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Sunday, July 31, 2016

12 Quotes From Authors To Remember When Starting Your First Book

When working on your first book, you're faced with an extremely daunting task. Regardless of whatever training or practice you've had in the past, it's still your first novel. At times it will be a highly enjoyable venture, but much of it will be excruciating. There are moments where you might want to throw in the towel, or where you'll feel completely lost. And when that happens just remember the wise words of the successful authors below — they hold the roadmap back to finishing your novel successfully.

1. "The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." – Linus Pauling
As a writer, this is square one. It doesn't matter how gorgeous your prose is or how smooth your dialogue flows if you don't have an idea in the first place. Coming up with ideas isn't necessarily easy, but the best way to catch a big fish is to cast a wide net. And the beauty of ideas is that you can get them from literally everywhere. Every place you go, every person you interact with, and everything you read can contribute to your idea pool. Once that's full all you have to do is pick through your net until you find the winner. That's when you put pen to paper.
2. "In nearly all good fiction, the basic — all but inescapable — plot form is this: A central character wants something, goes after it despite opposition (perhaps including his own doubts), and so arrives at a win, lose, or draw." – John Gardner
There's a lot of talk about the importance of being original when you write, but there's something more important to keep in mind. At the end of the day, every story is the same. Someone/thing is trying to do something/one and there's an obstacle. They either overcome it in some form or don't — then the story is over. People have tried to mix up the formula in the past but very rarely are those endeavours successful. There's no need to reinvent the wheel, though, because this structure has worked for thousands of years. Don't anticipate that to change when you wake up tomorrow.
3. "Begin with an individual, and before you know it you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find you have created — nothing." – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The first entry talked about ideas, and new writers often confuse idea with plot. Now, it's all well and good if you thought of this crazy catastrophe that you've never seen done before, but it doesn't mean shit if your audience doesn't care about who it affects. Just take another look at the previous quote and re-read what it says about good fiction: it's about a central character. The problem (and challenge) is that you can't just pull some random stereotype out of pop culture and plop them into your story. Readers are going to see through that one dimension right away, because readers deal with real people every day. They know that real people are complex — so make your characters complex individuals. That may not be easy to do, but it is essential. So don't skimp on the complexities.
4. "Resist the temptation to try to use dazzling style to conceal weakness of substance." – Stanley Schmidt
Some writers hone their own voice through imitation. That kind of practice results in the writer picking up a lot of little technical tricks along the way. Those tricks — malleable diction, variable syntax, a long list of handy literary techniques — are great things to have in your back pocket, and they're often crucial to setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack. The thing is, they aren't going to culminate into a voice of your own. A voice develops by itself over time, and no amount of tricks will speed that process up.
5. "People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it." – Harlan Ellison
Some new writers are confused and discouraged when their story doesn't just flow out of their fingertips. They will see others pumping books out like crazy and even doing well with many of them. And it wasn't that hard to come up with the idea after a few months of planning. Why, then, are others hitting their groove while you're not? That's because they haven't hit some kind of magic groove — they're busy grinding stories out. The only way to write a story is to keep writing. There aren't any short cuts.
6. "Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it…" – Michael Crichton
You didn't think you'd only have to write your book once, did you? Not a single book comes to mind that's been published after a single draft, and that's because no one is that good. Even if you do manage to sell a manuscript on your first draft, it will be edited by the publishers. So save everyone the time and just work on it until you get it right. That might take a lot of drafts too, so dig in for the long haul.
7. "The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home." – John Campbell
This is probably the hardest thing for a new writer to come to terms with, and every writer has hidden the bulk of their work from everyone for fear of embarrassing themselves. That's perfectly fine and not every story is worth sharing with anyone. Still, you'll eventually have to get over that embarrassment and show someone something — and not just someone, but actual agents or publishers. Hell, even if you skip that and go the self-publishing route, your readers are going to see the story, right? So just rip off the Band-Aid and start sharing with those you trust. Even if the story isn't ready.
8. "Engrave this in your brain: EVERY WRITER GETS REJECTED. You will be no different." – John Scalzi
You're probably going to get rejected a lot, too. Most people do. The market is so saturated that even a good story can get overlooked among the dross. Just refuse to take no for a final answer. You'll get there one day.
9. "Only a person with a Best Seller mind can write Best Sellers." – Aldous Huxley
Not everyone wants to be a best-selling author and that's perfectly ok. But for those of you that dream about it, you absolutely need to be confident. If you talk about your book like it's not the next great American (or whatever literature-rich country you hail from) novel, there's a good chance it won't even come close. That doesn't mean you should go around running your mouth about how awesome you are, but you should be proud of what you've done. If you've written what you think is a best-selling novel, say so. If you don't even believe in your story, why would anyone else?
10. "Writing isn't generally a lucrative source of income; only a few, exceptional writers reach the income levels associated with the best-sellers. Rather, most of us write because we can make a modest living, or even supplement our day jobs, doing something about which we feel passionately. Even at the worst of times, when nothing goes right, when the prose is clumsy and the ideas feel stale, at least we're doing something that we genuinely love. There's no other reason to work this hard, except that love." – Melissa Scott
This one kind of explains itself, but it's arguably the most important piece of advice on this list. Never forget that you write because you love it. Even if you never make a penny from your stories, remember that's not what matters. If you do that, you'll definitely make it to the end of at least one novel one day.
11. "It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition." – Isaac Asimov
Remember when you were young and a particular book made you want to write? And even if the bug didn't bite you until later in life, no writer decided to write without loving to read first. That aside, the point is to keep in mind the effect your story can have on those that read it. Whether they're young or old, you can really change the course of someone else's life. Even if your book isn't lauded by the world as a literary revolution, you might inspire the person that does write such an acclaimed story. And for sci-fi writers, who knows? One day some of your ideas might become a reality because someone read your novel and couldn't rest until the ideas were real.
12. "There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are." – Somerset Maugham
Last but not least, some advice that potentially negates all the rest. Everyone is going to have their own opinion on the best way to write and it's rare that everyone agrees on everything. So while it's good to keep the words of the successful in mind, don't feel stupid if you disagree. The only one who can say a particular way of writing works for you is yourself. And hey, if you manage to succeed in spite of what all the above authors have said, write us an email. We could probably stand to add you to this list.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Happy Birthday! Celebrating George Bernard Shaw with ten of his wittiest quotes

