’s absolute and utter happiness. Mostly, it’s a process of putting one word after another.”
“You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.” 

“If you like fantasy and you want to be the next Tolkien, don’t read big Tolkienesque fantasies — Tolkien didn’t read big Tolkienesque fantasies, he read books on Finnish philology. Go and read outside of your comfort zone, go and learn stuff.” “Tell your story. Don’t try and tell the stories that other people can tell. Because [as a] starting writer, you always start out with other people’s voices — you’ve been reading other people for years… But, as quickly as you can, start telling the stories that only you can tell — because there will always be better writers than you, there will always be smarter writers than you … but you are the only you.”

Thought for the Day

It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
~ James Baldwin

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"The writers of the American South were the first writers who really moved me because they showed me that you could write about small towns, rural people, and that kind of life I knew very well. But the thing about the Southern writers that interested me, without my being really aware of it, was that all the Southern writers whom I really loved were women. I didn’t really like Faulkner that much. I loved Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Katherine Ann Porter, Carson McCullers."

— Alice Munro

Alice Munro wins the Nobel

Here's an interview with the gracious and talented Alice Munro on hearing she's won the Nobel. The committee called her "a master of the contemporary short story."
In case you don't listen, she started writing at 37 and is now 82.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

In Case You Missed It

Is Publishing Still Broken?

Make that a hearty NO.  Here's the story in Forbes and  how it begins: " A flood of self-published books washes ashore. Bestseller prices are down significantly. Bad grammar speeds through the ether at a faster pace than ever before.  This should be a dreadful year for publishers.  Only it’s not.
Instead, Random House handed out $5,000 bonus checks from windfall profits.  Simon & Schuster signed a critically acclaimed author whose #1 bestselling book was self-published.  And despite Amazon reporting that more than a quarter of its bestsellers were self-published last year, revenue from traditionally published books held up."

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Still spaces available for Anchor Scenes workshop

There are still several spaces available for this helpful workshop: 
eep Fiction: The Anchor Scenes

October 12, 2013
9:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Tabor Space 5441 S.E. Belmont, the Library
Portland, OR

The task of a novelist or memoirist is to tell a story so riveting that it will hold a reader’s attention for hundreds of pages. This requires intimate knowledge of the characters, their inner lives, and central dilemma. It also requires an understanding of plot; the sequence of events that take readers from beginning to end.
These events won’t hang together without a compelling structure or architecture that underlies the whole—the essential scenes that every story needs to create drive, tension, conflict, climax, and resolution.  These must-have scenes in your story, especially the plot points and reversals, power stories forward.
 The anchor scenes we’ll cover are: Inciting Incident, First Plot Point, Mid-point Reversal, Dark night of the Soul, The Point of No Return, Climax, and Resolution.  We’ll discuss how they’re linked to protagonist’s character arc, how they’re emotionally charged, and build the plot. By the end of the workshop participants will have outlined these crucial scenes and know how change is the basis for scene writing. As part of the lecture we’ll be discussing the anchor scenes in The Hunger Games and the film Witness.   Comprehensive handouts will be included and space is limited.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Thought for the Day

What is done in love is done well. Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, October 01, 2013