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ADVICE TO NEW WRITERS
GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 9:34 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


I combed the net for these tidbits. I hope they prove helpful.


Avoid alliteration. Always.

Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

The passive voice is to be avoided.

Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

Do not put statements in the negative form.

Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.

If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague; They're old hat; seek viable alternatives.


(Courtesy of Karyn Hollis, Professor, Villanova.edu)

http://www19.homepage.villanova.edu/karyn.hollis/prof_academic/Courses/common_files/jokes_about_writing.htm


FYI, it's been my experience on Book Country (years -I come & go) that the following regulars will answer your questions as best they can:

Angela Martello

Atthys Gage

Carl E. Reed

DCLabs

Janet Umenta

Lucy Silag

Mimi Speike

r-Erik

Voran

Many others here will also go out of their way to help a fellow writer.

biggrin An if y'disagree with their answer, well, that's why we call this a discussion.

 

 


--edited by GD Deckard on 10/9/2014, 8:30 AM--


Angela Martello
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 10:03 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Gee, thanks, GD. biggrin

 

I have no idea how much good my advice on writing could do anybody - struggling writer that I am. But if asked, I'll at least give my opinion.

 

Here's some unsolicited advice:

  1. Keep writing. You have stories to tell. Tell them. Get them down on paper or on a hard drive or on a clay tablet. Clean up the words later.
  2. Keep reading. Read whatever you like.
  3. Don't get too bogged down with grammar rules and elements of style. Sure, they're important tools to keep in your toolbox, and they make it easier for your readers to read your works, but they're not the end-all and be-all of everything.
  4. Seek opinions. Find a pearl of wisdom even in the harshest commentaries.
  5. Keep writing.
  6. Keep writing.
  7. Keep writing.
  8. Keep writing.
  9. Keep writing.
  10. Keep writing.

Voran
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 12:02 AM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 57


I agree with Angela about all of them, but I'd make a qualification about not worrying too much about grammar. There's a time and place for everything. When you're writing, you have to kill the editor in you, or there's always the danger that he will kill your writing. But once you've written something, then grammar and style are your most essential tools, the "top drawer" of your writer's toolkit, according to Stephen King. I think all writers, beginners or not, should read King's On Writing and Strunk and White's Elements of Style. They'll really help new writers understand why it is that some reviewers on this site seem so mean.
  Although I'm nothing if not a "new writer" myself, I can't stress enough how important it is to come into this game with a lot of humility. No, you haven't written the Great American Novel. Really, you haven't! Come with a willingness to be told that your writing is nowhere near ready. Already I've seen a few recent new writers on this site who present their books as ready for publication, complete with super-professional website, incredible cover, even a designed interior of the book. At least one of them I tried reading today, and it's just not very good yet, but I get a sense that if I suggest that the book needs major edits, my words will fall on deaf ears. 
  One concrete bit of advice I liked in Stephen King is to avoid having every dialogue tag qualified with an adverb (as in: "You're quite an annoying chap, aren't you?" he said archly). It's actually quite annoying, even if lots of published authors do it.
  William Strunk, even in the 1920's, said that the reader is quite lost most of the time, and it's our job to help them find their way by writing clearly and succinctly. 
  Also, find out what limited third person point of view is. It'll be very helpful...
  

Carl E. Reed
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 12:08 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


Love words. Read widely and well. Artfully arrange your words into as riveting a narrative form as you know how.


Take the advice of those "literary greats" whose writing resonates with you. Perhaps:


    Ray Bradbury: "Stay drunk on metaphor. Write with gusto. Write who you are. Surprise yourself."

 

    Kurt Vonnegut: "Give the reader a character to root for. Start as close to the end as possible. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water."


    Stephen King: "Write for yourself, then worry about audience. Avoid adverbs and the passive voice. Read, read, read."

 

Get some passion and verve into your story: strong action verbs, image-concretizing adjectives. Eschew blandness and vanilla-esque prose. 

 

Evoke the senses.

 

Understand that the cult of minimalism is the worship of a blank-faced idiot god. 

 

Use alliteration and assonance to craft once-read, never-forgotten sentences that reverberate through time.

 

Say something with those words you're using. You've got our attention, now give us your absolute best.

