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August 2014
21
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There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children’s book.

The reason for that is that in adult literary fiction, stories are there on sufferance. Other things are felt to be more important: technique, style, literary knowingness. Adult writers who deal in straightforward stories find themselves sidelined into a genre such as crime or science fiction, where no one expects literary craftsmanship.

But stories are vital. Stories never fail us because, as Isaac Bashevis Singer says, “events never grow stale.” There’s more wisdom in a story than in volumes of philosophy. And by a story I mean not only Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk but also the great novels of the nineteenth century, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, Bleak House and many others: novels where the story is at the center of the writer’s attention, where the plot actually matters. The present-day would-be George Eliots take up their stories as if with a pair of tongs. They’re embarrassed by them. If they could write novels without stories in them, they would. Sometimes they do.

But what characterizes the best of children’s authors is that they’re not embarrassed to tell stories. They know how important stories are, and they know, too, that if you start telling a story you’ve got to carry on till you get to the end. And you can’t provide two ends, either, and invite the reader to choose between them. Or as in a highly praised recent adult novel I’m about to stop reading, three different beginnings. In a book for children you can’t put the plot on hold while you cut artistic capers for the amusement of your sophisticated readers, because, thank God, your readers are not sophisticated. They’ve got more important things in mind than your dazzling skill with wordplay. They want to know what happens next.

 -

Philip Pullman, born October 19, 1946 (via annaverity)

Exceedingly apropos of my last reblog, and also just some Basic Truth.

(via sarahreesbrennan)

#books   #kidlit   #hamline mfac   #writing   #mg lit   #ya lit   
August 2014
07
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humansofnewyork:

“It seems that the more I tried to make my life about the pursuit of art, the more money controlled my life: collecting unemployment insurance, the humiliation of borrowing money from friends and family, tossing and turning at night while trying to figure out how to pay the rent. To survive I had to work hard jobs and afterwards I’d feel too tired and too stressed to paint. It’s very hard to create under those circumstances. Creativity is a delicate process. Often times I wonder if I should have just pursued a career for the first half of my life, obtained some degree of financial security, and then transitioned into art.”

humansofnewyork:

“It seems that the more I tried to make my life about the pursuit of art, the more money controlled my life: collecting unemployment insurance, the humiliation of borrowing money from friends and family, tossing and turning at night while trying to figure out how to pay the rent. To survive I had to work hard jobs and afterwards I’d feel too tired and too stressed to paint. It’s very hard to create under those circumstances. Creativity is a delicate process. Often times I wonder if I should have just pursued a career for the first half of my life, obtained some degree of financial security, and then transitioned into art.”

#art   #also   #writing   #new york city   #economics   
August 2014
01
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Anonymous asked

Don't know if this is too complicated tbh but HOW do you outline a story?

heyspibsy:

FRIEND I COULD TALK ABOUT MY OUTLINING PROCESS FOREVER I’M OBSESSED WITH OUTLINING LET’S GO.

okay, i adapted my outlining manual from someone else’s, to work for me, and it’s obviously not going to work the same for everyone else, you’ll have to change it up for what works best for you and what you need to focus on BUT this is what i do. mostly, it’s about envisioning the story like a road map, and you’re traveling the road to your destination.

this works best for longer stories but i use it on shorter things all the time, too, and it’s just as useful.

HERE WE GO.

Read More

July 2014
23
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When I attended CatalystCon this spring, I received a lot of advice from older female sex writers, many of whom encouraged me to be careful as I started my career. I was just too young to understand the ramifications of my decisions, one woman in her early 50s stressed. I did not want to brand myself with a scarlet letter this early in the game. Her advice, while well intentioned, scared the shit out of me. But then I actually thought about the undercurrent of what she had said. It was a maternally protective gesture marked by fear: others will judge you for writing what you write, and you need to anticipate that.


Well I don’t want to anticipate that. I don’t want to accommodate a culture that will slut-shame me for writing thought-provoking, eloquent, and yes, sexy fiction and nonfiction. If my solid resume of clips and internships with gender and sexuality oriented publishing houses means I will not get a job I am fully qualified for in the future, fuck that.One of the central reasons I write feminist erotica is to change the culture, not to jack it off while comfortably existing within its patriarchal hang ups.

