About Writers

Midnight in Paris

Midnight_in_Paris_PosterIf you’ve seen this 2011 movie, then you know it’s about writers. Owen Wilson stars as an American writer in Paris from the year 2010 who stumbles into the roaring 20s to meet the Fitzgeralds, Zelda and Scott; Ernest Hemingway; Gertrude Stein & cohorts. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Golden Globe Awards for Best Screenplay and was nominated for three other Academy Awards. Setting aside the astonishing photography, the fun, believable scenes with great writers and artists of the time and the award winning writing, we come to the heart of the story: Everybody believes that the Golden Age of writing is in the past. They missed it and they long for it.

Are we like that? Do we tend to believe that the best 20th Century writers are better than anyone out there today? Are none of the 11 million books on Amazon worthy of future veneration? This is, of course, a matter of perception and we may someday find a book from the last 16 years that went unnoticed at publication but is reprinted for generations because it says something no other book says so well.

As writers, we should be able to say -now- what such a book would be like. I think it would have to tell readers things about their own lives that they don’t understand because they are too close but that a writer, being on the outside looking in, can.

What do you think a new book destined to be reprinted for generations would have to be like?

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About Writers, reading, writing technique

Orson Welles With His Mouth Full of Crackers

The other day, someone on Facebook posted this challenge: “Quick, without thinking about it too hard, what’s the first, most memorable piece of character description that comes to your mind?”

I didn’t think about it too hard. What popped into my mind was: “He had a voice like Orson Welles with a mouthful of crackers.”

I knew it was from Raymond Chandler. It pretty much had to be. After a little digging through the dusty paperbacks, I found it: The Little Sister, Chapter 15.

If you’ve never read The Little Sister, I envy you a little. (Also, why the hell not?) It was Chandler’s fifth novel, and he was at the peak of his form. It may not have been his most elegantly written or most cleverly plotted, but that thing is bursting with gonzo energy.

It is, in modern parlance, cray.

It was Chandler’s Hollywood novel—swimming pools, movie stars, a guy running around sticking icepicks into people. Typical stuff. But this is Chandler. What matters is the writing, specifically the dialogue. Most specifically, the dialogue between Phillip Marlowe and Orfamay Quest, the prim, mousy girl from Manhattan, Kansas, who has come to Los Angeles to find her brother, Orrin. Everything about the case seems wrong to Marlowe, but he doesn’t have anything else to do. After much back and forth, he manages to pry a 20-dollar retainer from her tight little fist and sets off to find her brother.

I don’t want to give you any more of the story than that. Instead, I want to look at one chapter, number 15 to be exact. I could just say “go here and read it” but that wouldn’t make much of a post. For no other goddamned good reason other than my own self-indulgence, I present the entire chapter (Canadian Public Domain version) only slightly annotated. I hope you enjoy it:

Chapter Fifteen
She came in briskly enough this time. Her motions were small and quick and determined. There was one of those thin little, bright little smiles on her face. She put her bag down firmly, settled herself in the customer’s chair and went on smiling.

(I love the energy of this description. We’ve met Orfamay already, way back in Chapter One, but we don’t know what to make of her yet. The tumble of adjectives—small, quick, determined—and especially the wonderful cluster “thin little, bright little”—puts us on our guard. They are sharp and bristly. Orfamay is not to be trifled with, no matter how innocuous and innocent she may pretend to be.)

“It’s nice of you to wait for me,” she said. “I bet you haven’t had your dinner yet, either.”

“Wrong,” I said. “I have had my dinner. I am now drinking whiskey. You don’t approve of whiskey-drinking do you?” (Marlowe is ready to spar.)

“I certainly do not.” (So is she.)

“That’s just dandy,” I said. “I hoped you hadn’t changed your mind.” I put the bottle up on the desk and poured myself another slug. I drank a little of it and gave her a leer above the glass. (There is a game going on. It is not the game Orfamay thinks it is. Ultimately, it isn’t quite what Marlowe thinks it is either.)

“If you keep on with that you won’t be in any condition to listen to what I have to say,” she snapped.

“About this murder,” I said. “Anybody I know? I can see you’re not murdered—yet.”

“Please don’t be unnecessarily horrid. It’s not my fault. You doubted me over the telephone so I had to convince you. Orrin did call me up. But he wouldn’t tell me where he was or what he was doing. I don’t know why.”

“He wanted you to find out for yourself,” I said. “He’s building your character.”

“That’s not funny. It’s not even smart.”