 

Compose in a white-hot fever of inspiration; revise with a cold gimlet eye. All good writing is re-writing. Murder your darlings and remember: the wastebasket is your bestest [sic] friend.

 

Revise, revise, revise. Then revise again. The harder you work, the greater the impact your story will have on the reader. And the easier it will be for them to digest. 

 

Eschew dogma and cant. Tell the truth.

 

Write. Read. Rinse. Repeat.

 

Criticism hurts. So what? Someone gave you the greatest compliment one can pay a writer: They read your work and responded. Say thank you, consider their points and move on. Their's was but one opinion. (It's up to you to determine whether or not it was an informed opinion.) 

 

There are only three kinds of criticism: (1) that which you immediately recognize as true, (2) that which you immediately recognize as false, and (3) that which you are uncertain about.

 

Don't consciously agonize over criticism type #3. Your subconscious is already doing that for you. In the next hour, day, week or month--you will have your answer.

  

And oh, while you're at it: pay attention to life. It's your greatest teacher. Until it kills you. (This too is grist for the mill. Hemingway: "All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true story-teller who would keep that from you.")

 

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/2/2014, 4:54 PM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 12:22 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Voran: Right on! And write on. Although rules were made to be broken, I agree with you re: most adverbial speech tags are unnecessary. 

 

Another thing Stephen King said re: his regrets about over-using adverbs early in his career: "I didn't trust the reader enough."

 

Good to see you on the boards! 

 

 


Mimi Speike
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 1:59 AM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


My advice to new writers would be, read. When you find something you admire, study it. Construction, vocabulary, approach.

.

Widespread opinion to the contrary, writing fanfic is not the way to learn to write. Find your unique voice. Don't copy someone else. That is, if you care about the artistry of writing, rather than (and this is a long-shot, Fifty Shades notwithstanding) making money. 

 


Atthys Gage
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 2:45 AM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


Editors are going to yell at you:  don't use the passive voice; show don't tell; only use active verbs; never use filter words. 

 

These are good rules, but the truth is, these sorts of rules are only starting points. The passive voice can be dull and lifeless. Showing is more exciting than telling. Filter words do dull the sense of immediacy that involves the reader directly with the action. It's important to learn all you can about these things. About auxiliary verbs and gerunds and participial phrases, about understand how the past progressive tense is used, about action beats and dialogue tags. But if you rely upon rote rules (eliminate the word "that" wherever it appears; never use adverbs with "-ing" endings) you run the risk of producing nothing but the formulaic, the obvious, and the dull. 

 

Francine Prose called the "show don't tell" maxim "bad advice often given to young writers." Of course you have to tell. Not every moment of your story is vital and vivid enough to warrant the labor of "showing" instead of "telling." "Telling" is like fast-forwarding through the necessary action to get to the good stuff. You can, and should, do it in the most entertaining and interesting way possible, but sometimes, you just have to get the lead out. A good writer understands when its okay to just tell the reader what they need to know so they can get to the crucial scenes. 

 

Likewise the passive voice. Learn what it is.  Understand it. And then, don't be afraid of it. You are going to need it. Like it or not, there are times when it will be exactly what you need. 

 

English is a rich, beautiful, idiomatic language. Do you really want to eliminate any of the wonderful tools available to you as a writer of English? 

 

Learn all you can. Learn from the best. Nabokov, Melville, Borges, Chabon, Patchett, Kingsolver, Delany.  Rule -breakers, all.  Understand the rules. Understand grammar. Internalize it.  If you don't understand a rule, then you aren't ready to break it.  Okay? 
 
Okay. 

 

I wish you well. 

 


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 3:48 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Atthys: thumbs up--way, way up!--for your wise counsel. Consider:

.............................................

 

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

 

"SHOW, don't TELL, Mr. Dickens!"

 

...............................................

 

Macbeth: "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow--"

 

Director: "CUT! Needless word repetition. What scriptwriter wrote this crap?!"

.............................................

         

" . . . to boldly go . . ."

 

"CUT! Split infinitive; try again."

............................................

Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller, v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down--from high flat temples--in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.

 

"Come now, Mr. Hammett. Do you really want this to be the opening paragraph of The Maltese Falcon? What's all this v business about? If you want to draw; draw. If you want to write; write. And by the way: If Satan--or a satan, as you correctly put it (it's a title, not a name) were blond, why, pray tell, would that strike you as 'pleasant'? Your wife and I worry about you, Dashiell . . ."   