July 2014
13
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If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden. The two processes complement each other, creating a complete landscape that I treasure. The green foliage of the trees casts a pleasant shade over the earth, and the wind rustles the leaves, which are sometimes dyed a brilliant gold. Meanwhile, in the garden, buds appear on the flowers, and colorful petals attract bees and butterflies, reminding us of the subtle transition from one season to the next.

 - Haruki Murakami (via writersrelief)
#writing   
July 2014
07
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thenearsightedmonkey:

For your summer grooving pleasure from Marlys!

#halloween   #writing   
July 2014
04
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Because so much of fantasy takes place in settings that in no way resemble the real world, featuring species that in no way resemble human, fantasy writers often have trouble dealing with regular people. This is something that, I think, isn’t as much of a problem for mainstream writers, because they can simply describe the world around them and come up with a reasonably accurate representation of humanity. They can also fall back on the plethora of real-world terms used to describe human beings, racially and otherwise. But using these terms makes no sense if you’re dealing with a world that doesn’t share our political/cultural context. You can’t call someone “African American” if your world has no Africa, no America, and has never gone through a colonial phase in which people of disparate cultures were forcibly brought together, thus necessitating the term in the first place.

That said, it’s equally illogical to populate your fantasy world with only one flavor of human being, which is what far too many fantasy stories default to. Granted, many fantasies take place in confined cultural spaces — a single small kingdom in a Europeanish milieu, maybe a single city or castle within that city. (But how did that castle get its spices for the royal table, or that lady her silks? What enemy are the knights training to fight? Even in the most monochromatic parts of the real Ye Olde Englande, I can guarantee you there were some Asian traders, Sephardic or Ashkenazic Jewish merchants, Spanish diplomats or nobles partly descended from black Moors, and so on.) I get that lots of countries on Earth are racially homogeneous, so it makes perfect sense that some fantasy settings would be too. But whiteness is the default in our thinking for Earth-specific cultural/political reasons. So while it’s logical for fantasy realms to be homogeneous, it’s not logical for so many of them to be homogeneously white. Something besides logic is causing that.

So. It’s a good idea for all fantasy writers to learn how to describe characters of color. And I think it’s a good idea to learn how to describe those characters in subtle ways, since they can’t always rely on Earth terminology. Now, doing subtle description increases the chance that the reader might misidentify the character racially — and to a degree, I think there’s nothing you can do about that. You’re working against a lifetime of baggage in the reader’s mind. But you can still insert enough cues so that when combined, they’ll get the idea across.

 - N.K. Jemisin, blogging on Describing Characters of Color for Magic District.  (via audreymgonzalez)
June 2014
22

fille-lioncelle replied to your post: magdalyna said:I think this count…

I have on occasion wondered that too!

The funny thing is that I’ve NEVER wondered it, and now I’ve been thinking about it intensely for a couple of hours since I got this ask!  Not about George POV specifically, but why I write narratives with feelings as colors.  It’s definitely not supposed to be synesthesia, though, it’s just… I don’t know, the best way to describe feelings, I guess, for me.  I have no idea!  Now I want to know, too!

#fille-lioncelle   #**   #writing   
June 2014
22

magdalyna asked

I think this counts as a Genisis question but it could fit for most of your George stuff - do you write him as having Synesthesia or is the descriptively lush flow a style choice?

That’s actually REALLY interesting and I’ve never thought about it before!  No, I don’t write George as having synesthesia, but you’re totally right that I’ve tended to write him as inhabiting headspaces that correlate emotions with colors.  I’ve never really thought about it specifically, because in my head that’s just how I write narrative, but it does seem to be more pronounced in the way(s) that I’ve written George.  It’s just a style choice, I guess!

#genesis   #writing   #magdalyna   #**   
June 2014
12
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humansofnewyork:

A glimpse into the journal of a (quite intelligent) 16 year old girl. Photographed, with permission, in Central Park. 

humansofnewyork:

A glimpse into the journal of a (quite intelligent) 16 year old girl. Photographed, with permission, in Central Park. 

June 2014
04

I GOT INTO THE HAMLINE MASTER OF FINE ARTS FOR CHILDREN (AND YOUNG ADULTS) WRITING PROGRAM!

I GET TO STUDY YA LITERATURE UNDER E.LOCKHART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(AND OTHER AMAZING PROFESSORS LIKE SWATI AVASTHI AND ANNE URSU AND GENE LUEN YANG!!!)