Prolific Nobel Prize and Oscar winner was a rare wit, journalist, author, and iconic Irishman.
The only man in the world to have won a Nobel Prize for Literature ("Pygmalion") and an Oscar (for the screenplay of "Pygmalion"), George Bernard Shaw was a rare wit, journalist, author, and iconic Irishman.
Born on this day in 1856 his life's work includes over 60 plays, as well as highly esteemed works of journalism, essays, novels and short stories. He was also co-founder of the London School of Economics. He works engaged on many social issues including education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.
Here are some quotes from the great man himself, sure to inspire:
"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
"A happy family is but an earlier heaven."
"Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time."
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
"Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance."
"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."
"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
'Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
"If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance."
"Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable."
Shaw was born on Synge Street, in Dublin's city center on July 26, 1856 to George Carr Shaw, an unsuccessful grain merchant and Lucinda Elizabeth Shaw, née Gurly, a singer. He attended Wesley College, a Methodist grammar school, before being transferred to Dublin's Central Model School. He ended his formal education at the Dublin English Scientific and Commercial Day School.
At 16 Shaw's mother followed her voice teacher to London, Shaw's two sisters going with her. He remained in Dublin and worked as a clerk in a real estate office. In 1876 he joined his mother in London. His mother's partner George Vandeleur Lee provided him with a pound a week affording him to visit public libraries and the British Museum reading room where he studied earnestly and began writing novels. His literary earnings remained negligible until 1885, when he became self-supporting as a critic of the arts.
In 1884 he joined the Fabian Society, turning his attention to politics. The society's goal was the transformation of England through a more vibrant political and intellectual base.
A year after he joined he began to get some writing work in the form of book reviews and art, music and theater criticism
In 1895 he was brought aboard the Saturday Review as its theater critic. At was at this point that Shaw began writing plays.
His first plays were published in volumes titled "Plays Unpleasant" (containing "Widowers' Houses", "The Philanderer" and "Mrs. Warren's Profession") and "Plays Pleasant" (which had "Arms and the Man", "Candida", "The Man of Destiny" and "You Never Can Tell").
They were filled with his signature wit along with a healthy dose of social criticism.
Around the period he wrote "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1898) his works came in to their own.
In 1903 he wrote "Man and Superman", whose third act, "Don Juan in Hell," achieved a status larger than the play itself and is often staged as a separate play entirely. While Shaw would write plays for the next 50 years, the plays written in the 20 years after "Man and Superman" became foundational plays in his oeuvre. Works such as "Major Barbara" (1905), "The Doctor's Dilemma" (1906), "Androcles and the Lion" (1912) and "Saint Joan" (1923) established Shaw as a front-line and popular dramatist of his day.
In 1912 came his most famous play, "Pygmalion," which won him a Nobel Prize and eventually an Oscar. Amazingly, Shaw turned down the opportunity to be an Member of Parliament and all other honors or prizes.
He died on November 1950 at the age of 94 while he was working on his next play.
*Originally published in October 2014. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Best Quotes from Love Between the Covers

