Archive for the Category » Motivational Moments for Writers «

Storytelling…a Cultural Imperative!

What is a cultural imperative?  ‘Peoples living within the encompasses of cultures associated with very different ethnicities often imbue radically different moral imperatives, through identification processes carrying across generations. Such cultural imperatives prevalent within one culture may not have any direct equivalent within another culture…’ * 

Glaring examples of this are the ethnic groups who, putting themselves at risk for censor or abuse, have insisted on keeping their native language, rituals, and religions alive. ‘one culture may not have any direct equivalent within another culture…’  But the one imperative that has crossed all ethnic and cultural groups is storytelling. 

What is this imperative that most people feel….to tell stories?  It seems, to me, to be hardwired into our DNA.

We begin at an early age: making up stories (to ourselves) as we play with our dolls or cars. A child has no inhibitions when it comes to weaving a fantastical tale, frequently out loud, as they play. 
A mother or father sits at their child’s bedside and makes up stories until they fall asleep.
A comic book writer tells his stories with a few words, facial expressions, and action illustrations.
A poet tells their stories through rhyme, lyric or free verse.
A playwright creates their story so that others can tell it.
Another storyteller sees their stories happening in the far future. 
Another goes to the dark side of human nature and writes stories about things that go bump in the night.
A teacher tells a story to enhance the lesson. (I miss you, Miss. O’Connor.)
The novelist weaves a longer tale; taking their characters on adventures, discovering love, suffering defeats, and usually conquering all in the end. 
……even gossip could be considered storytelling.

I have worried out loud (and written about it here) that storytelling will die, be a thing of the past.  But now I believe that many of us do have that cultural imperative to tell and write down our stories. After all the synonyms for imperative are: involuntary, necessary, nonelective, obligatory, peremptory, required. 
 I don’t think storytellers can help themselves. We have to tell stories!

 

 

* IdentityExploration.com/Culture_Imperatives
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory
March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: in60Learning ~ A unique, non-fiction mini-book read in 60 minutes.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

To Purchase

 

 

 

Motivational Moments…for Writers! #35

A good writer knows what repetitive words he or she uses unconsciously.  A few years ago I published a novel. This week I had an opportunity to send it to a traditional publisher of some repute. I thought: ‘I want the manuscript to be as close to perfect as I can make it, so I’ll take another look at it’. Knowing my go-to words are ‘that’ and ‘just‘, the first thing I did was find out how many times I’d used the word ‘that’.  807!!  With editing, I happily reduced that number to 197.

How does that happen??  Well, we all have idiosyncrasies with our language.  Yes, I had an editor and she missed it too.  Then I checked the other devil word, ‘just‘.  234 times when only 5-6 were used appropriately. Yikes! 

Be self-aware as a writer. Know your strengths, yes, but also your weaknesses. Know your eccentricities with language. 

 

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.”~~ Walt Whitman

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.
But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
“~~ T. S. Eliot

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    December: British writer, J.G. Dow. January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Purchase

 

Motivational Moments…for Writers! #42

                             There’s a reason I’ve chosen this image for each of my ‘Motivational….’. Read it! I have been there so many times. A sentence, a paragraph, even a chapter, that is perfect, that I can’t live without. But in truth, it doesn’t work as wonderful as it may be. It’s not germane to the story, IT HAS TO GO!   So with time, this writer has grown to love the delete key.

It’s hard, I know, but ya gotta do it!     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” ~~Robert Frost

“The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.” ~~- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Genius is the talent for seeing things straight. It is seeing things in a straight line without any bend or break or aberration of sight, seeing them as they are, without any warping of vision. Flawless mental sight! That is genius.” ~~– Maude Adams
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

 

Motivational Moments…for Writers! #34

The first thing that makes a buyer reach for your book is the COVER!  Is it professional? Does it convey a visual story? 
The second thing that keeps the book in their hand is the BACK COVER and what it says about your story!
The third thing that keeps them from putting it back on the rack (or swiping their tablet for more choices) is that all important, FIRST SENTENCE!

 For example:

Swamp sludge dripped off the massive head while the cold, murderous, purple eye watched them.’

‘As I stepped into the street I didn’t notice the bus bearing down on me.’

‘I sat in the prison waiting room about to interview a convicted killer.’

‘Slow down, Al,” Vi screamed and laughed from the back seat of the car that was plummeting down the mountain side. “You’re gonna kill us.’

 ‘My first audition since I had arrived in Hollywood and what if I fail?’

‘The teacher grabbed my math work book and marched to the front of the room. He began to read my poetry aloud.’