YOU CAN TELL I’M EXCITED BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!

May 2014
26
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silentstep:notbecauseofvictories:therobotmonster | moniquill | siderealsandman | friendlytroll | prokopetz | mikhailvladimirovich | bogleech |

It’s funny how science fiction universes so often treat humans as a boring, default everyman species or even the weakest and dumbest.

I want to see a sci fi universe where we’re actually considered one of the more hideous and terrifying species.

How do we know our saliva and skin oils wouldn’t be ultra-corrosive to most other sapient races? What if we actually have the strongest vocal chords and can paralyze or kill the inhabitants of other worlds just by screaming at them? What if most sentient life in the universe turns out to be vegetable-like and lives in fear of us rare “animal” races who can move so quickly and chew shit up with our teeth?

Like that old story “they’re made of meat,” only we’re scarier.

HOLY SHIT THEY EAT CAPSAICIN FOR FUN

YOU GUYS I HEARD A HUMAN ONCE ATE AN AIRPLANE.

A HUMAN CAN KEEP FIGHTING FOR HOURS EVEN AFTER YOU SHOOT IT

humans are a proud warrior race with a pantheon of bloody gods: Ram-Bo, Schwarzenegger, etc.

REMOVING A LIMB WILL NOT FATALLY INCAPACITATE HUMANS: ALWAYS DESTROY THE HEAD.

WARNING: HUMANS CAN DETECT YOU EVEN AT NIGHT BY TRACKING VIBRATIONS THROUGH THE ATMOSPHERE

WARNING: HUMANS CAN REPRODUCE AT A RATE OF 1 PER SPACEYEAR. DESTROY INFESTATIONS IMMEDIATELY

THE HUMAN MOUTH HAS OVER THIRTY OUTCROPS OF BONE AND POWERFUL JAW MUSCLES.

HUMAN BITES CAN BE FATALLY INFECTIOUS EVEN TO OTHER HUMANS

WARNING: HUMANS CAN AND WILL USE IMPROVISED WEAPONS. SEE CLASSIFIED DATA LABELED J. CHAN.

HUMANS CAN PROJECT BIOWEAPONS FROM ALMOST EVERY ORIFICE ON THEIR BODY. DO NOT INHALE

OH GOD THE HUMANS FIGURED OUT DOOR HANDLES OH GOD OH GOD

More seriously, humans do have a number of advantages even among Terrestrial life. Our endurance, shock resistance, and ability to recover from injury is absurdly high compared to almost any other animal. We often use the phrase “healthy as a horse” to connote heartiness - but compared to a human, a horse is as fragile as spun glass. There’s mounting evidence that our primitive ancestors would hunt large prey simply by following it at a walking pace, without sleep or rest, until it died of exhaustion; it’s called pursuit predation. Basically, we’re the Terminator.

(The only other animal that can sort of keep up with us? Dogs. That’s why we use them for hunting. And even then, it’s only “sort of”.)

Now extrapolate that to a galaxy in which most sapient life did not evolve from hyper-specialised pursuit predators:

  • Our strength and speed is nothing to write home about, but we don’t need to overpower or outrun you. We just need to outlast you - and by any other species’ standards, we just plain don’t get tired.
  • Where a simple broken leg will cause most species to go into shock and die, we can recover from virtually any injury that’s not immediately fatal. Even traumatic dismemberment isn’t necessarily a career-ending injury for a human.
  • We heal from injuries with extreme rapidity, recovering in weeks from wounds that would take others months or years to heal. The results aren’t pretty - humans have hyperactive scar tissue, among our other survival-oriented traits - but they’re highly functional.
  • Speaking of scarring, look at our medical science. We developed surgery centuries before developing even the most rudimentary anesthetics or life support. In extermis, humans have been known to perform surgery on themselves - and survive. Thanks to our extreme heartiness, we regard as routine medical procedures what most other species would regard as inventive forms of murder. We even perform radical surgery on ourselves for purely cosmetic reasons.

In essence, we’d be Space Orcs.

Our jaws have too many TEETH in them, so we developed a way to WELD METAL TO OUR TEETH and FORCE THE BONES IN OUR JAW to restructure over the course of years to fit them back into shape, and then we continue to wear metal in out mouths to keep them in place. 

We formed cohabitative relationships with tiny mammals and insects we keep at bay from bothering us by death, often using little analouge traps. 

