Focused on Fiction: Five Storytelling Tips

Reblogged from The Daily Post:

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November — and with it, NaNoWriMo — might be drawing to a close, but fiction writers don’t stop telling stories just because another page is torn from the calendar. And whatever the season, slapping sentences into a compelling narrative is never easy.

We’ve all heard the common axioms recited to writers everywhere: “Write everyday!” “Show, don’t tell!” “Write about what you know!” Sometimes, though, it’s a good idea to try something different to get the creative juices flowing in new directions.

Read more… 891 more words

from Stark Writing Crazy http://cjcasey.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/focused-on-fiction-five-storytelling-tips/
via IFTTT

Focused on Fiction: Five Storytelling Tips

Reblogged from The Daily Post:

Click to visit the original post

  • Click to visit the original post

November — and with it, NaNoWriMo — might be drawing to a close, but fiction writers don’t stop telling stories just because another page is torn from the calendar. And whatever the season, slapping sentences into a compelling narrative is never easy.

We’ve all heard the common axioms recited to writers everywhere: “Write everyday!” “Show, don’t tell!” “Write about what you know!” Sometimes, though, it’s a good idea to try something different to get the creative juices flowing in new directions.

Read more… 891 more words

from Stark Writing Crazy http://cjcasey.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/focused-on-fiction-five-storytelling-tips/
via IFTTT

Sarah Hoyt, Elf Blood: Chapter One

The excellent writer, commentator, and self-publishing motivator Sarah Hoyt is currently serializing her new novel Elf Blood over at the Mad Genius Club. She’s a little ways into it, and I haven’t quite caught up (see my last post on moving hell), but I can speak for the first five chapters that this is an enchanting and well-written fusion of fantasy and mystery fiction. Everyone who’s listened to or read my work at Way Too Fantasy should already know that fusion fiction makes me tingle in places I never talk about in polite company (and only rarely bring up in rude company). I highly recommend you check it out.

Elf Blood, Chapter One

 

Light Blogging This Week

So, this week I’m going to be blogging much lighter than usual… I’m moving today. Granted, it’s just two-and-a-half miles away (to Old Fourth Ward, for you Atlantans out there, or you Atlanteans, for that matter) but I have a lot of books. Next week I’ll resume the podcast. I have one of mine and maybe another writer’s work to put up, plus I’ll have someone else with me, and we’ll get to talk about books, inspiration, and sanity, and especially where to find all three of them.

For those of you who followed me over from The 365 Poetry Project, welcome! Yes, I’ll have more rants about writing soon, though this week’s might be about how moving 30-plus boxes of books is a damn good argument in favour of e-readers. For those of you who didn’t, this is an article that Charlotte at the 365 Poetry Project posted about reading poetry, this is my rebuttal, and this is her re-rebuttal (I have a poetic license… I can make up words) along with some really good comments from her readers. It’s been a fun debate so far.

Expect your normal allowance of inspiration and desperate clinging to sanity to begin again on Friday. For my USAnian readers, Happy Thanksgiving! For my non-USAnian Jewish readers (like myself, except I’m from the US), Happy Hanukkah! For my Norse Readers, Happy Thor’s Day! And for everyone else, have a good, safe weekend.

Poetry Monday: William Carlos Williams

The Mind Hesitant

Sometimes the river,
becomes a river in the mind
or of the mind
or in and of the mind

Its banks snow
The tide falling a dark
rim lies between
the water and the shore

And the mind hesitant
regarding the stream
senses
a likeness which it

will find — a complex
image:  something
of white brows
bound by a ribbon

of sooty thought
beyond, yes well beyond
the mobile features
of swiftly

flowing waters, before
the tide will
change
and rise again, maybe
 

Wisława Szymborska: The Joy of Writing

And here I get to indulge my desire to get poetry on the page today, my love of poetry, and my desperate clinging need for help whilst editing.

