Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Ira Glass’ Advice on Achieving Creative Excellence presented in two videos.

Via Open Culture


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“Lucha Libro” explained

Peru makes book writing into a spectator sport and invites aspiring writers into combat.

From a story at PRI:

It’s a twist on Lucha Libre, Mexico’s version of pro wrestling, where competitors put on masks and pseudonyms to duke it out in a ring.

Peru’s Lucha Libro is kind of like that, without the violence. It’s literary “wrestling.” New writers don masks, and head onto a stage where they’re given three random words, a laptop hooked up to a gigantic screen, and five minutes to write a short story.

At the end of a match, the losing writer has to take off his or her mask. The winner goes on to the next round, a week later. And the grand prize? It’s a book contract…

The first contestant is a guy who goes by the name “Chicken Wilson.” He’s tall and goofy, but when he sees the three words projected on the screen behind him, he gets serious. He’s got monkey, plane ticket, and dictionary to work with.

The announcer counts to three, and the clock starts. No one’s talking, but just a paragraph in, Chicken Wilson freezes. The seconds are ticking by, so the crowd starts cheering him on. He rallies, dashing off a short story about monkeys living in the city, and an American girl on vacation in Peru…

“It’s also about changing the idea that literature is boring. This turns it into an event. Because it’s not just about the opportunity for a young person to become a writer,” he says. “It’s also about having a place for young people to hang out – and to read.”



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Writing Tips for Aspiring Writers – Elmore Leonard

“If it sounds like writing,” says Elmore Leonard, “I rewrite it.”

“You have to listen to your characters.”
“Don’t worry about what your mother thinks of your language.”
“Try to get a rhythm.”

Here are the rules:

Never open a book with the weather.
Avoid prologues.
Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”
Keep your exclamation points under control!
Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
Same for places and things.
Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.

“It takes four pages of writing to get one that I like.” said Elmore

Elmore wrote from 10 am to 6 pm every day.

via Open Culture


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Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman Commencement Address 2012

Make mistakes.
Make good art.
Do what only you can do best.
Make up your own rules.


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Neil Gaiman on the future of publishing: be dandelions!

The audience for Neil Gaiman’s talk on the future of publishing at the London Book Fair apparently greeted his talk with stony hostility

Going against a column yesterday in which Booksellers Association chief executive Tim Godfray argued that Amazon was the “foe”, and has “the ability to destroy the book trade as we know it”, Gaiman believes that “Amazon, Google and all of those things probably aren’t the enemy. The enemy right now is simply refusing to understand that the world is changing”.

The novelist went on to urge the assembled publishers to be more like dandelions – an analogy he stole, he said, from Cory Doctorow.

“Mammals spend an awful lot of energy on infants, on children, they spend nine months of our lives gestating, and then they get two decades of attention from us, because we’re putting all of our attention into this one thing we want to grow. Dandelions on the other hand will have thousands of seeds and they let them go where they like, they don’t really care. They will let go of 1,000 seeds, and 100 of them will sprout,” Gaiman told the Guardian.

“And I was really using that analogy for today, saying the whole point of a digital frontier right now is that it’s a frontier, all the old rules are falling apart. Anyone who tells you they know what’s coming, what things will be like in 10 years’ time, is simply lying to you. None of the experts know – nobody knows, which is great.

“When the rules are gone you can make up your own rules. You can fail, you can fail more interestingly, you can try things, and you can succeed in ways nobody would have thought of, because you’re pushing through a door marked no entrance, you’re walking in through it. You can do all of that stuff but you just have to become a dandelion, be wiling for things to fail, throw things out there, try things, and see what sticks. That was the thrust of my speech,” said the author.

Via Boing Boing


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Being an author…

“Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.”

 — Graycie Harmon


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Dean Koontz on writing…

I think it’s the people who have no doubt that every word they put down is gold that probably don’t write very well. If something in your writing gives support to people in their lives, that’s more than just entertainment—which is what we writers all struggle to do, to touch people.

— Dean Koontz


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Mary Higgins Clark says…

The first four months of writing the book, my mental image is scratching with my hands through granite. My other image is pushing a train up the mountain, and it’s icy, and I’m in bare feet.

— Mary Higgins Clark


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How To Write Like Walter Mosley

The author writes 1000 words a day.

The next day he edits the prior day’s 1000 words and writes 1000 more.

A dedicated schedule, he says, is what gets stories written.


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Terry Brooks on writing…

I still approach each book with the same basic plan in mind—to put some people under severe stress and see how they hold up.

— Terry Brooks


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