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/2/2014, 4:56 PM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 11:42 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Here's a fun idea:

 

Reward yourself for your work.

While writing The Phoenix Diary, I sometimes wore a neck chain with a pendant that helped keep me focused. For writing the Neolithic scene, it was a carved fossilized walrus tooth, approximately 40-60,000 years old. For Mesopotamia, it was a gold reproduction of a bull face from the era of King Mesh-ki-ang-Nanna and for space-travel references, I had a tiny piece of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite mounted for the chain.

Shopping for interesting items with "muse properties" can be fun, inspiring and "guilt-free."


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 11:46 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


That's a pretty cool technique, GD! One part cultural immersion, one part self-hypnosis. I like it. I like it a lot.
Atthys Gage
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 1:41 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


That page, that paragraph, that sentence. Somehow, it's there — and yet it isn't. Not quite. 

 

So close. 

 

What to do? Here are few techniques:

 

Sit and stare. 

 

Have some more coffee. 

 

Beat your head against the keyboard. 

 

Sneak up on it. 

 

Sing it a song. 

 

Take it for a walk, for a drive, for a swim. 

 

Give it some time alone to think about its mistakes. 

 

Corner it in a dark alley. 

 

Get physical. 

 

Flatter it. Feed it. 

 

Throw it away, because it's worthless and wrong. It has been wrong from the start. 

 

Draw it a picture. 

 

Write it a poem. 

 

Raise it from the dead. 

 

Wrap it around you like a blanket and take a nap. 

 

 

 

--edited by Atthys Gage on 9/27/2014, 2:34 PM--


Angela Martello
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 5:21 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Great stuff here, folks. But don't any of you actually sleep? My email inbox was filled early this morning.

 

You're right, Atthys - I cringe when I hear "never" and "always" with respect  to writing and grammar rules. Sure, language has to have rules. If not, we'd never be able to communicate intelligently with one another. But language is fluid. And creative writing, while it should follow most of the grammar rules in order to be coherent and readable, really should be free to push language, to bend the rules (maybe even break them every now and then), to find its own voice.

 

Think of writing like an old neighborhood (not a recently built cookie-cutter housing development). I live in a 100-year-old or so brick rowhome. Once upon a time, all of the houses on this block were the same (I found some great archival photos of the area online). But through the years and various owners, each of the homes has taken on its own unique style. Brick colors and textures vary from home to home depending on when the front was replaced. White (usually, except mine happy) vinyl picture windows (with or without mullions) have replaced the old wooden windows originally set in pairs. Some houses sport brick porches, others the original marble steps. Some have varnished wood doors, others painted. Some have window boxes, others don't. The construction (the "rules") of the overall structure of the houses remains the same, however. It has to, if not the houses could collapse.

 

But just as the houses reflect the uniqueness of the occupants past and present despite the similar underpinnings, let your writing reflect your unique style while keeping in mind the need for sound structural support.

 

 

 


Atthys Gage
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014 5:54 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


Well said, Angela. Your metaphor carries its meaning with grace and ease.
Voran
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 4:16 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 57


Angela, I love what you said about the different kinds of houses. I'd add something, though, about finding your style. It's not as easy as some may think. In his On Writing, Stephen King writes a lot about developing style, and his biggest piece of advice is to read a lot (constantly, in fact). It's ok that when you do, you will unconsciously begin to emulate the styles of others. that's ok, because eventually, you'll realize what works and what doesn't for you almost intrinsically. It's less an external process - "I'm going to develop my own distinctive style!" - but an internal one that happens in subtle, intangible ways that are sometimes surprising even for the writer.
Atthys Gage
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 5:15 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


A really good point, Voran.  I know I'm frequently inspired, even challenged, when I read something that's really well written. I want to do something just as good, and, I have on occasion found myself actually asking, how would Tiptree write this scene? What would Borges do with this idea? How would Nabokov handle this? (I aim high!)  Fortunately, by the time the writing is done, it usually bears no resemblance to the model, conscious or otherwise. A little inspired imitation can be a perfectly valid starting point.  And, given time and effort, I think we all end up writing mostly like ourselves, eventually.
Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 9:34 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


No matter how much I want to write like ......?......., (Thomas Pynchon at the moment) I always see ways to improve on my latest crush(es), to tailor whatever approach(es) I'm taken with to my own needs and, inevitably, to cross one style with another, seeking to have the best of both worlds. By the time I'm through, I've got a mish-mash that I don't hesitate to call mine-all-mine.

