The Spammer as a Work of Fiction

Posted on May 16, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Writer-Tools, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , |

At some point, someone will start writing stories about spammers and trolls and other internet monsters and hobgoblins.

With a bit of ingenuity, they can be interesting characters. After all, as a writer you can paint them in any way you want. Fiction presents a canvas in which you can use broad strokes to produce the picture that you desire.

Imagine a spammers’ club. What picture of words would you paint?

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When Your Inner Dog Won’t Bark Back

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , , |

Hemingway is reputed to have said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”


Now, typewriters are passe, and we have desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets (electronic), and cellular telephones with micro-blogging tools such as Twitter. Shouldn’t writing be easy?



But sometimes when you talk to your Inner Dog your Inner Dog won’t bark back. Looking at you in silence, not even a whimper emerges. What to do?



Maybe this is the moment to take a break.

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Emitting Words

Posted on May 12, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , |

Some days, all you can do is emit words. Your daily writing task looms. It is an exercise, like athletes lifting weights or stretching. And, you know you must do your exercise.

But no words and no brilliant ideas seem to emerge. On these days, you must emit words. And, you can emit anything. It can be gobbledygook, randomness. If you are lucky, you can string it together into sentences. And, you might even string those together into paragraphs. Asking anything more than that can be too much. The job, on these days, is to emit words.

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Working with the Absent Self

Posted on May 3, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Writer-Tools, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , , , |

On the Writer Block blog, a wonderful piece was written about working with the absent antagonist.

Consider writing a piece, or several pieces, in which you work with the absent self. In this piece, you write about what people do, and say, when you are not present. What do they say about you? Or, do they think about you at all? Perhaps you are the center of your universe, but you are not the center of theirs.

What happens to the players in the drama of your life when you remove yourself from the equation? Are you as missed as you think you might be?

On the other hand, whose people do you touch that you tend not to notice. What about the person at the post office or people at the shops you frequent? If you were to move 1000 miles away, would your life or theirs be affected in some subtle way.

What happens when you write about your life, working with the absent self?

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Talking to Your Inner Dog

Posted on May 3, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

More than a few writers who are pet owners can tell you that they find inspiration in “conversations” that they have with their dogs (or cats or….)

But, what if you do not have a pet? Maybe you should consider having a conversation with your inner dog.

Preposterous ideas sometimes are the best ones for finding the creativity you need to engender a new work. What would your inner dog be like? Is it a poodle or a doberman? Is that really the kind of inner dog that you want?

And, once it is here, what would you say to it? If it could talk back, what would it say to you?

(Caveat: We have no affiliation of any kind with “Inner Dog TV” on Youtube.)

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Emotion Driven Writing

Posted on April 30, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , , , |

Extreme emotional states do not seem like good times for writing, but they can be the very best if you can focus yourself long enough to do it. Even the smallest snippets, maybe only a sentence or a phrase, can be a powerful seed for later development.

Whether you use a notepad or a word processor, learning to capture words in these moments can not only be healing but also be a source of inspiration for what may be some of your best work!

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Building Characters by Building a Secret Identity

Posted on April 29, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , |

Having trouble building characters for your fiction? Consider building a secret identity.

Consider what would happen if you needed to build a secret identity. How would you build your own witness protection program? Where would you move? Make a list of candidates of places to live, and research them. Make certain to pick at least a few places you have never lived, and consider somewhere like Lincoln, Nebraska instead of New York City.

Then consider what kind of person you would become if you moved there. If you have the time and money to do it, after you have written your preliminary character sketch, visit one of the places where you have never been. Take a camera and a notepad. Take pictures and make notes. Is it really the way you envisioned?

Who would you be in this new place? Once you can answer this, you may find you have new insights on how to build characters.

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Vocabulary Building

Posted on April 20, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , , , |

A daily writing exercise can be a way to work on vocabulary building. Merriam-Webster online has a “Word of the Day” link. Here is another similar link. And here is one more.

For April 15th, from each of those sites come three words: “heinous,” “quell,” and “fashion.” One trick is to use all three in a sentence together:

Quell the heinous fashion: be true to yourself.

Or, alternatively:

Quell the fashion of the heinous: refuse to lower your standards.

I will leave the exercise to my readers to find a way to craft these words into poetry.

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The Power of Habit

Posted on March 13, 2012. Filed under: Blogging, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

“The Power of Habit” is on the New York Times Bestseller List, and described there as “A Times reporter’s account of the science behind how we form, and break, habits.” He’s talking about psychology, but the book contains marketing examples.

This “Power of Habit” is likely a difference, maybe the most important difference, between successful writers and unsuccessful ones. That’s true for other endeavors as well.

Pro-Bloggers post on their blogs more than once a year, and pro-writers almost certainly produce something everyday. Richard Bach (Illusions, Bridge Across Forever) once indicated a writing exercise that might be one of the best: write a narrative of an event or description of an object that happens during the day. Do this right, and the most banal conversation or ordinary object can become extraordinary. Collect these, and a few might be used to color your new work.

Maybe that is the power of blogging. Do it daily, or at least a few times a week, and you develop your writing skills. Keep going, and maybe someday you will have something worth saying.

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