“But you’ve got to admit it’s nasty,” I said. “Who was murdered? Or is that a secret too?”

She fiddled a little with her bag, not enough to overcome her embarrassment, because she wasn’t embarrassed. But enough to needle me into taking another drink. (The nimbleness of Chandler’s prose is awe-inspiring. He establishes character with such quick strokes.)

“That horrid man in the rooming house was murdered. Mr.—Mr.—I forget his name.”

“Let’s both forget it,” I said. “Let’s do something together for once.” I dropped the whiskey bottle into the desk drawer and stood up. “Look, Orfamay, I’m not asking you how you know all this. Or rather how Orrin knows it all. Or if he does know it. You’ve found him. That’s what you wanted me to do. Or he’s found you, which comes to the same thing.”

“It’s not the same thing,” she cried. “I haven’t really found him. He wouldn’t tell me where he was living.” (This is important to the bigger plot. Orfamay has presented herself as the caring sister, tracking down the wild brother who really needs to just come back to Kansas and be nurtured in the bosom of his loving family. Nothing could be further from the truth. Her insistence that “he wouldn’t tell me anything,” hints deftly at her real reason for being there.)

“Well if it is anything like the last place, I don’t blame him.”

She set her lips in a firm line of distaste. “He wouldn’t tell me anything really.”

“Just about murders,” I said. “Trifles like that.”

She laughed bubblingly. “I just said that to scare you. I don’t really mean anybody was murdered, Mr. Marlowe. You sounded so cold and distant. I thought you wouldn’t help me any more. And—well, I just made it up.” (A nice feint from Orfamay, but Marlowe isn’t buying.)

I took a couple of deep breaths and looked down at my hands. I straightened out the fingers slowly. Then I stood up. I didn’t say anything. (The drama of the sentences is understated and yet perfectly clear. No explication. No internal monologue.)

“Are you mad at me?” she asked timidly, making a little circle on the desk with the point of a finger. (Still dancing.)

“I ought to slap your face off,” I said. “And quit acting innocent. Or it mightn’t be your face I’d slap.”

Her breath caught with a jerk. “Why, how dare you!” (Her favorite counter-punch, but even she knows it’s a not a haymaker. She’s just playing for time.)

“You used that line,” I said. “You used it too often. Shut up and get the hell out of here. Do you think I enjoy being dared to death? Oh—there’s this.” I yanked a drawer open, got out her twenty dollars and threw them down in front of her. “Take this money away. Endow a hospital or a research laboratory with it. It makes me nervous having it around.” (Love that bit.  Even in 1940, twenty bucks wasn’t a real retainer, certainly not for the amount of time he’s already put into the case. But the dirty secrets of the Quest family have everything to do with money, and Marlowe’s hip to that already.)

Her hand reached automatically for the money. Her eyes behind the cheaters were round and wondering. “Goodness,” she said, assembling her handbag with a nice dignity.  (Assembling. Nice.)  “I’m sure I didn’t know you scared that easy. I thought you were tough.”

“That’s just an act,” I growled, moving around the desk. She leaned back in her chair away from me. “I’m only tough with little girls like you that don’t let their fingernails grow too long. I’m all mush inside.” I took hold of her arm and yanked her to her feet. Her head went back. Her lips parted. I was hell with the women that day. (Classic Chandler.)

“But you will find Orrin for me, won’t you?” she whispered. “It was all a lie. Everything I’ve told you was a lie. He didn’t call me up. I—I don’t know anything.” (Even when she’s leveling with him, she’s still playing him.)

“Perfume,” I said sniffing. “Why, you little darling. You put perfume behind your ears—and all for me!”

She nodded her little chin half an inch. Her eyes were melting. “Take my glasses off,” she whispered, “Philip. I don’t mind if you take a little whiskey once in a while. Really I don’t.”

Our faces were about six inches apart. I was afraid to take her glasses off. I might have socked her on the nose.  (Fantastic. Marlowe was such a perfect confusion of tough, cynical veneer and soft, almost prudish, interior. Humanity tends to disappoint him, but he’s too much of a romantic to ever truly give up on it.)

“Yes,” I said in a voice that sounded like Orson Welles with his mouth full of crackers. “I’ll find him for you, honey, if he’s still alive. And for free. Not a dime of expense involved. I only ask one thing.”

“What, Philip?” she asked softly and opened her lips a little wider.