.

Art students used to copy Old Masters, to learn technique. It's sort of the same thing. I really do think this is the best way to learn to write. You have an opportunity to absorb some of the grace of wonderful writing, that thing called flow, which all the how-to books on mechanics are not going to teach you. Maybe the ideal situation is to go at it from both directions.

 

--edited by Mimi Speike on 10/1/2014, 10:57 PM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:06 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Angela, Voran, Atthys, Mimi: I'm really digging this conversation!

 

::: props elbow on table-top, chin on fist:::

 

Let's hope others join in and keep it going.

 

Lucy? Janet? Anyone else doing a quick drive-by on this topic? 

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/1/2014, 11:07 PM--


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2014 2:00 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


My advice is always to read more, and I think I would tailor that even more to say that you should read the work of your peers as well as experienced or admired writers. When I read on Book Country, I always find myself analytical about my own work in the days to follow, and that helps me to better the writing.
GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2014 9:50 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Buckminster Fuller once locked himself in a hotel room for an extended period. Being a designer, inventor, engineer, mathematician, architect, cartographer, philosopher, poet, cosmogonist, choreographer, visionary and possibly a bit bonkers, Bucky's stated purpose was to shut out the world so he could think about what he already knew.

 

With this in mind, I stopped reading science fiction ten years ago because I wanted to write a book about what I knew. Science, because I know some things & fiction, so I could make up what I don't know.

 

I wasn't going to admit this here since I agree with everybody about the importance of reading. But there is value in shutting out the world and quietly listening to yourself.


Angela Martello
Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2014 10:27 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Well, GD, Bucky was a visionary, so it is quite possible that he was a bit bonkers. wink But, then again, aren't most creative types?

 

There's a lot to be said for shutting out the familiar or purging your system. I've been working in clay for about 8 years now making tiles and clay pieces for mosaics and have been thoroughly enjoying it. But, every so often, I find myself sitting in the studio with a slab of clay in front of me and not a clue what to do with it. So, throughout the same 8 years, I've taken classes in other media (print-making, watercolor, digital printing, glass-molding) and even color theory and an art car workshop. In each of those classes, I've learned a little trick or technique that I've been able to use in my tile and mosaic work.

 

Sometimes, you just need to step back from what you've been working on and explore other things to gain a new perspective. The same can be said for reading and writing habits.


Mimi Speike
Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2014 11:15 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


Jeez, GD, I listened to myself and you know what it got me. I'm afraid I'm one who needs to stop listening to herself and start listening to others.

.

Yes, it's another slow night at work.

 


GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, October 3, 2014 8:51 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


What makes art unique, if not the artist offering us something no one else has?
Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Friday, October 3, 2014 4:45 PM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142


Thanks for all the advice! I'll need it
Voran
Posted: Saturday, October 4, 2014 1:07 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 57


GD, I think you've got the most important ingredient of all. To be alone with your thoughts, to let the story ferment in your head and heart, until, like Dostoyevsky said, it begins to peck its way out of your brain like a chick being born. But that is so difficult to do with the internet! I can't say how many times I've considered just shutting off completely for a month or two, to allow no distractions from the internet at all. I'm getting close to actually trying it!
GD Deckard
Posted: Saturday, October 4, 2014 1:31 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Voran - You are exactly right. Internet addiction is terrible. I propose that we develop a 12 step program to break this habit and find a site where we could meet 24/7 to discuss our individual progress.

 

Carl? You in?

Mimi?

Anybody else?

 cool

--edited by GD Deckard on 10/4/2014, 4:37 PM--


Angela Martello
Posted: Saturday, October 4, 2014 10:22 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


24/7 - Seriously, don't you folks ever sleep? biggrin

Sometimes, I get more new writing done when I work with a notebook (paper, that is - not a mini laptop) and a pen as opposed to working on my laptop with the ever-present wireless connection. Of course, when I write on paper, I then have to type up everything, but that gives me the opportunity to start the editing process.