‘As the saloon doors creaked back and forth, the trail weary cowboys backed away when they saw him saunter in.’

“Mother must be spinning in her grave. Not in her wildest dreams, or mine for that matter, would she imagine her daughter in a prison.” Kitty muttered, as her chauffeur drove up the long driveway to the main entrance of the State Prison.

Since the buyer hasn’t put your book down yet, you have to ‘hook’ them with your first sentence. Make them ask, ‘what happens next’?
                                                    *************

“No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.” ~~Bob Dylan

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” ~~ Charles Dickens

“None but ourselves can free our minds.” ~~Bob Marley
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author was Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. In December we will be saying hello to English mystery writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To purchase  

 

 

 

 

 

New Look! New Tips! Creative Writing for Women Journal

‘From how ideas begin to how they are nurtured and written down, there to be refined until they see the light of day, this journal offers support, insight, and ideas for jump-starting the creative process.’ ~~Midwest Book Review

 Journals/Handbooks for women with more instruction and quotes. For new and experienced writers alike, this Journal offers more instruction,tips and more hand-picked quotes by other authors, actors, playwrights, philosophers, and poets. Meant to inspire the creative mind.  A handy size that will fit in a backpack or tote.  

‘Sugarek gives you “permission” to scribble down ideas and not have to write the great American novel every time you put pen to paper. In the first couple of pages, she gets you going with examples and encouragement and she makes you realize that while writing is work, it’s not impossible work.’ D. Johnson

WHAT TO EXPECT:   
How To Begin
How To Develop Exciting Characters
How To Tell A Story
How To Write a Stage Play
How To Write Poetry
How To Write Haiku Poetry

To purchase: click here 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author was Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. In December we will be saying hello to English mystery writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  
On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  

 To purchase

Motivational Moments…for Writers! #33

Lillian Hellman

 Lillian Hellman said, ‘If you hope to be any good, nothing you write will ever come out as you first hoped.’     It is true and if you are truly lucky it will happen to you.

For example: In the play script version of Women Outside the Walls, the story ends with Joe dying on a cold prison floor.  And later,  this was where I had planned for the  novel to end too. IF I had not been working closely with a woman who had ‘stood by her man’ for 15 years while he was in prison. Shortly after he was paroled, 

Women Outside the Wallsher son received 13 years for manslaughter.  She had been there, done that… times two!  After SK (the woman outside the real prison walls) read the last pages, she looked up and asked: “What happened to Charlie?  To Alma?”

‘Huh?’ I replied. Did someone actually care about these two antagonists? As it turns out, yes they did. Charlie and Alma, in spite of their wrong doings, their narrow beliefs, and their ignorance were endearing and readers really cared. 

I’ve said it before, be open as a writer. 

 


“Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction.

It’s not a grand enough job for you.” ~~ Flannery O’Connor 

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ~~ Pablo Picasso

“Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.” ~~ Holley Gerth
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    In August we said ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author will be Donna Kauffman. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

Available at: www.amazon.com

 

Motivational Moments…for Writers! #32

        Discipline!   As you probably know I interview other writers, many of them best selling authors.  A constant theme among all of them is DISCIPLINE!

To be a writer, you must write. Every day. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes or an hour. Write every day.  Even if it’s crap. That’s what re-writes are about.
It’s what’s underneath that counts, which is usually just a fear of not being able to do it, or do it well, or being criticized, or a zillion other reasons not to write today. Or, simply not wanting to write badly enough–no solid motivation. Writers who procrastinate need to ask themselves why, try to get to the bottom of it. Sometimes people can try to make themselves do things they really, deep down, don’t want to do. Writing a book seems to be something everyone has on his/her bucket list, just “because.” If you really don’t want to do it, then don’t.

If anyone told you writing is easy they were lying. Writing is hard work and not for the faint hearted!

Dean Koontz told me in his Interview: ‘ I don’t suffer from procrastination because I love the English language and the process of storytelling, and I’m always curious to see what will come to me next. If you procrastinate a lot, you might be one who loves having written, but doesn’t so much like writing.’

‘We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.’ ~~ Jim Rohnwriting, blogs, authors, creating,writers

 

‘Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.’– Ray Bradbury

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.’ – Henry David Thoreau
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

Like an Animal, You Have to Lay Down and Wait…

Charles Bukowski, writing, creating, writers  I posted this several years ago and it bears repeating:

I had not worked on my latest novel (#9) for several days and I was getting itchy.  I have learned that it’s okay…not to write. 