“Who was the black sheep in your family?” (Finally. Marlowe is not the know-it-all, smart guy, love-em-and leave-em detective. He’s actually is a nice guy. We’ve know him for four novels now. If he’s sparring with Orfamay, it’s because he knows that she’s more dangerous than she appears. Not that there isn’t some genuine feeling when she says “Take my glasses off… I don’t mind if you take a little whiskey once in a while.” In some ways, she really is the innocent, at least about matters of the heart. She really does want Marlowe to kiss her. But she’s also running a different game, and Marlowe knows it. He’s just not sure what it is.)
She jerked away from me like a startled fawn might, if I had a startled fawn and it jerked away from me. (Also a classic Chandlerism.) She stared at me stony-faced.

“You said Orrin wasn’t the black sheep in your family. Remember? With a very peculiar emphasis. And when you mentioned your sister Leila, you sort of passed on quickly as if the subject was distasteful.”

“I—I don’t remember saying anything like that,” she said very slowly.

“So I was wondering,” I said. “What name does your sister Leila use in pictures?”

“Pictures?” she sounded vague. “Oh you mean motion pictures? Why I never said she was in pictures. I never said anything about her like that.”

I gave her my big homely lopsided grin. She suddenly flew into a rage.

“Mind your own business about my sister Leila,” she spit at me. “You leave my sister Leila out of your dirty remarks.”

“What dirty remarks?” I asked. “Or should I try to guess?”

“All you think about is liquor and women,” she screamed. “I hate you!” She rushed to the door and yanked it open and went out. She practically ran down the hall.

I went back around my desk and slumped into the chair. A very strange little girl. Very strange indeed. (That’s an understatement. In spite of everything, Orfamay intrigues him. He’s even a little touched by her. He’s in shopworn Galahad mode again, only this time around, the damsel isn’t really in distress.)

After a while the phone started ringing again, as it would. On the fourth ring I leaned my head on my hand and groped for it, fumbled it to my face.  (Love that.)

“Utter McKinley Funeral Parlors,” I said.

A female voice said: “Wha-a-t?” and went off into a shriek of laughter. That one was a riot at the police smoker in 1921. What a wit. Like a hummingbird’s beak. I put the lights out and went home.

(I always thought this was just a nonsense joke but Utter McKinley Mortuaries still exist, a fair number of them, around the Southern California area.)

And THAT is the entire chapter. I urge you to go read the whole book. You won’t be sorry you did.

Meanwhile, what’s the first, most memorable piece of character description that comes to your mind?

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About Writers, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Writing for Fun

“These silly writers let their imaginations run away with themselves.”
– Nicole Kidman as Satine in Moulin Rouge!

It being Monday morning, I naturally selected my “writing cup” for morning coffee and thought about my WiP, only to remember the online game I had been playing over the weekend. I had promised people there I would write a song for our pirate guild. Well, why not call that writing? Toulouse-Lautrec painted posters of ill repute. Marshall McLuhan and his anthropologist friend Edmund Carpenter knew peoples for whom living is itself art. Why should a writer limit expression to a book-yet-to-be-published? Why avoid the fun of being silly?

This is ingame (silly) writing.

The Pirate Song

Against convention we rebel,
To sail the sea of briny foam.
We drink with demons straight from hell
And chase their asses home!

Chorus:
The waves be drunk and so are we,
The moon be high and so are we.
We’re sinful dirty pirates
And we’re sailing to be free!

We’ll blow yer ship to smithereens,
Board yer women & belay yer men.
We’ll sink yer bloody brigantines
And haul yer treasure to our den!

(Chorus)

So flee the hull that flies the skull
Or Davey Jones will pick yer bones.
Cannon balls and boarding brawls
Are winsome cheers to buccaneers!

(Chorus)

I can’t be the only writer who also writes just for fun.
What about you?

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book promotion

Adventures of the Indie Author World/ Finding your place at signings.

Guest post from Nickie Seidler:

I’ll introduce myself first, I’m Nickie Nalley Seidler, a romantic suspense author trying to make herself known in the community. I’m a mom to my beautiful baby girl who’s two. A wife to my amazing husband of almost eight years. Living in the suburbs of Chicago, I write part time, work behind a desk part time, and mommy full time.

