UNCOMMON SENSE: Concrete, Significant, Dynamic Details

Vivid writing engages all the senses. But a writer doesn’t slather cobalt blue and Prussian blue and titanium white onto the page to paint the sky as it darkens before a rain. She can’t reach for her trumpet and belt a B-flat to herald the end of an act. He rarely has the opportunity to slide a sliver of dark chocolate laced with habanero chile between his readers’ lips. And when was the last time a book reached out with a feather and tickled that spot at the base of your neck?  Writers use words to awaken and engage a reader’s …

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The Wild Freedom of 100 Lines

My writing friend in Mexico introduced me months ago to author CM Mayo’s generous web offering: 365 five-minute writing exercises. Somewhere among those exercises is one that suggests writing 100 lines about a story, scene, idea. I don’t remember the exact details of her exercise, but I am completely addicted to the flexibility it has inspired, and I use it all the time. These days, when I’m diving into a new scene, I begin with 100 lines of free association. These free me of fear and lead me to infinite discoveries, including: dialogue, emotionally evocative sensory details, physical descriptions, various …

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Today’s Quote on Writing Memoir-I Then, I Now

Two quotes today, both from Thomas Larson’s wonderful book The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading & Writing Personal Narrative: “It feels natural to see the remembered self as a character who has an independent life, chooses for himself, indulges free will. But memoirists avoid such self-casting. The memoir writer does not situate himself in a recreated world as though he were a literary character. What the memoirist does is connect the past self to–and within–the present writer as the means of getting at the truth of his identity.” “For such emotionally intense memoirs we need emotionally revealing memoirists, authors who …

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The Writers Telesummit 2008

Creativity coach and author Eric Maisel and two colleagues have teamed up to present the Writers TeleSummit 2008, Thursday, September 4th through Sunday, September 7th, 2008. I’ve found Maisel’s books on creativity and self-coaching to be really helpful. I love the clarity of the steps he offers to demystify the creative process. When I read the list of 24 presenters, I was impressed. Among them: Eric Maisel will talk about “Writing and Selling the Nonfiction Book.” This should be inspiring. Agent and author Jeff Herman has written one of the best guides to writing book proposals. His talk “Finding the …

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BASICS OF WRITING CRAFT IN A NUTSHELL, WHETHER AS PRIMER OR REMINDER:

In a nutshell: Viewpoint – The person and perspective from which your story is told. In the simplest terms the choices are 1st person (I), 2nd person (you, rarely used), limited 3rd person (he, she, as in a central character or protagonist), and 3rd person omniscient (sometimes defined as a godlike viewpoint, shifting between and encompassing the viewpoints of multiple characters). Viewpoint is also referred to as point of view, POV, and/or viewpoint character. Summary – The efficient accounting of events in a story that otherwise are not rendered fully in a scene. Story-telling with the emphasis on the telling …

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