I have several good ideas rattling around in the ‘attic’ and I am reading voraciously and posting on my blog.  It’s a recurring theme, from me to my readers,  about not forcing it, not to beat yourself up because it is not coming.

Summers are hot and humid here and not my favorite weather so I spend a lot of time indoors.  I spent this summer with the man in my life…poet, Charles ‘Hank’ Bukowski.  God!  I love his genius!  And the best thing about having an imaginary playmate is that they always agree with you.    He wrote this beautiful metaphor about laying down and waiting for the inspiration and creativity to come to you.

And you know what?  This can apply to how you live your life too.  Don’t push it!  Wait!  Be patient and good things will come.

in the center of the action (c)
by Charles Bukowski

you have to lay down like an animal
until it charges,  you
have to lay down
in the center of the action

lay down and wait until it charges
then you must get up
face it, get it
before it gets you

the whole process is more
shy than
vulnerable so

lay down and wait sometimes it’s
ten minutes sometimes it’s years sometimes it
never arrives but you can’t rush it push itfamous quotes, famous writers, Bukowski, Churchill, famous men
there’s no way to cheat or get a
jump on it you have to

lay down
lay down and wait like
an animal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we said ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author will be Donna Kauffman. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Motivational Moments…for Writers! #31

You’re a Writer. You just received a critique. Constructive criticism. What Do You Do Next?

What you DON’T DO is answer back in the heat of the moment! If you contact the critic at all, you write a ‘thank you’ note and say how much you appreciated their time.  Your job, now, is to be gracious, polite and calm. Even though inside you are seething. How dare they criticize your writing?  Don’t they know you have sweated blood and tears over this manuscript? What do they know anyway? 

I read and review books, for authors, all the time on my Blog. One time I was reviewing the book of a relatively new author. She had a good story.
She had first hand experience with her setting (the high country in Montana) but her characters needed massive fleshing out. Her knowledge of crime scene investigation was lacking and therefore she had made some serious mistakes in the forensics area of her story. Instead of taking my critique in the spirit of what was given, she wrote me a blistering email in response. When what she should have done was go back and looked at her work, to see if any of my comments had any value. She missed an opportunity to make her writing better.

Yes, I have felt the sting of the critique….many times. And you know what? After my hurt feelings calmed down, after my initial anger that my ‘writing was being attacked’ had abated, I saw that the critic had some valid points. That if I went back and applied the critique to my work I ended up with better writing and a better story.  In the end I was grateful to the critic!

“I critique myself way harder than anybody else could critique me.”  ~~ Wiz Khalifa

“I’ve always loved brainstorming with other writers, and I consider having my work critiqued a part of that brainstorming.” ~~ Jay Asher

“My most profound growth as a writer came when I joined an online critique group. What a harrowing, terrifying, wonderful experience that was.” ~~ Rae Carson

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
                                        
Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

Motivational Moments…for Writers #30

Pride Yourself on Your Great Dialogue!

Definition: the conversational element of literary or dramatic composition

I’ve often wondered if authors whom I’ve read, like Edna Ferber, wrote pages and pages of narrative/description because they never mastered the art of dialogue. Hmmm.

I got lucky because I began my writing career  writing stage plays. And they are nothing but dialogue. So early on I learned from, not only writing plays but, reading plays…thousands of them over the years.

To be good at it, I think one of the tricks is to write more and more dialogue and then write some more. You have to be able to get in that character’s head. What do they ‘sound‘ like? Is their grammar messy? The character who hails from the Bronx, for example, is going to cut off words such as: walkin’, talkin’, eatin’, and so forth. There will be more idioms (such as ‘grill’, ‘to front’, ‘rachet’, ‘na’mean, and ‘spaz’)  than a person who was raised in a household where grammar and diction were more valued. You have to be able to switch characters and write ‘flavor’ into their speech. How would an eastern Indian, whose first language is not English, ‘sound‘?  Now write it that way.  How would a southern ‘sound’? Be careful, people from Charleston, S.C. sound totally different from people in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Now, go back over your story and focus on how each character sounds. Is one character’s grammatical habits spilling over into another? Once in awhile I will read over my dialogue and suddenly one of my characters ‘sounds’ like me but they’re not anything like me. I let my own idioms slide right into my character’s mouth.  It’s disconcerting because it’s so easy to do. When you’re out and about listen to other people’s speech patterns, idioms and speech habits.

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L.Doctorow

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” Logan Pearsall Smith

                    ~~‘As a writer, I marinate, speculate and hibernate.’  Trisha Sugarek ~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines. Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
                                        
Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!