Tagged: writing coach
We, as writers and artists, need to return to reading material that requires a bit more effort than watching cute cat videos. Okay, a lot more effort. Why? I’ll tell you…
From the archives: In August 2014, I was interviewed by Michelle Murrain on my views on world building in fantasy for the monthly Broad Universe podcasts. We discussed the philosophy of world building for fantasy,...
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us “Selling Out for the Holidays!” Enjoy!
You are probably familiar with the coloring book craze, which as writers we are allowed to view with irony and in some cases, despair. I have avoided even leafing through the coloring books for sale next to the real books filled with words partially because of that irony thing, mostly because I don’t have time to color. I also don’t have the time to meditate , take a yoga class, shop for healthy food or call mom.
I came across a brochure advertising a writing seminar to be led by Cheryl Strand who will forever look like Reese Witherspoon in my head.
In her book Thinking About Memoir, Abigail Thomas reminds us: “Details. Specifics. Eliminate all abstract nouns.” Of course, this rule holds true for writing fiction as much as memoir. Whatever you write, use specific details to craft a full, believable world.
Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. For an author the very first social media channel for your book is Facebook. The second best way to be found (both you and your book) is through Twitter, but Twitter can be overwhelming as well as time consuming. The next best social media channel for authors is Pinterest.
“…the bearded merchants in furred robes conversing quietly as they picked their way along the slimy stones above the water, the fishermen unloading their catch, coopers pounding and shipmakers hammering and clamsellers singing and shipmasters bellowing, and beyond all the silent, shining bay.”
Anthologies are often the first place a brand newbie writer can get published. Which is why many colleges and writing clubs collect and print anthologies. Inclusion in an anthology increases the value of group membership and lifts all boats – or in this case, author’s street cred.
There are multiple kinds of truth, in fiction as in life. As fiction writers, we move as close to the truth as possible without ever quite veering into truth entirely (otherwise we’d be writing nonfiction). One kind of truth emanates from a realism of scene and detail. By identifying with familiar settings and character traits, readers are pulled into a story and become personally attached to it.
Some writers enjoy the process of rereading and combing through each word, looking for ways to strengthen sentences, remove extraneous detail, sharpen plot and develop characters. But for many it’s pure torture. Editing can feel like it lacks the punch and excitement of the initial writing, too analytical and uncreative.
Did you ever play Truth or Dare when you were young? It was probably thrilling, testing boundaries and building trust among your friends. As you said and did wilder and wilder things, your relationships grew stronger and the world opened up to new possibilities. Yet we grow out of Truth or Dare eventually, finding the dares childish, the truths too painful to admit. We learn to guard ourselves too deeply, developing layers of protection.
My wife sometimes accuses me of going to extremes. In the car, the heater is either on full blast or the AC is icy. I can be a bouncing Tigger one minute, a solemn and quiet Eeyore the next. When writing I’m the same way, methodical and slow in outlining, then writing with abandon, not stopping or thinking or even coming up to breathe.