Musings on the Craft of Writing

Posts tagged “authors

►Writing on Both Sides of the Brain

This is one of the first books I read on novel-writing, and it saved me.

I’d always been a tyrant with myself as I wrote, slicing into each section, paragraph and sentence as I typed it on the page. I was driving in circles.  Henriette Klauser’s book helped free me from that habit.

Klauser

^^^^^^^^^^^^

It’s true that unrefined creativity (more…)

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►Eavesdropping on a Pubbing Argument

The discussions I’m linking to are long (so long that I printed them off), but for all of us interested in the publishing industry (especially we who are torn about whether we should self-pub or go to the traditional houses), this is well worth our time.

I’ll break it its three main chronological parts:

1) Steve Zacharius (owner of (more…)


►Your Vault is Your Hope

As I’ve said before, being a novel-writer is a lot like pushing Sisyphus’ stone.  We work for months or years on each draft, spend serious cash seeking help to perfect it, and then repeat that process until we believe that manuscript is perfect.  Most do this for the hope of becoming paid, full-time authors.

But intermittently, we writers are smacked with the reality that we’ve been digging in the mines for years… for nothing.  Playing the odds, the vast majority of us will either make a pittance (more…)


►Sisyphus’ Pen

Want to get rich quick?  Be famous with a life of ease?  Then being an author is a terrible move for you.

    ~~What the outsider think the writer's life is like...

~~What the outsiders think the writer’s life is like…

Virtually all of the money which makes it into a writer’s pocket goes to a tiny fraction of the authors.  For every Stephen King and John Grisham out there, there are thousands of (more…)


►Aut Disce Aut Discede

My experience with authors is that story-telling has been part of their lives for as far back as they can recall.  It’s true of me as well.  Authors I have spoken with express the same joy (and need) of writing.  But why are most novels so humdrum?  How is it that we (the authors) can be so exuberant about our stories and yet leave so many who read our stories so lukewarm?   The primary problem, I think, is that we don’t take the writing craft seriously.

When I began my first novel I had a premise which I (and others) fell in love with.  And so I sat down and started writing it.  I was educated, had been writing for school for years, was well-read, etc..  But between the completion of Draft 1 and Draft 2, I did the best thing possible for my writing—I schooled myself.

(more…)


►Self-publishing, or “Revolutions do smell bad”

Over the past couple of years the talk of the “Self-publishing revolution” has spread into all corners of the Interwebs.  Writers are Eugène_Delacroix_-_La_liberté_guidant_le_peuplecelebrating that we are now no longer at the mercy of literary agents or publishing houses (who sometimes seem to make their publishing choices by shaking a Magic 8 Ball).  We also know that nepotism, cronyism and all kinds of other unfair –isms are pushing people up into the “legitimately” published sphere.  The traditional publishing houses used to be indispensable, unless you happened to have a spare $100K lying around to publish and market your book.  Even in the Internet’s early days, the “Vanity publishers” realized that they could buy book-pressers and print for desperate authors.  And now the internet is so powerful that the traditional marketing they used is stuck in the back seat (if not the trunk).  The monopoly is broken.

But here comes the other side…  (more…)


►Muses and Monsters

Novel writing is complicated, but not nearly so complicated as novel writers.  Creativity is a strange animal, and it leads authors in strange directions.  Recently I discovered Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, which is primarily about overcoming resistance and truly chasing the artist’s life.  It’s filled with many excellent insights, and I recommend it.  However, he does spend some time discussing his sincere belief in the ancient Muses and Daimons  and their influence over his own writing.  (In case you don’t know, this is tantamount to saying that you really do believe in Zeus, and that Apollo is really guiding you on a journey.)

apollo_muses

And then last week I came across a Ted Talk where Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) makes similar claims of the guiding force of supernatural agents. Weird?  Well, yeah, but really this is no different than people believing that the “Holy Ghost guides them” in their projects, as some Christian artists assert.

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