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Advice for depicting an interesting setting in your writing

theboar.org – Saturday December 29, 2018

Setting is an incredibly important part of writing but it can often be overlooked. Without setting, your characters are stuck in a nameless limbo. However, sometimes conveying the setting you are imagining can be a bit of a challenge.

World building can be the glue that holds the story together in some cases, especially in science fiction and fantasy. Start by making notes on the kind of society you wish to create. Is the environment hostile, creating a ‘survival of the fittest’ society? Are the citizens conservative or liberal? Or is it a more grounded culture, a capitalist one, or one that embraces the arts? Think about whether your main character fits in with your culture or if they are an outcast. How your protagonist views the world they inhabit will alter how your descriptions and settings are portrayed.

If you’re still stuck on how to begin, check out other critically acclaimed and well-known writers and see how they write setting. The maxim ‘write what you know’ can be a good tip for some writers, especially those who write contemporary and realistic stories. However, sticking to this maxim can limit your writing at times.

For an extra challenge, try reading and writing in a different genre than you’re used to. This can really help you get out of a writing block and come up with new ways of describing setting.

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Happy Verbs

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Thursday December 27, 2018

Well, I don’t think the verbs are actually happy. I only said that to attract your attention. But verbs do have moods. And I used the word “moods” to draw your attention, too. But it’s true that verbs have moods, though we also call them modes.

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15 Books On Writing To Help You Get More Words Down In The New Year

bustle.com – Saturday December 22, 2018

If your New Year's resolution involves being a more productive writer, you're going to want to take notes. I've got 15 books to help you write more in the new year, and they're sure to help any kind of writer make good art in the next 12 months.

Writing more isn't one of the most common New Year's resolutions overall, but it does go hand-in-hand with reading more, which 18 percent of people wanted to do in 2018. Depending on your purposes for writing, your New Year's resolution might fit into the categories of "focus on self-care," "learn a new skill," "get a new job," or "take up a new hobby," which 13 to 24 percent of individuals wanted out of their 2018 vows.

The 15 books on the list below are an eclectic blend of writing reference guides, self-help titles, and creative journals, which means you'll have no trouble finding something that will help you write more in the new year. Regardless of the kind of support your writing habit needs, there's a book on this list that will help you fulfill your New Year's resolution in the coming months. So get reading — and more importantly, get writing.

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Don’t fret, aspiring writers: You’re more qualified than you think

pe.com – Monday December 17, 2018

“How do I become a writer?” Authors hear it often. This question bubbles up in workshops and literary Q&A’s. Ironically, the folks asking are often already writing poems, essays, screenplays, or novels but somehow doubt that the work is “real” yet, pending the verdict of some external authority.

When I’m asked, the boring answer I give (similar if not identical to an answer offered by most writers I have known and read) is to read a lot and write a lot, then repeat the process over and over. This un-glamorous response either disappoints or quietly thrills. I watch the expression of the person if we are talking face-to-face. She may give a curious nod, as if to humor me. Often there is an insistent followup: “Well, sure,” one might go on, “but how do I publish my book/poetry collection/this article/this short story?”

Ah. That’s a different question. Strategies for getting published shift constantly in the evolving field of publication. But one cannot publish at all without writing first. So back to the first premise we go.

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How to write your own auto-fiction book

harpersbazaar.com – Monday December 17, 2018

Everyone likes to think they've got a book in them (and, in many cases, that's notwhere it should stay), but the practical act of writing one is another story. Often, you might have had some experience which has made you want to put pen to paper, but perhaps you don't fancy a tell-all memoir that everyone you know will read. Enter auto-fiction, the not-so-new style of writing gaining serious traction in literary circles.

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Paragraphing—Yes, You Heard Me

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Wednesday December 12, 2018

I wouldn’t think paragraphing could be a mysterious business, but apparently so.

I wish I had an electronic rubber stamp that said, “Break your paragraphs”, because writers need to do exactly that. My students, in particular, need to do just that.

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Robin Robertson: 'Writing poetry has very little to do with the intellect'

theguardian.com – Saturday December 8, 2018

Robin Robertson is an acclaimed poet who has won all three of the Forward poetry prizes. His latest work, The Long Take, a narrative poem, is set in the years immediately after the second world war. The story unfolds in New York, San Francisco and, most importantly, Los Angeles, and follows Walker, a traumatised D-day veteran from Nova Scotia, as he tries to piece his life together just as the American dream is beginning to fray at its edges. It was shortlisted for the Booker prize and, last month, won the Goldsmiths prize for fiction, awarded to works that “open up new possibilities for the novel form”. Robertson also works as an editor at Jonathan Cape, where he publishes, among many others, Michael Ondaatje, Alice Oswald and Adam Thorpe.

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Widely Published Author Discusses Art of Writing the ‘Tiny Story’

newhaven.edu – Friday December 7, 2018

Jeff Foster is the master of the tiny story. Give him just 200 words – 300 tops – and he’ll fashion characters, a plot, and everything that lives within the landscape of a short story.

He’ll take an iconic figure and place him in an unusual setting “to humanize him” – like the Dalai Lama at a drive-thru picking up some coffee. “My stories pivot on character,” he says.

A lecturer in the University of New Haven’s English Department, Foster has published more than 25 flash fiction stories – fictional works of extreme brevity that still offer character and plot development – in highly regarded nanofiction journals and online magazines.

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Writing Short Fiction, Then and Now

dagblog.com – Thursday December 6, 2018

I used to write short stories. Then, for many reasons, I stopped writing fiction. Today I had my first story published in more than twenty years. (It will be posted on the web in two weeks, and I will link to it then. If you can't wait, the issue's for sale here.) More stories may be along; we'll see. If it takes another twenty-one years, I'll have something to look forward to in 2039.

It's a little strange returning to an art form after two decades away. One of the things it means is that in my old stories, no one has e-mail. Most people didn't. Or cell phones. Any temptation to dredge up old pieces is held at bay by the fact that they've become historical fiction.

So what else has changed?

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Nine things not to do if you want to write/paint/create

smh.com.au – Sunday December 2, 2018

A decade ago this week the Sydney Opera House architect Jorn Utzon died. I was on the other side of the world when this happened, living in San Francisco driving across the Golden Gate Bridge when his obituary was read out on the BBC World Service. Listening to this Dane’s extraordinary story about the building he dreamt up but never saw complete, I knew this most Sydney of stories would make a great book. By the next month I had pitched the idea to a publisher and spent the best part of the next decade wrestling to find the time to research and write it.

A lot happened in my personal life over those 10 years. But I also spent a lot of time procrastinating. So I dreamt up some tips, from my own hard-wrought experience about what NOT to do if you want to write a book, or indeed undertake any creative endeavour. If the fire burns in your belly for such an undertaking (which is a core ingredient to success) you might find them helpful.

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