Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thinking Like a Writer: Positive Thinking


How mental attitudes might reverse the effects of old age: A conversation with Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer about her latest research on how positive thinking can improve your health.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-12-01/ellen_langer_mindfulness_and_the_power_of_thought

Website: http://www.ellenlanger.com/art/

Monday, April 20, 2015

Writing a Story

Saw this advice and really liked it. This is simple straightforward and doable.
  • Give the character a problem, no matter how small. 
  • When the character tries to solve the problem, make the attempt fail. 
  • Make it fail in such a way that things get worse.
  • Now the character has a bigger problem. 
  • When the character tries to solve that one...
  • ...add another try/fail cycle.
  • To end the story, have your character put everything on the line in one last big try, which either succeeds or fails.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Irony Builds Character

Recently heard, Matt Bird on the Narrative Breakdown talk about how irony is central to character and storytelling. He writes, "When stories seem meaningless, it is usually because they lack irony. When stories are especially powerful, you can be certain the author has packed it full of many different types of irony. "

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

5 Alternative Sites to Visit After Triggerstreet

The great site, Triggerstreet, is being shut down. Triggerstreet has been a great place for sharing creative works (stories, screenplays, films) and getting feedback. It was set up well to make sure you had to put in an effort to provide accurate feedback, and if you wanted feedback on your stuff then you had to help others first. Sadly I learned today that it will be going off-line.

Here are some alternatives to go to:


Thursday, January 15, 2015

7 Tools to Help Keep You Writing

Cory Mandell, who teaches screenwriting at the UCLA extension Writer's program, sent out a newsletter update with a great list of ways to charge up creativity and dive into writing.
  1. Make your goals public. Set a writing schedule and send it to some friends and/or fellow writers. Promise to check in with them on a weekly basis to update them on how you're doing. Being accountable to others can go a long way in helping us stay on track.
  2. Consider employing the Kurosawa Method, especially for those of you with particularly hectic schedules.
  3. Try using the Breaking the Glass Exercise, it's an effective weapon in the fight against resistance and fear.
  4. The Jerry Seinfeld Chain has helped many of my students stay on track.
  5. If Facebook, email or some other internet siren-song is your procrastination drug of choice, you might want to try a program that limits access during scheduled writing times. I know several working writers who use the app Selfcontrol.
  6. If you haven't read The War of Art, I'd highly recommend doing so. 
     
  7. This might be a bit extreme, but I know writers who put some money on the line at stickK in order to have a tangible incentive to get those pages done.

30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days

Writer's Digest has a great post with tons of links for tips to either keep up the writing momentum or jump start your creativity. The article is 30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Writing an Interactive Story

I really liked how Terence Eden broke down and outlined how he built a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' style interactive story on Twitter. You can go in to the whole process in his blog post: Writing A "Choose Your Own Adventure" Story On Twitter.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

21 Fast Hacks to Fuel Your Story With Suspense

The Writer's Digest has a great guest article from Elizabeth Sims called 21 Hacks to Fuel Your Story Suspense. This is a great collection and terrific resource to turn to.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Write the Ideas Down

Neil Gaiman's advice for being a writer, in response to a recent question.
"I have been trying to write for a while now. I have all these amazing ideas, but its really hard getting my thoughts onto paper. Thus, my ideas never really come to fruition. Do you have any advice?"

Neil Gaiman responded (in good humor):

Write the ideas down. If they are going to be stories, try and tell the stories you would like to read. Finish the things you start to write. Do it a lot and you will be a writer. The only way to do it is to do it.

See the full response at Neil Gaiman's blog.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What are the best short stories?

Recently there was a great thread on Quora where participants shared their own short stories, some short and with an unexpected twist, and some short stories from well known authors.

Here is some of what was suggested:
  • All You Zombies -by Robert Heinlein
  • Suit Up - Nikant Vohra
  • The Elephant Vanishes and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - Haruki Murakami
  • Gift of the Magi - O'Henry
  • A Small Good Thing - Raymond Carver
  • The Third and Final Continent - Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Impact of job change - Dinesh Enid
  • Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
  • The Last Leaf - O. Henry
  • The Swimmer - John Cheever
  • Goodbye, My Brother - John Cheever
  • Pet Milk - Stuart Dybek
  • Victory Lap - George Saunders
  • The Word - Vladimir Nabokov
  • Notes to My Biographer and War's End - Adam Haslett
  • The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien
  • The School - Donald Barthelme
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge - Ambrose Bierce
  • The Diamond as Big as the Ritz - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Ice Palace - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Dice, Brassknuckles, & Guitar - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Nick Adams Stories - Hemingway
  • Good Old Neon - David Foster Wallace
  • A Good Man is Hard to Find - Flannery O'Connor
  • The Lottery - Shirley Jackson
  • There Will Come Soft Rains - Ars√®ne Hodali
  • The Fall of the House of Usher  - Edgar Allen Poe
  • The Birthmark  - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Metamorphosis  - Franz Kafka
  • The Egg - Andy Weir (this also had a short video adaptation)