Alright, now that you know just a pinch of my life, thought I’d share some of my experiences thus far. When I first started writing, I had no idea what an indie author was. I had no idea you could publish your books, get paperback books printed, sell your babies-basically, it’s what it feels like-haha. I was EXCITED. But I will say, I’ve never written the same after knowing that. Let me explain. When I wrote my first book, I was writing for FUN. I wasn’t expecting the world to see it, I was expecting my mom to maybe read it and maybe some family members, but not the whole world. Then the writing community gets introduced to you. AKA-facebook. My husband came across an indie author somehow and she was basically my manual to getting started. She introduced me to some blogs, who went and shared my facebook pages, told them to check me out, that I was a new upcoming author writing in the romance genre. It BOOMED from there. Next thing I know I was being taught how to make teasers, and excerpts to show on your books and getting your potential readers to be excited about the upcoming releases. Blogs wanted to read, review, be a part of my amazing new start of a journey. It was GREAT. I was a wreck. I was so nervous to let anyone read my baby. My first. It was scary! I got wonderful feedback though, good and bad but when I say bad, I mean uplifting. People with advice on how to better myself. Yeah, occasionally I got the mean ones, but I learned to put them aside. From there, people just shared my facebook posts. Or I created sponsored ads to get more visibility, but again that was back then, things have kind of changed on that home front, mainly due to Facebook controlling visibility.

I started writing a list of blogs down. Whoever shared for me, read my books and reviewed, I would contact for future things. Blogs can host cover reveals, sales to your books, new releases, and some even do blog tours, as much as they aren’t that popular anymore. These were all big deals and what most authors were doing to get seen! It worked! Before I knew it, I had a following. I would take over blog pages, they would give me a time frame and I’d post games, and things to get to know people, or giveaways, even copies of my book. Mind you, again, this was on their facebook pages. Facebook has been KEY to my success. It’s the easiest way to connect with people. You name it, search it on facebook. There are TONS of groups and pages out there that connect you with the community of authors and books. TALK, PROMOTE, WRITE. That’s my three most successful points.
Talk – people want to hear not only about books, but about you. They view us as rock stars. Believe me, it is possible to fan girl over an author! I’ve done it! Talk to people, have everyday conversations. RELAX. They are just people like us. They want to know what inspires us, where we get our ideas. Most people know me now by my daughter. I post a lot about my daughter and to many people that was the best thing in the world. To see happy pictures, baby pictures, an author being a mommy. Talking is key to developing relationships with your readers.

Promoting – do it as often as you can! Don’t let people forget your name. Post a teaser from one of your books with links to purchasing it. Give them a line that will make them click that book of yours. Throw a sale every once and a while and promote it like crazy! Giveaways, get some swag made, bookmarks, post cards, rack cards, vista print is wonderful and gotprints for bookmarks is fantastic! I also have amazing designers, inexpensive, that can design things for you well. Throw a game on your facebook page or blog to get readers to win a copy of whatever you put up. Whether it be a copy of your book, or a bookmark, or even an amazon gift card! That one reader may be a lifetime reader from then on, who may promote or spread the word to her friends. WORD OF MOUTH is the best! Just don’t stop promoting. Share your other author friends releases, cover reveals, teasers and giveaways. Support others and they will support you! Well, most will. Talk to the bloggers, ask them to share a thing or two if they don’t mind. They love supporting authors and usually most willing to share anything!

Write – Just keep writing. No matter what, WRITE. Even if it’s a sentence a day. It helps. Sometimes I should take my own advice, but that’s how I was able to publish eight books with a ninth one on the way. Tell your readers you’re writing, they’ll be the biggest pep in your step! They’ll be your inspiration, your motivation to keep going. It’s been mine since I shared my baby with the world. The reviews kept coming, the readers kept messaging me, and the common theme was MORE. They wanted more from me! It was great! I felt on top of the world! I felt like the rock star they envisioned! Which also made writing more challenging. I was focusing on “what would they think” more than write it however it speaks to you. Who cares what they think this is how the story goes! If your story needs extra detail, write it! If it’s a quick read with less details, that’s ok too! There is no right or wrong way to write a book. It’s YOUR book and you write it as you want as short or long as you want it. Only want a chapter to be two pages? FINE! You are in control! But write from your heart, write for FUN! Write because the voices don’t give you an option! Don’t let the following you gain or the reviews you’ve read hinder your writing process or HOW you write! From there, signings fell into play!

Blogs would throw out some forms here and there for signings they’re hosting and I’d fill them out or readers would send them to me in hopes I’d fill them out. Why? Because they wanted to meet me! So I’ve traveled to Greenville, NC where my first signing was and it was great. I got to meet a reader who came all the way from the Detroit area to meet me! These people traveled FAR to meet ME. It’s an amazing feeling. I took so many pictures with my readers and sold some books. I gave away a lot of swag; bookmarks, pens, wristbands, buttons. They love it! I signed sooooo much and it was all overwhelming, but amazing at the same time. I met some author friends that I’ll probably have for life. We can all relate and we share our tactics.