 

Of course, the smartphone can be another distraction, and if I find myself checking it too often, I sometimes switch it off completely or leave it in another part of the house.

 

It really does pay to disconnect from electronic devices every so often - and not just for the sake of the writing.



Mimi Speike
Posted: Saturday, October 4, 2014 10:58 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


I use the internet as an avoidance tactic. This generally consists of reading the same news sites again and again. I could certainly do without that. But I would not want to give up the music on YouTube. I can work and listen at the same time.

.

And, I've got to watch Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, etc. We don’t have TV, my husband threw a fit and dumped the cable a few years ago. So I’m not wasting time on sitcoms. I say that gets me some slack with the web.

.

I'm in the mood to take another look at Sly. Someone finally answered my plea for an Elizabethan buddy, she's a real scholar of the period. Time to get cracking. If I can solve a few problems in book one, (the nuts and bolts don't have to be pinned down solid, I leave myself room to retract/unearth the truth later on) which is a set up for the assassination attempt in book two, I will be reenergized. 

.

I'm half in, half out. Got to have YouTube, can do without the rest.

 


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Sunday, October 5, 2014 11:57 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.


                                                               —C. J. Cherryh


Angela Martello
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014 2:20 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Carl, Atthys, Mimi - Are you on Facebook? If so, check out the graphic Book Country posted this weekend on their FB page. We're, um, famous (I'm still blushing).

 


Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014 2:22 PM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142


Your advice deserves to be shared!
GD Deckard
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014 3:18 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


WOOT!  Go Guys!

(thanks, Janet


Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014 5:36 PM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142


It was fun making it! Thank you for your great advice!
Carl E. Reed
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014 8:52 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Angela: Just saw it! Thanks for the head's-up there. I hope it helps drive more writers to our Book Country discussion boards.

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/6/2014, 9:06 PM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014 8:54 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Janet: Thank you for the Facebook posting! Very nice.

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/6/2014, 9:04 PM--


Angela Martello
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014 10:06 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Carl - Should have read this thread first before messaging you. Glad you saw the post.

 

Janet - Thanks!

 

Actually, you folks should check out Book Country's Facebook page.


Mimi Speike
Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 6:29 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


I've looked at the Facebook page and it looks great. I'm not a member, I didn't know you could go on there without being a member. I'll probably join sooner or later, when my book is closer to being done. My husband is very opposed to it, so I haven't done it yet.

 


Angela Martello
Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 6:44 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Hi, Mimi - A lot of stuff on Facebook can be viewed by non-members. It all depends on the privacy settings of the person or group doing the posting to Facebook. My postings, for example, should only be visible to my Facebook friends - while they're on Facebook.

 

I was very reluctant to sign up for Facebook, but I follow a lot of news, science, travel (especially Italy), and art FB pages that I have learned a lot from. And using social media has helped me reconnect to old classmates and family members scattered about the country. Reconnecting with friends and family AND continually learning all rolled into one.

 

Now Twitter. Twitter I don't understand. Well, I understand it - I just don't see the point to such short little tweets.

 

 


GD Deckard
Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 9:40 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Twitter is flag semaphore.

Carl knows what that is.


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 12:00 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@GD: Twitter is a newspaper that is all headlines and no articles.  

 

What Twitter does best? Provides famous/infamous personalities a way to lob pulled-pin verbal grenades into divers on-line communities to cause them to self-immolate in endless flame war. The most perfect platform for trolling ever invented.   

  

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/8/2014, 1:39 AM--


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 9:22 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I get all my good book recommendations from Twitter. It all depends on who you follow.

   

That said, HI GUYS!

  

Best writing advice I have that most people don't know is to always sit in the same place everyday for a little writing. My professor said it's so the muse knew where to find you. It functions a lot like GD and his chain. So I have my notebooks, computer, and typewriter all at the same desk for maximum writing effect. It helps a lot.


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 9:32 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


LeeAnna!

Welcome Back, Welcome back, welcome back!

biggrin

We missed you. What have you been up to?

 

--edited by GD Deckard on 10/8/2014, 9:34 AM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 10:47 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@LeeAnna: Good to hear from you on these boards again! 

 

 


Angela Martello
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 11:01 AM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


I suppose all social media platforms have their uses - why would they still be around and so popular?

