Tag Archives: authorship

All This Gushy Valentine Stuff Got You Thinking About Writing a Romance Novel?

Romance Elements

5 Elements Sigh-Worthy Romance Novel Must Have by novelist Jody Hedlund

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What’s in a Genre: The Form and Formula of Cinderella Inc. By

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Top 20 words used in Harlequin Romance Titles

Friday Weird Science: The evolutionary psychology of the romance novel by Scicurious

And then…

chicklitBy Freida McFadden

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Kate Messner Lesson on Building Fantasy Worlds

Why is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy so compelling? How about The Matrix or Harry Potter? What makes these disparate worlds come alive are clear, consistent rules for how people, societies — and even the laws of physics — function in these fictional universes. Author Kate Messner offers a few tricks for you, too, to create a world worth exploring in your own words.”

Full Lesson: How to Build a Fictional World by Kate Messner
Via Open Culture: How to Build a Fictional World

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1937 Virginia Woolf Audio Meditation on Craftsmanship

The only surviving recording of Virginia Woolf’s voice, chalk full of wisdom on the art of craftsmanship in the art of writing.

A few excerpts:

Words, English words, are full of echoes, of memories, of associations — naturally. They have been out and about, on people’s lips, in their houses, in the streets, in the fields, for so many centuries. And that is one of the chief difficulties in writing them today — that they are so stored with meanings, with memories, that they have contracted so many famous marriages.”

“You cannot use a brand new word in an old language…Our business is to see what we can do with the English language as it is. How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth? That is the question.”

“A few trifling rules of grammar and spelling are all the constraint we can put on them…they hate anything that stamps them with one meaning or confines them to one attitude, for it is their nature to change.”

Don’t confine yourself to these few teasers. Listen to the recording and read missing first part and the entire transcript at Brainpickings.

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E.B. White Compares Writing to Sneezing

E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web is the first ‘chapter book’ that I remember truly loving. It was the book that made me think of myself as a reader; that made me want to find another book and keep reading – right away.

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I inscribed it myself…

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I still have the copy I was given in 1968

I would read it to my granddaughters but am happy that our Grade 3 teacher does it as a novel study every year. (This year she is tying it in with a spider study for which I made a research page as well as providing books from our library and through inter-library loan.)

E.B. White took his responsibility as a writer seriously.

E.B. White

E.B. White

“Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth. They accept, almost without question, anything you present them with, as long as it is presented honestly, fearlessly, and clearly. I handed them, against the advice of experts, a mouse-boy, and they accepted it without a quiver. In Charlotte’s Web, I gave them a literate spider, and they took that.”
E. B. White, The Art of the Essay No. 1, Paris Review interview by George Plimpton and Frank H. Crowther.

Maybe Not the Reason, But at Least the Inspiration For this Particular Sneeze

One of the 15 most read letters in 2013 posted on the Letters of Note and now published in Letters of Note: Coorespondance Deserving of a Wider Audience, complied by Shaun Usher is one written by E.B. White in September of 1952,  a few weeks before it’s publication, to his editor responding to a request to explain why he wrote Charlotte’s Web.

Article and transcript: A Book is a Sneeze.

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Ideas Aren’t the Hard Bit, But Require Boredom

In a recent essay on his website, Neil Gaiman rails about the too-frequent question his fans ask: Where do your ideas come from?

Neil Gaiman

Firstly, Neil explains, people don’t like his explanation that he makes them up, “Out of my head”. But more importantly, ideas are not the “hard bit”.

“They’re a small component of the whole. Creating believable people who do more or less what you tell them to is much harder. And hardest by far is the process of simply sitting down and putting one word after another to construct whatever it is you’re trying to build: making it interesting, making it new.”

Then Gaiman was faced with the question posed during a talk with his 7-year-old daughter’s class. This time he decided to answer it as fully as possible.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it…You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if…?”

“You get ideas from being bored…The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

We provide lots of opportunities for budding writers to learn and to write. I wonder, though: is there opportunity  for boredom in this connected culture?

Gaiman goes on to list and illustrate the many questions that spark ideas in the full essay: Where do you get your ideas?

See Gaiman’s booklist on Goodreads.

Via Open Culture

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How a Book is Born

From Weldon Owen via The Centered Librarian

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