Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Posted: December 12, 2012 by gustafhesse in On Writing
Tags: ,

Another useful post with tips and hints on how to keep your writing short, sharp and pithy.

 

 

 

The Daily Post

About Page 201

Your About page is the perfect opportunity to introduce what you’re doing with your blog — and why it matters — to your audience. In About Page 101: Making Them Care, we looked at getting the basics right in terms of knowing what you’re trying to do, telling a compelling story, keeping things brief, and writing in a style that doesn’t come off as more stilted than your Uncle Joe’s wedding party dance moves. Now we’re going to take all of the hard work you did there, all of the blood, sweat, and tears you poured into making your About page rock, and put them through the meat grinder. Because good enough isn’t good enough for us. Ready? Ready.

View original post 1,017 more words

Advertisements

Here comes the bride: fan art of Edward and Bella
Picture source: twitarded

Lately, Fan Fiction is in the spotlight because EL James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, admitted that she learned her writing chops writing Twilight fan fiction before she converted the names Bella and Edward to Anastasia and Christian Grey. What happened next is a publishing phenomenon which has taken trade publishers and Twilight fans by surprise. Judging from the number of fan fiction authors who have been published recently, for example, Tara Sue Me who is the latest example, publishers appear to believe they have found in fan fiction a new route to increasing their profit margins and are now no doubt scouring the slush piles in sites such as fanfiction.net for the next big thing.

But we should not forget that fan fiction is a craze that’s almost as old as writing itself. Just think The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, for instance.

One does wonder how those readers who still read books regard fan fiction. Are they sneery about these sites?

However, it is undoubted that  fan fiction – particularly its erotic-heavy along with its slash fiction strands – is a self-publishing phenomenon where amateur and aspiring authors write stories about the characters they are obsessed with. Just looking at the numbers of Twilight fan fics that are and have been published and the plethora of slash fan fiction that are written, for example, in homage of Spock/Captain Picard, it’s a phenomenon. If trade publishing is the tip of the iceberg, then fan fiction must be the vast unexplored world of a self-publishing phenomenon.

Desert Heat – Spock and Kirk by Gayle Feyrer Picture source: guardian.co.uk

It is a dark genre where Eric Northman and Sookie is depicted in bdsm Southern Vampire Fiction fics  and where Spock and Draco are ‘shipped’ in Alternate Universe slash fics.

Despite the successes of EL James and others who are following in her footsteps, a misconception remains that fan fiction is just silly girls’ fantasies scrawled on the underbelly of the internet. I suspect Fifty Shades of Grey has done little to rescue the reputation of the genre.

But here’s the counter-argument: most fan fiction is a rejection of the normative version of sexuality. Fan fiction offers a more honest way, if sometimes radical and wayward platforms to engage with and negotiate relationships, sex and gendered power relations.

Perhaps, another way of viewing fan fiction is that it offers a test bed to cut one’s teeth in writing. It offers anonymity and help aspiring writers to become better writers, and allowing them to explore sexuality in a ways which depart from the norms dictated by the Hollywood industrial complex, light entertainment industry and dominant forms of popular culture.

What do you think of fan fiction? Let me hear your thoughts!

Picture source for Twilight fan art : twitarded 

Picture source for Spock/Picard fan art: guardian.co.uk

 

oOOo

Snapshots of Marriage by wmr1601

Review by mephis1

Snapshots of Marriage was placed first by Public Choice. Using the Anne Sexton’s quote ‘These are the snapshots of marriage, stopped in places’, wmr1601 weaves an Edward and Bella tale of love, romance, courtship and marriage.

Similarly to the canon tale, Snapshots of Marriage starts with Bella leaving sunny Arizona to move to small town Forks, located in rural Washington. Needless to say, Bella is not looking forward to the move. All she can envisage is cold, wet weather filled with endless grey, drizzly days.

Despite her initial fears, Bella settles down in Forks. It helps, of course, that she catches the eyes of a certain green-eyed bronze haired boy in her class. The attraction between them is mutual and instant:

 

When a bronze-haired boy catches my eye, I’m stunned. I’ve never been boy-crazy, but I can tell just by looking at this boy that there’s something about him; it goes deeper than his obvious good looks, too. He holds my gaze like no one ever has before. I feel like I’m trapped, and I can’t look away. Honestly, I don’t want to. His eyes are green and intense, and his face, though not more than a year older than mine, is already showing signs of maturity: a rugged jaw line and even a smattering of facial hair. I swallow noisily. It feels noisy, anyway; I hope no one has actually heard my gulp.

 

The boy is, needless to say, Edward Cullen. What follows are teenage years, which will no doubt trigger our own memories of those times, of friendship and budding feelings of the romantic sort, feelings which they initially keep quiet about until Edward is on the cusp of leaving for Dartmouth upon which Bella blurts out, “I love you.”

What follows this confessional is the start of the next phase, that of Edward and Bella romance. Snapshots of Marriage is a tender series of vignettes which charts the youthful first love between a boy and a girl. It is the story of Edward and Bella discovering the meaning of friendship and affection only to discover that it blossoms into youthful love. We can all remember those days of our first love, our first kiss, our first date, right? Well, Snapshots captures those moments beautifully and with such tenderness.