 

LeeAnna - Hello! I used to think that writing in the same place was the way to go. But that's when I had a PC and was pretty much bound to the room where I had set it up. It's a tiny room - what would have been the middle bedroom until the previous homeowners divided it and turned half of it into a walk-in closet off of the master bedroom. It's big enough for a bookcase, a desk, and a small filing cabinet. I love the room - lavender walls and lilac ceiling with dark moss green accents. It's cozy and relatively quiet. But I've had laptops for the last 8 years or so and find that I'm comfortable writing or editing just about anywhere in my house or backyard. When I don't have access to my laptop, I tend to jot things down in a notebook (like when I'm monitoring an art gallery on Saturday mornings - "protecting" the art from all the children taking classes).

 

Each of us needs to find what works best for him or her and embrace it. The creative process is unique for each of us.


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 4:51 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


@ GD: I've been moving to another country and working on my book. I also have a new book review blog that's been growing in popularity. I hope to have a new version of HoA up on here soon without all the typos. I also need to start putting my query and synopsis together. My life has been a mess for the last 4 months. Hoping to get my act back together. I do have my sequel started, which is good. And a pile of note cards for the plot.
   

@ Angela: Glad that you found something that works for you. I usually can move around a lot too with notebook and tablet, but I find having a single place works for me when I have to do some seriously heavy duty work.


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 8:06 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


There may be a scientific basis for those who prefer "one spot" from which to write.

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology this year went to three researchers "for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain"

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2014/

 

Perhaps, as in the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, in front of the TV, before an altar, or at the dining table, our brain is receptive to activities specific to the location. A location associated with writing makes as much sense as the other examples.

 

--edited by GD Deckard on 10/9/2014, 8:26 AM--


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 8:44 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


That is so cool! I do wonder if it also works with specific objects too, like if you always associate your laptop with writing. That would explain people who can move around and still get the same amount of production, like Angela. I wonder if anyone has looked into that. I know objects work on memory.
Angela Martello
Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 9:32 AM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Cool stuff, GD! I'll have to do some searching online and see if there have been any studies on how creative people create and their preferred habits.

 

I am pretty much comfortable writing anywhere - either on a laptop or with a pen scratching away at paper. I am more physically constrained in other creative endeavors, however, because of the materials I'm using (clay, jewelry-making supplies, etc.). And while I can think of a new tile design or plan out (very roughly) an idea for a mosaic or piece of jewelry just about anywhere, the creative process doesn't really get into full swing until I have all the materials laid out in front of me in the proper space (clay studio, well-lit kitchen table, back basement, etc.). (Some of these processes can be fairly messy, so there is that to consider!)

 

Writing is perhaps the "loosest" creative process for me - which is funny, when I think of how many more hours I devote to writing than I do to just about any other creative work. Then again, maybe I devote so much time to it, because there really aren't any physical constraints.


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 10:27 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Totems, Pets & Symbols.

Objects as totems, pets & symbols appear in psychology, religion and folklore.

I'm pretty sure Carl has a familiar, probably something that shouldn't even be on this planet. I have a 2" coyote carved by an Ute Indian in a rock that is light grey with other shades and colors. It's artfully carved, using a natural black inclusion for the dog's nose, with added turquoise mouth and eyes, and polished to a soft luster. It makes you think of life in its most basic settings.

 

Maybe, scientists will once again discover the obvious and empirically prove that any object you connect with your writing can be your muse.

 

@Angella

I love your thought, that the lack of physical constraints frees your writing. It says there is no "one way" to do everything writers do.

 

--edited by GD Deckard on 10/9/2014, 10:35 AM--


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 4:38 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


There is also the belief in some cultures that your soul ends up in your favorite object when you die. This is actually part of the world building foundation in Christopher Moore's A DIRTY JOB. 

 

For me it's feel. The flow and scratch of pen over paper, or the clack and jerk of the typewriter stimulate me more than my laptop keyboard. Although I lurve typing on my expensive gamer keyboard. The feel has just the right amount of crispness. It's a delight. Sadly, I cannot stand to look at computer screen for too long.


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 4:51 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


LeeAnna wrote: There is also the belief in some cultures that your soul ends up in your favorite object when you die.

 

OMG! We have to save Carl's immortal soul!

 

Any suggestions, anyone??


 

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