From Greenville, I visited Nashville, TN and then I went to a Chicago Windy City signing and sold a ton of books and met so many more readers. I also did the Elgin library which is also coming up this year. I’m also involved in a signing in June at a distillery. I’ll list the dates and locations and links to buying tickets below!

What you may need to attend a signing?
Books, about 10 of each of your books!
A banner with your name or fun design to advertise yourself! (Think vistaprint)
Bookmarks or something people can take for free from you!
Sharpies! All colors ! You’ll be signing a lot!
Notebook to start a newsletter. (think mailchimp-free newsletter site)

I’d be happy to add you on facebook, just search for Nickie Nalley Seidler. I’d also be more than happy to promote anything you like! Let’s get you seen in the book community!

Come visit me at the 2nd annual Authors Fair, to be held Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 from 2 p.m.—4 p.m. at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, IL
Free admission.

Or
Friday June 16th, 2017
Fox River Distillery Author Event
204 Dearborn Court
#Unit 110
Geneva, IL 60134
7-9pm
Tickets will be through Eventbrite : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/friday-fan-girls-an-author-event-with-a-little-nip-to-it-tickets-31196582819

Time: March 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm

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About Writers

Do Shy People Make the Best Writers?

(Asks Joe Moran, in an article on Daily Beast.)

The following is a combination of his thoughts and my own. Italics are his remarks, non-italic, mine.

Here’s the link:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/11/do-shy-people-make-the-best-writers.html

Dickinson_children_painting.jpeg.jpeg

Emily Dickenson, a noted shy-ster. (As a child, on the left.) Not the usual dour image, we see a hint of a smile. The well-known photo may not be typical of her at all. In that era one had to pose stock-still for quite a period, eliminating any spontaneity.

__________________________________________

Is there something about writing that attracts shy people in particular? Nicholson Baker, Alan Bennett, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, J.K. Rowling, and Garrison Keillor are just a few of the contemporary authors who have written or spoken about being shy. “Most novelists are at the shy end of the spectrum—sly watchers of life rather than noisy graspers of it,” British novelist Patrick Gale wrote in the Guardian. “Many of us have had to overcome that and develop a performative persona behind which the sly watcher can continue to lurk.”

Perhaps the art of sentence writing, which lets you endlessly rework your words until they fall right, appeals to people who in life (he says) are inarticulate. (I say, interact sparingly, easily exhausted by it.)

Bringing words to life is hard. “When you say something, make sure you have said it,” E.B. White wrote in The Elements of Style. “The chances of your having said it are only fair.” Writing is a long lesson in how difficult it is to order words in a way that makes your meaning clear.

First, writing it down forces you to decide what you really believe, and to distill it. Then, set down thoughts are easily reworked, and endlessly polishable. Melodic flow and linguistic originality are joys that are hard to beat but also hard to achieve. Every word the right word requires patience, and psychological stamina. I would guess this is a path that appeals to those who are drawn to less cut-to-the-chase fun in their recreational reading, who take that stance with their own writing. I can give no solid reason for it, but I feel this is the temperament of an inward-looking individual.

Shyness is a retreat from social life. We write partly because we feel that other kinds of dialogue have failed us, and that we need to speak at one remove if we are to speak at all. 

Shy writers, far from being timid, are actually taking the risk that their writing might speak to someone else in some long-off future. If you would live forever, don’t just spit/tweet out thoughts, write them, and don’t just write them, compose them, render them worthy of being retained, possibly even cherished.

These days we have Twitter and YouTube on which to explain who we are and satisfy our desire to preserve something of ourselves for ever and always. Uninhibited self-expression is the new social disease. So little effort is required, and an appreciation for well developed themes is not encouraged.

I use writing to both distance myself from life, and to connect with it in a way that I find enjoyable. I suspect that one who is more of, as they say, a people person, wants foremost to tell a story, that it’s the introverts who tunnel into language and get their kicks down that rabbit hole. That idea pleases me greatly. But that’s my makes-me-smile hypothesis.

What do you think? Is there anything to this theory, or is Moran cherry-picking anecdotal evidence to support an attractive (to those who are shy / he admits to being one of us) conclusion?

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About Writers

Why Don’t I Just Write, or, What Is That Character Up To Now?

