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Posts Tagged ‘writing tips’

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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Self-Promotion: the crude and unappealing practice of marketing one’s own work; in British slang, often called “flogging.”

I’ve only met one writer who actually enjoys flogging his books. He travels up and down the coast, reading excerpts, glad-handing, meeting people, building an impressive network. For every other writer I’ve met, mention the word “promotion” and watch them wince.

We hate promoting our books. HateitHateitHateit. Some writers hate it so much, they don’t do it at all.

But according to ND Author Services (aka NDAS, run by bestselling authors Barb and J.C. Hendee, who–believe me–know what they’re talking about), there’s some good news. As with everything else in the publishing industry, self-promotion–the very nature of it–is changing.

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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.

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiOkay, so I don’t always think things through.

Ages ago, when I was writing nothing but short fiction and sending out MSS to the far corners of the publishing world, I had an idea for a computer application for writers. It was a struggle to keep track of where my dozens of MSS were; where they out with a publisher? For how long? Too long?

So I thought: What if you could enter the names of all your MSS into an app, note when you sent it out, and keep track of where everything was and how long it had been there?

It seemed like a good idea, and so I cracked my knuckles and began to write the code for my MSTracker app.

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Stack of Books

After successfully avoiding pen and paper during my recent vacation (Thank you, World Cup!) on Sunday I finally grabbed myself by the collar, sat myself down at the deck table, put a pen in my hand and paper before me, and started the short story that has been nipping at my heels like a poorly trained corgi for nearly a month.

I started writing at about 7AM Sunday and finished it at around 11PM. It clocked in at about 3000 words.

For me, that is fast writing. But that wasn’t the interesting bit.

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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.

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