Snapshots of Marriage is a heart-warming portrait of two people in love. It provides us a glimpse of Edward and Bella’s lives as they embark on their lives together. We watch how their youthful love blossoms into adult romance and courtship. It provides snapshots of their struggles through college, their navigation through adult lives, their subsequent marriage and the birth of their child along with their twilight years together. It is a moving story of two soul mates meeting and falling in love and what it means to love truly, madly and deeply.  

Banner by Ro Nordman

To read the other entries in the contest, please click on this link: Quote Me Contest

Typewriter

1 The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.

2 Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.

3 Never use the word “then” as a ­conjunction – we have “and” for this purpose. Substituting “then” is the lazy or tone-deaf writer’s non-solution to the problem of too many “ands” on the page.

4 Write in the third person unless a ­really distinctive first-person voice ­offers itself irresistibly.

5 When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.

6 The most purely autobiographical ­fiction requires pure invention. Nobody ever wrote a more auto­biographical story than “The Meta­morphosis”.

7 You see more sitting still than chasing after.

8 It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.

9 Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.

10 You have to love before you can be relentless.

Medieval writing desk

1 Write.

2 Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3 Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4 Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5 Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6 Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7 Laugh at your own jokes.

8 The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Charles Bukowski

If I Taught Creative Writing

by Charles Bukowski

oOOo

now, if you were teaching creative

writing, he asked, what would you

tell them?

I’d tell them to have an unhappy love

affair, hemorrhoids, bad teeth

and to drink cheap wine,

to keep switching the head of their

bed from wall to wall

and then I’d tell them to have

another unhappy love affair

and never to use a silk typewriter

ribbon,

avoid family picnics

or being photographed in a rose

garden;

read Hemingway only once,

skip Faulkner

ignore Gogol

stare at photos of Gertrude Stein

and read Sherwood Anderson in bed

while eating Ritz crackers,

realize that people who keep

talking about sexual liberation

are more frightened than you are.

listen to E. Power Biggs work the

organ on your radio while you’re

rolling Bull Durham in the dark

in a strange town

with one day left on the rent

after having given up

friends, relatives and jobs.

never consider yourself superior and /

or fair

and never try to be.

have another unhappy love affair.

watch a fly on a summer curtain.

never try to succeed.

don’t shoot pool.

be righteously angry when you

find your car has a flat tire.

take vitamins but don’t lift weights or jog.

then after all this

reverse the procedure.

have a good love affair.

and the thing

you might learn

is that nobody knows anything–

not the State, nor the mice

the garden hose or the North Star.

and if you ever catch me

teaching a creative writing class

and you read this back to me

I’ll give you a straight A

right up the pickle

barrel.

Elmore Leonard

 

oOOo

Avid readers will probably have heard of Elmore Leonard. Get Shorty and Out of Sight are but a few examples of his writing. His writing is remarkable. The sentences are constructed with such flourish, plotting is tight, characterisations are well-drawn and the way he writes dialogue is a masterclass in how it propells the action. Here are his rules on writing:

1  Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a charac­ter’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead look­ing for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2 Avoid prologues: they can be ­annoying, especially a prologue ­following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks.”

3 Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled”, “gasped”, “cautioned”, “lied”. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.

4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”.

5 Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

6 Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

7 Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.

8 Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, what do the “Ameri­can and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story.

9 Don’t go into great detail describing places and things, unless you’re ­Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Crown of Love banner made by Tkegl

oOOo

I received a wonderful surprise late Sunday night. It was a message from Tkegl, a highly talented writer. She mentioned that she had made a banner for Crown of Love. I was delighted to receive such a lovely message from her. Even more, I was touched and moved that she had spent time in making such a wonderful gift. This merely served to remind me that there are truly some wonderful, generous souls in the fandom.  

Thank you Tkegl. You made my day.

0OOo

Crown of Love banner made by Ange de’laube

oOOo

Crown of Love was picked for 2nd Place Judge’s Choice in The Jukebox Contest. The wonderful Ange de’laube made this banner and I’m grateful for it and to her; she is a tremedously busy woman and I find myself wondering how she juggles everything.

Gothic Temptress , a highly talented writer whose writings I’ve followed avidly, wrote an eloquent review for Crown of Love in the Wayward Pushers Blog. It has left me humbled. Here is her review:

2nd Place Judge’s Choice:  Crown of Love by mephis1

Summary:  What happens when she returns to remind several friends, who are scattered to the four winds, that it’s time to go home? “They say it fades, if you let it”.

The poetic beauty and the dark tone of this story captivated me from the very start. As each scene unfolded, I became more ensnared in Bella’s lurid motivations and cringed as she achieved her revenge.

By the end of this beautifully written story, I found myself rooting for her. I especially loved the final scene between the two separated lovers, the couple reunited beneath a romance consisting of the darkest complexity.

mephis1 was able to craft a story that was frightening and captivating. Even in death, Edward’s features are peaceful. I felt the same, when I finished reading this story. I felt as though he was finally able to wear his crown of love, and so might she. The author made me believe that it was exactly as it should be, and that we should feel peaceful too. It was superbly done!

~GothicTemptress

Heartbreak Hotel banner made by FerlaV

oOOo

The gorgeous, talented FerlaV made this banner for Heartbreak Hotel. I still don’t know how she manages to juggle several projects at the same time while taking time out to make banners. But all I want to say is that I admire her – she is one talented and amazing woman.