Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

October 5, 2011

Requiem for Steve Jobs

R.I.P. Steve Jobs. All of my novels have been typed on Macintosh computers. I’ve been using them since the first Mac 128 came out. The following excerpt is from a speech given by Steve Jobs in 2005. It says a lot about creativity.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said. “Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

September 27, 2011

Excerpt from Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

This is a favorite novelist of mine. His prose is straight forward and his action and characters are very alive. Here’s bit of the novel:

August 27, 2011

For instant inspiration click on this photo (Mt. Shasta)

Photo by Anne Abrams.

June 22, 2011

How much surprise do you like in a story?

How much surprise do you like in a story? I like a story to be unexpected at every turn. It doesn’t need to have multiple or parallel plots or one plot with many trailing sub-plots, but I find it’s the smaller surprises that help define a story and its characters. In my own life I find a competition of motives and possible actions which give spontaneity a chance to bloom. I expect any new detail to have its own story, so I pick and choose to create the characters and the themes. Among those things, I like to choose the one least probable.

June 18, 2011

Happy Father’s Day, Dads

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Hope you’re proud of the courage it takes me to write well. I am inspired by the courage you showed that day on the Santa Fe when you guys rescued so many men from the USS Franklin in the battle of Leyte Gulf (plus the courage it took to have five kids). And I remember you too, Mom. And to all the other Dads in the family: Thomas, Joe, Ben, Martin, Tommy, and Steve. Hugs, all.

June 12, 2011

Tim Gager Announces the Debut of Printer’s Devil Review

Tim Gager, the principal of the Dire Reader Series, announces a new literary journal: Printer’s Devil Review (PDR). He’s its Editorial Consultant and he helped find authors to submit to the journal. Thomas Dobson created it along with his staff of editors. It’s is an open-access journal of stories, poems, and visual art. They aim to provide emerging writers and artists with greater access to publishing. For the reader they hope to deliver new voices and visions. The journal has all the contents downloadable on PDF files from the Website. If the story of Kate Racculia is an example, he’s met his promise to showcase good writing. I was once a printer’s devil (a printing assistant) and had my own Red Howl Press when “press” meant paper under my feet and ink under my fingernails.

June 9, 2011

The music in writing flows from the story itself

I don’t stand in line to buy an album of music I already own. Also, I don’t look for books that read exactly like Chekhov, as good as he was. I want something unique, a story that is specifically a new tune with a different use of harmony, and most of all: with a different rhythm. The only way I know to create such a thing is to find it in myself. My own mind is what I trust to synthesize all those elements in a story to make it all work together. The music comes from the imagined story itself, the words come from that same place. The intellectual mind is important, but not any more important than the sub-conscious or even unconscious parts of the brain. The more of myself I can access to add to a story, the better it will be. Listening to music can help (I listen to Afro-Cuban music while I write my Caribbean story), but writing is its own music so it helps me to hear it aloud . . . and to listen.

June 7, 2011

My ten favorite rules for writing fiction

My ten favorite rules for writing fiction
(Partly derived from: this Guardian article which includes the “Top Ten” lists
the authors: Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy)
The List:
1. The most important thing in fiction is sincerity: don’t fake it.
2. If it sounds like writing, read it out loud, then rewrite it.
3. Feel your anxiety—it’s an important part of the process.
4. Keep a grip on reality with a good meditation practice.
5. Read. Read all the best books: look them up.
6. Most writers don’t know how to use an em-dash: look that up.
7. Spend most of your time not writing. Readers don’t care about words,
they want to hear your imagination speak.
8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Kill good ideas with better ones.
9. Never fall in love with your own writing.
10. Write a book you’d love to read.

June 3, 2011

Tesora and Actual Pirates of the Caribbean

My novel, Tesora, is based on as much research into the facts of the era in which pirates roamed the seas of the Caribbean as I could find. Here is some of that information:

David Cordingly, from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, is author of the definitive book on pirates, Under the Black Flag.

He says that in the years between 1715 and 1725, there was an explosion of piracy in the Caribbean that was comparable in some ways with the recent outbreak of piracy in the seas off Somalia.

In contrast to the fictions displayed in the movies, the majority of the eighteenth-century pirates were working-class sailors: naval deserters, redundant merchant seamen, and former privateers. They were not the heroic, romantic characters portrayed in the movies by Johnny Depp’s Captain Sparrow. They were hard men notorious for their foul language, heavy drinking, and casual violence.

Also, it was true that “Negroes and mulattoes were present on almost every pirate ship, and only rarely did the many merchants and captains who commented on their presence call them slaves.” Kinkor even presents examples of blacks who were leaders of predominantly white crews.

Yet, Cordingly also wrote that conversely, “pirates shared the same prejudices as other white men in the Western world. They regarded black slaves as commodities to be bought and sold, and used them as slaves on board their ships for the hard and menial jobs.”

Information for this article from:
And

May 31, 2011

Roddy Doyle: A life in writing, an Interview by Sarah Crown

Here is a excerpt from an interview with Roddy Doyle given by The Guardian. The interview details an in-depth portrayal of the life of his novel, Paula Spencer. This shows a fearless writer at the top of his game as he struggled to create a character far from himself, yet he created a character who needed to emerge. This character is also perhaps his greatest achievement.

“. . . the most difficult thing he’d ever attempted. The Woman Who Walked Into Doors took the character of Paula Spencer – alcoholic, careening, desperate but still stubbornly clinging to her life – and produced a bleak, brave book that is widely held to be his finest creation. “Writing an alcoholic woman was hard,” he says. “Biology and circumstances put me a long way from her. It was a very slow piece of work at first. It took me a long time to get the register. Then in the second year, it began to click. Chapter 25, the longest one, the emotional heart of the book – it took just two days to write; it flowed out of me. By that point, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”

“In chapter 25, Paula recalls the first time Charlo hit her, when she was pregnant with their first child. “I fell,” Paula says, “He felled me. I’m looking at it now. Twenty years later. I wouldn’t do what he wanted, he was in his moods, I was being smart, he hated me being pregnant, I wasn’t his little Paula anymore – and he drew his fist back and he hit me. He hit me. Before he knew it? He drew his own fist back, not me. He aimed at me. He let go. He hit me. He wanted to hurt me. And he did. And he did more than that.” The stiff, fractured sentences and hammering repetitions convey the brutality of Paula’s marriage, and the mental excisions she has had to perform to survive it. “It is the triumph of the novel,” Mary Gordon wrote in the New York Times Book Review, “that Mr Doyle – entirely without condescension – shows the inner life of this battered housecleaner to be the same stuff as that of the heroes of the great novels of Europe.”

—Roddy Doyle: A life in writing, by Sarah Crown.

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