And by god, we will eat anything. 

  • We use borderline toxic peppers to season our food. 
  • We expose ourselves to potentially lethal solar radiation in the pursuit of darkening our skin. 
  • We risk hearing loss for the opportunity to see our favorite musicians live. 
  • We have a game where two people get into an enclosed area and hit each other until time runs out/one of them pass out
  • We willingly jump out of planes with only a flimsy piece of cloth to prevent us from splattering against the ground. 
  • Our response to natural disasters is to just rebuild our buildings in the exact same places. 
  • We climb mountains and risk freezing to death for bragging rights
  • We invented dogs. We took our one time predators and completely domesticated them. 
  • On a planet full of lions, tigers and bears, we managed to advance further and faster than any other species on the planet. 

Klingons and Krogan and Orcs ain’t got shit on us

We drink ethanol (in concentrations high enough to be used as an effective as microbicide or a solvent!) for the express purpose of achieving blood toxicity and disrupting normal brain function… AS A RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY!

On the same subject, we also deliberately incinerate assorted substances and then inhale the particulate-heavy smoke and vapor resulting for the same effect. EVEN IN THE FACE OF SAID SUBSTANCES BEING CARCINOGENIC, BECAUSE WE JUST DON’T GIVE A FUCK.

Humans do not have biological castes. Kill their commander and another will take its place. Soldiers left alone on a planet will start farming and manufacturing to survive. Farmers and manufacturers will take up arms and kill you if pressed. Just because two humans look different doesn’t mean they cannot do each other’s jobs.

Breeding does not kill them. A single human can mate dozens or hundreds of times in a lifetime. They often do so as recreation. Xenobiology team six believes they do not have a mating season but this is too strange to be true.

Their appendages are not designed for hitting, so they developed special training to make them very good at hitting anyhow. 

The proteins making up their bodies are toxic and cause prion disease. Do not touch anything humans have touched. Do not consume earth foods. Fire does not adequately remove this contamination.

Humans perceive sixteen times the colors we do. Do not hide in bushes or vines from humans. They can distinguish your pelt from the foliage with ease.

We tried venting waste gas into the tunnels to kill the humans when they attacked. Turns out they breathe it. 

Everything on their planet came from a single biological strain. They developed comprehensive genetics BEFORE they developed space travel. 

They lack radio receptors and cannot be brought into compliance with right-thought simply by broadcasting to them. Even after we learned how to translate it into sound-waves one of their hatchlings drove the Great Authority mad by responding to every demand with a single question: “Why?”

#an individual human being is actually a microbiome in its own right—you are dealing with a legion each time you approach them     #they carry pathological agents inside their deep tissues and this is advantageous to their health     #one of the most widespread and resilient viruses on their planet is treated as mildly hazardous—even though it causes     #massive disruption to the body’s homeostasis     #(their young offspring endure multiple rhinovirus infections EACH YEAR yet they seem unperturbed by this)     #they have developed such long lifespans that now their primary threat is their own body’s degeneration     #humanity has literally figured out how to survive so long that their body gives out under them     #and they are not satisfied with that     #stupid willful vengeful survivalists who treat mortality like a challenge     #sarah’s ongoing love letter to humanity     #(this is my favorite post of all time I swear)    (via notbecauseofvictories)

#i love this   #scifi   #writing   
May 2014
16
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Adults look at the children’s books of their youth with nostalgia. The Secret Garden, they remember, is a beautiful story of a girl and a boy who transform themselves as they transform a garden, and also there’s a robin. They don’t remember that Mary Lennox’s parents are selfish and awful and leave her to be raised by servants, that they and the rest of her household die in a cholera epidemic, that she is found in the house alone. And they don’t remember that Mary is completely obnoxious, and that the tragic death of Colin’s mother has ruined both son and husband. That light at the end of the secret garden is earned, not through sentimentality, but through tragedy and struggle. That’s why it’s a classic.

#ya lit   #mg lit   #kidlit   #books   #writing   #media awareness   #death tw   #illness tw   
May 2014
11
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REBLOG IF YOU ARE A WRITER ON TUMBLR

pimp-eridan:

IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT KIND OF WRITER YOU ARE YOU CAN BE WRITING: POEMS, FANFICS, IDK NORMAL FICS, NOVELS, SHORT STORIES, IDK ANYTHING!! JUST REBLOG!!!

#writing