Writing Workout

I love to lift weights with my husband. But doing the same exercises every week becomes dull awfully fast, and the surest way to kill enthusiasm for an exercise routine is to let it get boring. The same truth holds for creative exercise. Sometimes sitting down and putting your hands on the keyboard isn’t quite enough to wake up your muse. Today I’m going to share a few nifty exercises for you to try next time there’s a wall between your brain and the empty page.

Dictionary Open up a dictionary and find a word you’ve never seen before. Read its definition. What does it say to you? Is it frightening? Amusing? Confusing? Good. Now using that thought, try to come up with a short story featuring that word. You don’t need to write the whole story (unless you’re inspired!) Just scribble yourself a few lines.

For extra-credit, see if […]

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What Does It All Mean?

Over the weekend, one of the eleven-million pictures that made an appearance on Facebook was a Venn diagram displaying a relatively tiny crossover between what authors mean when they write, and what English teachers think they mean. It’s a joke, based on the collective years of agony most of us spent having to read a story and determine what it’s really about. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? For example, when I took English 101, I remember having a knock-down-drag-out literary argument with my professor over Randall Jarrell’s Death of the Ball Turret Gunner. For those of you who haven’t read it, here:

From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me […]

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It’s good, but…

Last week I was invited to speak to a group of high school writers. It was a delightful experience, because these kids were serious about what they were doing, and had some pretty mature questions for me about the business and the craft of writing. I was able to stick around long enough to listen to them read some of their own work, and it was exciting stuff. One of the most important things I told them was to grow a thick skin. You can’t be a fragile butterfly in this business, unless you want to hide in a lighthouse and write pages that you burn by the light of the full moon and then throw into the sea. Not my personal career goal, but hey… Anyway, a thick skin gives you the emotional distance to think about your work as a product (vital if you want to sell it.) […]

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Here a link, there a link…

Since it’s entirely possible a lot of you are travelling this weekend, or are just in the mood for the holiday already, I decided to share some time-killers to get you through this day before the long weekend. Have fun!

Poetry: Introduction to Poetry The Book of my Enemy Has Been Remaindered

World Building Help: World Check

Need a book recommendation? If you’re a fan of Lost, you can now read the books that are featured on the show – The Lost Book Club

Sounds from the ancient past: Roberto Velazquez assists archaeologists in recreating sounds not heard in hundreds of years. David Crystal, a language expert and historian, consulted on a Globe Theatre production of “Romeo and Juliet” in Early Modern English, the way Shakespeare might have said it.