No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.

-Socrates

Not really related to writing, but I believe in caring for my body between the glasses of scotch and wine. Also, it makes it sound like Socrates was a sort of philosophical meathead, and who doesn’t love that mental image?

tsundoku

‘Tsundoku’: the Japanese Word for the New Books That Pile Up on Our Shelves

From Openculture.com:

“The word dates back to the very beginning of modern Japan, the Meiji era (1868-1912) and has its origins in a pun. Tsundoku, which literally means reading pile, is written in Japanese as 積ん読. Tsunde oku means to let something pile up and is written 積んでおく. Some wag around the turn of the century swapped out that oku(おく) in tsunde oku for doku (読) – meaning to read. Then since tsunde doku is hard to say, the word got mushed together to form tsundoku.”

dark places

Dark Places

By Blueskiesandsun

A good proverb to remember for your protagonist’s growth. Another way to think of the provern that “It’s always darker just before the dawn”.

The Gunfighter

One of the most amazing examples of breaking the fourth wall that I’ve every seen. Some of the language isn’t safe for work though. On the other hand, it’s voiced by Nick Offerman!

Journal Entry: December 08, 2015

Currently dawdling at the local cafe across from my wife. She is worried about the monthly expenses, but all will be well in the end. I’ve not yet dipped my toe into the first draft of my next book. It’s outline should be finished by the end of the week, though it is very rough. Character names, place names, and many such details must be filled in, but I’ve already narrowed down a source that I shall be drawing from for inspiration, so those gaps shall soon be filled.

In the meantime, I am also reading through a shelved manuscript that I believe still has potential. It has been a year since I last looked over it, and it reads like it came from someone else’s cardboard fingers. So much to fix, but every now and then lines do manage to surprise me. I mustn’t let it go to my head.

Also working with an editor on my current query letter. If I can make it better… If the right agent requests and subsequently loves the manuscript… if, if, if. All is only hope at this point. Hope and three frustrating paragraphs that I have read far too many times.

I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.

-Edgar Allen Poe

Stephen King

The Paris Review Interview With Stephen King

The Paris Review has opened 60 years worth of author interviews to the public. I love reading about other authors. It’s such a lonely pursuit. How often do I even talk about writing? I certainly don’t talk about the books I’m working on. Never. Not to my family. Not to my wife. Not to anyone. And not many people are interested in hearing about the process. They think you just sit down and write. Which is certainly part of it. But no one outside the business wants to hear about the deeper atmospheres, the goings-on that creates the turns in the plot, or how characters change, or about themes or rewrites or editing or any of that.

So, I’ve delved into interviews and picked out a few of my favorite authors. So we’re starting with Stephen King. I’ve already read his memoir on the craft, On Writing.

The interview can be found here, but here are a few of the gems:


On what his books should do for readers:

“I’ve always thought that the sort of book that I do—and I’ve got enough ego to think that every novelist should do this—should be a kind of personal assault. It ought to be somebody lunging right across the table and grabbing you and messing you up. It should get in your face. It should upset you, disturb you.”

On taking readers’ advice:

“I’m always interested in what my readers think, and I’m aware that many of them want to participate in the story. I don’t have a problem with that, just so long as they understand that what they think isn’t necessarily going to change what I do.”

On writing:

“When I sit down to write, my job is to move the story.”

lincon_quote

On Planning Books

There are two types of writers: pantsers and planners. The first just writes. The second plans first. I fall in with the latter. As I see it, this quote also applies to writing. If I’m going to write a book, I’m going to plan it all out, while still leaving enough patience in my mind for the sudden twists that will pop up and demand that my structure be revamped.

the pearl

Review – The Pearl

I bought my copy of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl in a cramped used bookstore in Seoul. It was the cover that caught my eye: faded blue with a simple drawing of a diver clutching a pearl. I didn’t get around to reading it until six months ago. Embarrassingly enough, this is the first of Steinbeck’s works that I’ve read.

The plot if relatively simple. A man finds a large pearl that he imagines will solve all of his problems in life, but actually becomes a curse that ruins everything he ever knew and loved. But it’s not the plot that had me placing this on a special section of my bookshelf. It’s the writing.

Steinbeck’s simple but evocative sentences call to mind a mixture of Hemingway’s own sparse writing mixed with a dollop of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lyrical descriptions. I have always loved these two writers’ styles and seeing Steinbeck has only heightened my own sense of what good writing looks like. I even started to notice a pattern: I didn’t notice a single simile in The Pearl. They maight have been scattered here or there, but I didn’t notice the normal amount of ‘like’ and ‘as’ that I often see in modern day books, and in my own writing. His phrases were tighter and stronger for the lack of words.

I highly recommend this short read, especially if The Old Man and The Sea is one of your favorites. 

Ursula K Le Guin calls on Writers to Envision Alternatives to Capitalism

Old news, but something for fantasy and sci-fi writers to consider as they work on building their novels’ worlds.

In her award speech for the National Book Foundation’s for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, Ursula Le Guin spoke a bit about capitalism and its effects on modern-day book prices. But capitalism is not a permanent institution.“Its power seems inescapable,” she said. “So did the divine right of kings.”

She then calls on writers, specifically of fantasy and science fiction, to envision the next step in our society. Like writers before us, authors now have the chance to shape future thoughts with their own ideas of what would make the world a better place.

Link