Relationship, narrative, reciprocity, and David Abram

If you accept that story lives in relationships, in the push-pull of people with each other, within themselves, with their environment, then read David Abram’s mesmerizing and brilliant book, THE SPELL OF THE SENSUOUS.  “Late one evening I stepped out of my little hut in the rice paddies of eastern Bali and found myself falling through space. Over my head the black sky was rippling with stars, densely clustered in some regions, almost blocking out the darkness between them, and more loosely scattered in other areas, pulsing and beckoning to each other. Behind them all streamed the great river of …

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THE BUSINESS OF WRITING -How not to ship your power out with the manuscript.

Over the next weeks I’ll be focusing on the business of writing–building your platform, choosing authentic career strategies, finding the right agent, evaluating your publishing options from traditional to POD to e-books to Kindle. And most importantly, how to hold onto your power and your sanity over the course of your creative lifetime. I’m not going to try to organize these “biz” posts in any particular order. Instead, I’m posting links to sites I already know are useful. And I’ll be on an active hunt to discover new (to me and perhaps to you) resources. If you’re serious about the …

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TREBLE THE TROUBLE

Writing fiction? Then Les Edgerton’s nifty book, HOOKED, is a great choice for your holiday gift list. (If you’re like me, you play secret Santa and buy yourself a few pounds of libros for the holidays.) Edgerton covers well-traveled ground when it comes to the how-to of structure. But he does it by focusing intensely on the basics of story setup–the opening hooks and problems–that directly connect to deep story structure.  Edgerton defines the Inciting Incident–a term often used in the language of screenplays–as something that “happens to the protagonist that creates his surface problem and introduces the first indications …

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A NARRATIVE SENSE OF PLACE

“If character is the foreground of fiction, setting is the background, and as in a painting’s composition, the foreground may be in harmony or in conflict with the background…where there is a conflict between background and foreground, between character and setting, there is already “narrative content,” or the makings of a story.” Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft As an exercise, Burroway suggests writing a scene in which two characters are in conflict over their surroundings. One wants to stay, the other wants to leave. If you choose to do the exercise, you might try it twice–first …

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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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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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