The problem with writing … (via Out of My Mind)

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The problem with writing ... Are you a writer? Are you a reader? Do you divide your time equally between the two? When I started writing with the goal of publication, my reading time declined—particularly my fiction reading. And my non-fiction reading changed to consist almost exclusively of how-to write books. During my years of devouring novels, I often thought how wonderful it would be to write my own. It never occurred to me that the authors of those books might not have … Read More

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Free Book on Nuclear Energy (via smallpressreviews)

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Cover Up - Free from The Permanent Press Karl Grossman's Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power was a big seller for The Permanent Press when it was originally released in 1980 and also when a second edition came out in 1982. With recent uncertainty surrounding the safety not only of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station but of nuclear power in general, Grossman's book is as important as ever, and The Permanent Press is issuing a th … Read More

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The Last Estate (via Small Press Reviews)

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The Last Estate In The Last Estate, Conor Bowman presents a coming of age tale that, like many other examples from the genre, hinges on forbidden love and the tension between fathers and sons. What separates this tale from others like it, however, is the setting: Provence in the wake of World War I. Though he lives in Ireland, Bowman has, according to his  bio, spent "countless summers" in France — and those summers have had a profound effect upon his imaginati … Read More

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A Case of Right Characters, Wrong Story

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MM Wittle

Last night, I got my short story back from my workshop class. What I set out to do (tell a story about the powerlessness a person feels living with an addict) I didn’t do…at all.

 

There are many reasons for this. The first being, when I don’t want to write about something, I tend to dance around it. I figure the reader will be so mesmerized by my hypnotic booty popping, the reader will miss the fact I’m avoiding something.

When will I learn this never works? Readers can smell when a writer is being fake. Yet, I still try to pull the old wool over a reader’s eye. The workshop knew I was lying and called me on it.

 

The second reason my story doesn’t work is because I’m using the wrong characters to tell the story.

 

I have to really sit down and have a heart to heart with my character Ethan. I wrote a novel for him, but he wasn’t real pleased with it. I rewrote the first chapter trying to make him happier. But nope, that didn’t work. While I am moving closer to the direction I think he wants the story to go in, I am still off the mark.

 

The last reason this revision doesn’t work is because I am forcing a story into a genre it doesn’t belong in. I have this great idea, which I thought could be a short story cycle. It may have worked as a novel. But I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of using either genre. Something still was off.

 

Then came the suggestion to make the collection twelve pieces of flash fiction. To be honest, this intrigued me for two reasons. One, I think the impressions I want the reader to feel will come across better in flash because of the restraints of the genre. Second, I never worked in flash fiction before and I love a challenge.

 

A writer knows when something isn’t working. If during the writing process things don’t feel right, it means they aren’t right. There are so many options a writer has to tell a story, a writer should not limit him or her self.

 

Revision is the place you can really look at the words on the page. Forget about the vision you have for the piece. Forget what you told yourself you wanted to accomplish with the piece. Look at the words on the page as if those words no longer belong to you. What does the story on the page say? If it isn’t what you wanted, you have to start looking at why the piece failed. Do you force the piece into a genre it isn’t suited for? Are these characters telling the right story? If you answered “yes” to either question, you have some serious revisions to make.

 

Jonathan Franzen’s 10 Rules of Writing (via 101 Books)

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Jonathan Franzen's 10 Rules of Writing Last week, I posted about George Orwell's rules for writing, so while I'm finishing book #12: The Corrections I thought this would be a great opportunity to check out what Jonathan Franzen has to say on the subject. This list came from The Guardian: The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator. Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money. Never use t … Read More

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