The Joy of Writing

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
For a drink of written water from a spring
whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle?
Why does she lift her head; does she hear something?
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth,
she pricks up her ears beneath my fingertips.
Silence – this word also rustles across the page
and parts the boughs
that have sprouted from the word “woods.”

Lying in wait, set to pounce on the blank page,
are letters up to no good,
clutches of clauses so subordinate
they’ll never let her get away.

Each drop of ink contains a fair supply
of hunters, equipped with squinting eyes behind their sights,
prepared to swarm the sloping pen at any moment,
surround the doe, and slowly aim their guns.

They forget that what’s here isn’t life.
Other laws, black on white, obtain.
The twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say,
and will, if I wish, divide into tiny eternities,
full of bullets stopped in mid-flight.
Not a thing will ever happen unless I say so.
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof’s full stop.

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.

 

By Wislawa Szymborska
From “No End of Fun”, 1967
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Copyright © Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

(Link to ‘Five Poems’ on the Nobel Prize archive.)

Editing is like…

“I’ve found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the living shit out of it.”
― Don Roff

“Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress…

Actually, when you think about it, not many novels in the Spare tradition are terribly cheerful. Jokes you can usually pluck out whole, by the roots, so if you’re doing some heavy-duty prose-weeding, they’re the first to go. And there’s some stuff about the whole winnowing process I just don’t get. Why does it always stop when the work in question has been reduced to sixty or seventy thousand words–entirely coincidentally, I’m sure, the minimum length for a publishable novel? I’m sure you could get it down to twenty or thirty if you tried hard enough. In fact, why stop at twenty or thirty? Why write at all? Why not just jot the plot and a couple of themes down on the back of an envelope and leave it at that? The truth is, there’s nothing very utilitarian about fiction or its creation, and I suspect that people are desperate to make it sound manly, back-breaking labor because it’s such a wussy thing to do in the first place. The obsession with austerity is an attempt to compensate, to make writing resemble a real job, like farming, or logging. (It’s also why people who work in advertising put in twenty-hour days.) Go on, young writers–treat yourself to a joke, or an adverb! Spoil yourself! Readers won’t mind!”
― Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

“I feel like I’m trying to shovel shit from the bottom of an elevator shaft.” ― C.J. Casey, Something I Screamed at my Mug of Tea this Morning

So I’m editing a novella in hopes for publication. In addition to the poetry for Poetry Monday, I’ll put up things about the editing process and perhaps an excerpt later.

And for those of you editing… you’re not alone. Actually, check that. You’re horribly, horribly alone. Writing is perhaps the most solitary thing one can do; at least if you’re a chronic masturbator you can attract a crowd. But you’re alone with a bunch of other people who are just as alone as you are. I hope that makes you feel a little better. I mean, it doesn’t help me, but hopefully it will help you.

Poetry Monday: The Grain

He sat gripping his pen
The words came quick, but
they weren’t the right words.
They said what he wanted to say
But not what he wanted to mean
So he waved to his friends,
waved to her,
And wrote
And wrote

He sat gripping his pen
The words came slow, but
they circled his point
They said what he wanted, meant what he meant
But did they mean the right thing?
Were they said the best way?
Would they hit their target, and
Was their target worthy of being hit?
So he sat and wrote and burned and wrote and
She watched
And watched
And waited
And watched
Then she turned one last time
Walked to the court
and away

He sat holding his pen
It took two hands to hold it straight
But the words behaved!
The words stood still!
The words so dense with meaning, yet so clear
They burned through the veil of the world
As a sun.
And he sat and he smiled
He had created a Grain, pure thing, where none had existed,
Shedding its light, to feed or to grow
So he ran to them ran to her, yelling and laughing
But she wasn’t there
They were gone
His house was empty
His cats had vanished
No one he saw to play with his art

but a lonely little boy
walking across the street

So the old man walked outside
The boy held out his hand
And the man put the Grain, perfect Grain of art on his palm
And the boy looked at it.

He smiled

It was good.