~ Notebook #11 ~
When you’re looking to reincorporate lean muscle to your prose and you turn to the maestros of the minimalist, clean, no frills, straight-to-the-point (and straight-to-the-heart) narrative technique. I have a tendency in daily speech and writing to use a lot of complex sentences (and parenthetical asides) and when I’m not mindful of it, I tend to let that creep into my prose, especially when I’ve not been writing fiction narratives for a good while (an obvious drawback to mostly writing in a nonfiction capacity daily for so many years now).
I’ve been reading both Elmore Leonard and Bob Thurber since the late 90s (starting with Thurber at an online workshop just prior to his entering award-winning publishing success). Both of these authors cite Ernest Hemingway as a major influence on them. Only makes sense that I finally dig deeper into the guy at the top of this literary family tree I’ve adopted, so I hit up my local public library for Mr. Hemingway’s collection, and since I don’t (for some odd reason) own Mr. Leonard’s collection, I grabbed that too.
On my bookshelf I already have a few novels of Mr. Leonard, and naturally I have a personally signed copy of Mr. Thurber’s dysfunctional novel, Paperboy. On my hard drive I have a couple of Mr. Thurber’s collections of short stories, most of which are micro and flash fictions — hence the reason I dubbed him the Maestro of Microfiction over a decade ago, also because he writes with absolutely no fat in his narrative prose — it’s lean with only the most essential nutritional literary ingredients.
If I’m going to attempt to finally re-engage myself in pantser writing, and writing actual first drafts again with little regard to upfront editing (I’m an obsessive on-the-go editor), then I will need to help curb that OCD tendency by writing as plainly and as succinct as possible. Taking a refresher course with these three professors will help immensely.
Who are some of the writers you turn to when you’re needing to recharge your batteries?
~ Words by Nicole Bianchi ~
Once upon a time, the typewriter was the only piece of technology a writer had to make his work easier. Now we not only have computers, but we can also access an endless array of useful writing tools on the Internet. Best of all, many of these web applications are absolutely free!
But it takes time to hunt down these apps (time you could be spending on writing), so I’ve done the work for you and put together a list of my favorites. I hope these web applications will help you with your next writing project!
Read on to discover 15 of the best free web applications for writers: “15 of the Best Free Web Applications for Writers” @NicoleJBianchi https://writingcooperative.com/15-of-the-best-free-web-applications-for-writers-fadea650fda1
~ Words & Humor By Sarah Cooper ~
My tried-and-true process for getting stuff done
Ever wonder how I get so much done? Me too. That’s why I decided to document my productivity methods so everyone can learn from them. Here’s my step-by-step process for being incredibly productive.
* * *
First, I realize it’s 4pm and I haven’t gotten anything done yet. This makes me panic a bit. However, instead of accepting the panic, or pushing through it, I pile it on by realizing it’s already April and I’ve gotten nothing done this year. Then I torture myself with thinking about how I’m almost 40, and I have maybe only 30 good years of my life left. Then I think about how something horrible could happen to me at any moment — a disease, a frozen yogurt accident, anything — and how mad I’d be at myself for wasting so much time doing absolutely nothing.
READ MORE: “How to Avoid Distractions and Finish What You” @sarahcpr https://blog.sarahcpr.com/how-to-avoid-distractions-and-finish-what-you-start-in-the-age-of-the-f6024684c2b
~ Words by Nicole Bianchi ~
Leonardo da Vinci. Marie Curie. Thomas Edison. Beatrix Potter.
What did all four of these people have in common?
Not only were they all highly motivated and creative individuals, but they also all kept some form of an idea journal.
An idea journal is not a diary where you have to record all of the details of your day. Rather, it’s a place where you jot down daily goals, achievements, observations, ideas for projects, quotes, or other bits of inspiration.
If you’re working on a project, you can fill your idea journal with updates on your progress, thoughts on how to improve the project, and anything else that motivates you.
A writer’s idea journal might be filled with ideas for stories or articles or blog posts. An artist’s might contain sketches or inspirations for drawings. Ultimately, the idea journal exists as a private place to plant your ideas and watch them grow.
Here are four reasons why I keep an idea journal — READ MORE: “Why I Keep an Idea Journal” @NicoleJBianchi https://writingcooperative.com/why-i-keep-an-idea-journal-5c5bdd59b44
I gotta say that Shaunta Grimes really hits it home in this one (with humor too). I can certainly identify with part of what she’s discussing here.
A few words by Shaunta Grimes: “I didn’t make a conscious decision not to publish. It just happened. And then it kept happening for more than two years. As evidenced by the zero fiction that I published.
I was still writing. I’ve written three novels and a dozen short stories in that time. They’re nice and cozy on my hard drive, wrapped in a thick layer of my fear of publishing them.
A fiction writer’s brain is a crafty trickster. It’ll convince itself that writing a whole shit ton of blog posts and MFA packets is the same thing as writing. It’ll rationalize that finishing novels is the end game and totally blow off publishing like it’s no big thing.”
And . . .
“Your writer brain will do everything it can to protect you from the hard, hard work of creating a story and then putting your baby on a street corner and hoping everyone thinks she’s pretty.
Of course your brain is trying to protect you (and itself) from that. That, friends, is crazy town.
And then one day you look up and realize that you have three novels on your hard drive, and you haven’t even sent them to your critique partner. Because one day in 2014 you walked into Barnes and Nobel and realized that they didn’t pick up your second book.”
READ: “This is how to override your writer brain. Publish anyway.” @shauntagrimes https://medium.com/@shauntagrimes/this-is-how-to-override-your-writer-brain-publish-anyway-1e3548cbb4ba
by Samia Rahman
So, how can you write about issues or experiences that you find to be culturally alien, yet do it well? Perhaps the first step is to acknowledge that embarking upon such a task comes with responsibility, and you might want to think carefully about your motivation. Is this a subject that you can do justice to, providing voices for stories that may not otherwise be heard? Objectivity and authenticity are notoriously difficult to achieve. Be honest with yourself and constructively consider your strengths and limitations. Ultimately, if you have the self-belief then go for it!
READ: “How to Write the ‘Other’ (Without Being a Jerk)” @ProWritingAid https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-write-the-other-without-being-a-jerk-18a04902bf4
Intro: Authors often discuss how reading improves your writing. However, there’s a big difference between passive and active reading, and if you’re serious about using published novels to improve your writing you must learn how to do the latter.
When you read passively, you consume a novel as entertainment — you’re trawling through without paying attention to detail. This lets you form a broad judgement (“this is great!”).
By contrast, active reading involves specific focus on an author’s craft. It is to passive reading what fly-fishing is to trawling. Active reading encourages your judgement to be precise (“this is great because the chapter endings created lots of suspense!”).
Read: “How to use Active Reading to Become a Better Writer” by Jed Herne @ProWritingAid https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-use-active-reading-to-become-a-better-writer-b60356bdd212