Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Details, Details Details

 . . . Noticing the details takes conscious effort.  We see only abbreviations of life because it takes times and effort to shed the blinders that prevent us from seeing it full blown. We see people as blond, brunette, tall, short, thin, fat. We don't see how they fit in their clothes, the peculiarities of their movements, the expressions or lack of expressions on their faces, the way a hand gestures, the way an eye moves in its socket, how hair is made to obey or how it is a condition of constant rebellion. We don't see the touch of grime on a coat sleeve, the long scratch on the back of a hand, the worn heel, the empty smile, the combative stiffening of a neck. You need to see your characters with unsparing clarity if you expect your reader to see them at all. -- The Art & Craft of the Short Story by   Rick Demarinis, p. 79.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Who are you?

People said:  "Oh, be yourself at all costs." But I found that it was not so easy to know just what one's self was. It was far easier to want what other people seemed to want and then imagine that the choice was one's own. -- Joanna Field
If you were a member of Jesse James' band and people asked you what you were, you wouldn't say, "Well, I'm a desperado." You'd say something like "I work in banks" or "I've done some railroad work." It took me a long time just to say, "I'm a writer."  -- Ray Blount, Jr.
To theorize about how I became a writer, and how writing shapes my life now, requires levels of abstraction and reasoning that are beyond my abilities. But by making brief notes, capturing shards of memory or thought, writing specific scenes, I began to discover what they mean and how they might cohere. -- Floyd Skloot 
How we see ourselves is a nebulous thing.  Others see us; we do not. Mirrors reveal only our appearance, not who we are. I would guess that most of us feel our identity rather than show it. Who is that person in the mirror? 

Writing helps with the process of knowing ourselves. Sometimes we're surprised at the words we put on the page.  In the act of creating we discover our power inside.  And when that happens, we say, yes, I am a writer.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Writers Must Persist in Remembering the Sweet and the Sour

Writers remember everything…especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar. Art consists of the persistence of memory.”
— Stephen King, Misery

Friday, September 5, 2014

Your Past is Never Over

"I don’t believe in 'laying to rest' the past. There are wounds we won’t get over. There are things that happen to us that, no matter how hard we try to forget, no matter with what fortitude we face them, what mix of religion and therapy we swallow, what finished and durable forms of art we turn them into, are going to go on happening inside of us for as long as our brains are alive." --Christian Wiman, "The Limit"

 Yes! In fact I mine my past and go where it hurts. That's where the good stuff is; where I can go deep, where I feel it all the way down in my belly.  Then I know I'm writing.  I've got something worth messing with, putting the real words on paper.  -- Catherine

Progress On My Second Novel

The main problem in my second novel is drawing out the female protagonist. She is 21, admitted to a psych ward of a hospital after a suicide...