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Posts Tagged ‘novel writing’

Coffee and NewspaperWhen I visited my school guidance counselor to discuss my future careers, the term “creativity scientist” never came up. Then again, neither did “musician” or “novelist” or even “computer programmer,” all of which I have used to describe various aspects of my “career.”

But “creativity scientist?” Wow, that sounds like a good gig. Of course, “zookeeper” sounds great, too, until you realize that it’s mostly shoveling poop. Come to think of it, “shoveling poop” describes every single job I’ve ever had, to one degree or another. Sometimes it’s my poop. Most times it’s someone else’s. No matter what, it’s poop. Everyone shovels poop.

Anyway…Jefferson Smith, who runs the Creativity Hacker website and blog, obviously attended a different school district than I did. He is a creativity scientist and novelist, and he’s got some interesting ideas and thoughts on all things creative, and especially about creative writing.

One of his ideas is his “Immerse or Die” program: Take a book, get on the treadmill, and see how long the author keeps the reader immersed in the world of the novel. (more…)

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Bath Abbey Fan VaultingSometimes, the word “interesting” isn’t enough.

This weekend past, as well as being sad, stressful, productive, lazy, and maddening, was also interesting.

It was the 31st anniversary of my wedding. It was the yahrzeit of the death of my wife’s mother. It was a weekend of plans, and of disrupted plans. It was a weekend with three reservations to the same restaurant, each one made and canceled in daily succession. It was a weekend of editing, rereading and rewriting my latest short story (“The Book of Solomon”), proofing it, polishing it, and then sending it off to a paying market.

It was also the weekend when I got an email from the Senior Librarian in Sumner, WA, asking if I’d be interested in participating in a panel, this October.

Yeah, “interesting” doesn’t really cover it.

(more…)

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Writing with Pen and PaperWelcome one, welcome all, to the fourth stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour, one of those writerly process-ish bloggy tour-like things that we use as an excuse to talk about our passion: writing.

My name is Kurt, and I’ll be your host for as long as you keep reading.

Thanks to my predecessor, J.Z. Murdock, author of darkness, for the invitation to join the tour.

The premise is simple. At each stop along the tour, the author talks about his/her writing processes, and then hands you off to the next writer in line. (Todd…you ready?)

It’s just four simple questions:

  • What am I working on?
  • How does my work differ from others in its genre?
  • Why do I write what I do?
  • How does my writing process work?

Still here? Good.

Here we go…

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The 53 StepsChange is not “good.” We just say that to put on a brave face. The fact is that change is neither inherently good or bad. Change, like the universe, is neutral.

Change just is.

There have been a lot of changes around my house in the last 24 months. In that time, my wife and I have lost three of our four parents. Big change. Also during this period my wife discovered Facebook and, as a result, our social circles have widened and multiplied. Change, also pretty big from my POV. And, for the past several months we’ve had a houseguest, a young person whose life blew up while visiting us, and whom we’re helping get reestablished. Epic change.

In other words, my home life, my level of social interaction, and my private world have all undergone dramatic and fundamental transformations. And it’s made me a bit stroppy.

Yes. Stroppy. Look it up. (more…)

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Captive SlavesI’ve never given much credence to results of “studies” on human social patterns. We’re just too complicated to fit into neat little boxes. However, the other day I learned of one such study which so accurately described me, I had to give it a closer look.

I mention this here because this is the sort of thing that can be used to add depth to the histories of families and characters in my writing.

The study was about birth order and the “middle child syndrome.” Now, “birth order” is not new to me; I heard about it a long time ago but never paid it any attention because, frankly, my family situation doesn’t really fit any common form.

(more…)

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Over on Facebook, a reader mentioned a scene in FC:1 that she really liked. I like to investigate this sort of specific feedback–the good and the bad–to see what worked and what didn’t work for my readers.

I remembered the scene she mentioned in general, but not in detail. The main reason I wanted to investigate, though, was that her description of it as dialogue-free was not my recollection; I remembered it as being chatty to the extreme, as two swoony teenaged girls prattled on about how divine it was going to be to see Sarah Bernhardt on stage. (For those of you out of the 19th-century loop, Sarah Bernhardt was the Lady Gaga of her day.)

So, I pulled down my copy of The Year the Cloud Fell and tried to figure out what this reader had meant when she referred to the scene’s “shared communication and not a scrap of dialogue.

(more…)

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Stack of BooksNow that’s a first.

A novelist friend was complaining about the names she’d picked for her characters (they’re historical ethnic names, and have several diacritical marks). She was wrapping up a long series with these characters, and was looking forward to never having to write those names again.

I thought that was a good topic for discussion. There are lots of bad choices for character names; some annoy the reader, some annoy the writer. Then, halfway through composing my own post, I searched the web for a reference, and got a hit on my own blog.

Oops…I’d already written a post on the topic of character names (and what not to do).

I suppose it was bound to happen; there are only so many one can broach on the subject of writing. Of course, I’m a good enough writer that I could have taken a new tack on an old topic, but I don’t want to recycle subjects…not yet, anyway.

So, instead of boring you with a slightly different discussion on what makes a bad name, how about boring you with a discussion on what makes a good name?

No? All right. Another time, then. 😉

k

Kurt R.A. Giambastiani

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