I thought I would have more time to write after I left my day job. I’m not writing that much. I’ve had a few non-fiction pieces appear in local journals. I sent my first novel to a publisher, and I’m waiting to hear. I’m working on three short stories, with one planned for submission to a literary journal at a local college. I will read at two upcoming writers’ group meetings, and I’ve been asked to participate on a writers’ panel in March. But I can’t think of a story line for another novel. I haven’t been writing.

I tell myself I am busy. The farm chores occupy a good part of every day. I volunteer my time at four not-for-profits. I’ve been elected to the board of directors of one of them. Then there’s the garden work and the trout fishing and the horse training in their seasons. There are some inside house painting projects on tap. The days are full. But that’s just an excuse.

When I should be writing I am surfing the web and listening to YouTube videos of Janice Joplin and of the Ronettes. So, why don’t I just sit down and write?

I’ve been purging old work files and I found the interest and skill inventories and psychological assessments I took before being hired to my last job. I don’t remember reading this stuff, until now.

Wow. Now I know why none of the consulting psychologists would meet with me alone. It was a small firm, and the whole company was in the room for my sanitized, in person briefing on the results. The written report describes a not-quite-so-smart and a little bit crazy Sheldon Cooper.

But let’s move to the part about writing. The assessments determined that I had both an interest in and the capacity to be a writer. That was just the start. There’s more.

I want other people to like me, but it doesn’t much matter to me if they don’t. I won’t change my thinking, or what I’m doing, to please others.

I don’t start stuff. I’m satisfied with watching events develop around me, and only then formulating a response. I’m reactive, not assertive.

I’m satisfied with my standing in society. I don’t need to be out front. I’m the funny looking guy at the edge of the crowd. I don’t like to be called out by name on a trout stream or on the street. I have enough friends and a small and appreciative readership, and I don’t have a driving need to add to those groups.

I’m okay with my economic status. More money is not a motivator. I don’t need to be rich. I don’t expect to make any real money as a writer, and that’s okay.

I like to make things. At the end of the week I like to point to something tangible and say, “I made that.” It’s easier to do that with a new horse shed or a line of pasture fence than it is with a story.

The report suggests that I might have been a forester or a farmer. Horses are honest and direct, without the duplicity of the corporate office. Why didn’t I have this report forty years ago? I worked in an office because I could do the work and because I needed an income. I might have been happier at something else, away from people.

Am I a product of nature or nurture? There have been other guys like me in my family, so maybe it’s in the genes. But then there were calamities early in my life, and I have developed defenses. That one’s a toss up.

I’m looking in a mirror with the help of the psychologists’ report. It’s an odd reflection, but not one I need to change. It’s a powerful thing to know myself. It’s a powerful thing to know where I’ve been, and to know what I’ve come to, and to know that it’s okay. Maybe it’s okay that I’m not writing anymore.

I bought a book a few years ago that was supposed to help me write about characters. The book is a thinly disguised review of the sixteen Meyers-Briggs personality types. I dug out the book to see what it had to say about me. The book was generally accurate, I would say.

Then I started reading about some of those other Meyers-Briggs types, and looking at how they might interact with other people, older or younger, of the same or opposite gender, same or different personality types. What is it with those darn “E”s anyway?

Okay, now I have an idea. Let’s get that next story started.

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writing technique

On Writing: authors Stanley Fish & Roger Rosenblatt

Take a deep breath: we’re going fathoms down, down . . .

The craft of fiction requires imagination and discipline in equal measure. It is both art and science; its demands on the practitioner gestaltic and quotidian. Gestaltic in that the production of text comprising a unified whole of divers elements such as plot, theme, dialogue, characterization, symbols, motifs, etc. from oneiric visions, fleeting hypnagogic insights, ephemeral reveries and focused bouts of cogitation requires one distinct set of skills. Quotidian in that the fashioning—sentence after cunningly wrought sentence—of the most apt, evocative and concretizing of words that will resonate with the reader and allow him or her to enter (insofar as possible) the fictional dream of story requires quite another talent.

It is this latter part of the craft—the quotidian art of the sentence—that authors Stanley Fish and Roger Rosenblatt teach so well. Their reverence, awe and delight in the sentence qua sentence gladden and uplift this aging author’s heart. I believe you will be charmed as well as you listen to these wizened masters speak.

Note: You may have some difficulty (depending on your computer’s internet service speeds and feeds) with the following link. I assure you any irritation caused by video stutter is well worth fighting through. Two points: (1) Pause the presentation occasionally to allow your system to catch up, and (2) know that the issue—on my computer, anyway—cleared up about halfway through.

Onward!

CLICK HERE: https://charlierose.com/videos/16610

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