Love Between the Covers, a documentary about the romance novel industry, went on sale on iTunes and Amazon last week after over a year of screenings and multiple years of filming and development. The film is an entertaining, accessible rundown of the romance industry, featuring interviews with authors, readers, and researchers.
Those who aren't familiar with the genre could learn a lot from Love Between the Covers. Those who are familiar could learn a few things too, or at least be reminded that Beverly Jenkins is wonderful and that they could have made an entire documentary about her. Someone should maybe get on that.
In the meantime, here are some of the top quotes from Love Between the Covers and thoughts on why they matter:
"I think all genres of literature circle around the same human emotions over and over and over…That can be happening in a novel about a Navy SEAL as easily as it's happening in Tolstoy."
– Mary Bly, author and professor of Shakespeare, writes romance as Eloisa James
"We don't see Ernest Hemmingway as formulaic, but every single one of his novels ends exactly the same way. So why does one get coded as realistic and the other get coded as hopelessly optimistic?"
– Deborah Chappel Traylor, Arkansas State University
Despite what we teach in high school literature classrooms, not all stories of humanity have to end in tragedy. Believe it or not, sometimes a happy ending is a more familiar part of the human experience than tragedy.
"Why does romance get sneered at? I'm going to give you the same answer everyone else has given: romance is sneered at because it's written by women, it's written for women, and it's written about women."
– Sarah Frantz Lyons, Editor, Riptide Publishing
"This is the one place where you will consistently see women's sexuality treated fairly and positively. Everyone is going to experience some sort of sexual exploration or satisfaction. The women will always win, and everyone will be happy in the end."
– Sarah Wendell, founder of the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website
"And it's a fantasy, yes. But so are the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Arnold's never killed at the end of his movies. So why beat up women?
– Beverly Jenkins, author
There is good romance and mediocre romance and romance that just really needed an editor. But that's true of all books, and the particular disdain visited upon the romance genre certainly seems related to the fact that the genre is more focused on women than possibly anything else in art and entertainment.
"When I did Indigo, which was my third book, in '96, women were coming to the signing crying. 'There are no African-American historical love stories. We've never had anyone who thought we were beautiful.'"
– Beverly Jenkins
"And as I read some of the other pulp fiction books, it was always sad. And I never felt like my life should be sad. I didn't want to have to get married. I didn't want to have to commit suicide. I didn't want to have to do any of those things. I wanted to just be a nice, normal queer."
– Romance reader
One of the best things about romance is that is allows for happy endings, but it's so important that romance and those happy endings be inclusive. All people should see themselves reflected and represented in romance. It matters that everyone has a chance at a story with a happy ending.
"Honey, if you can relate to shape-shifters and werewolves and (laughs) …chameleon people, but you can't relate to an African American story, that's a problem for me."
-Beverly Jenkins
Jenkins is making a good point about an important issue here, but unfortunately the topic passes quickly. The fact that Love Between the Covers largely ignores the issues non-white authors face in finding success and industry support is by far the film's biggest flaw.
"By the time I retired from State Farm, I had written my first 53 books."
-Brenda Jackson
Brenda Jackson is in a class of her own in terms of prolific writing, but a lot of authors put out multiple books a year while also often holding down another full-time job.
"Non-practical romance is really annoying. Like when the characters have sex three times, I'm totally thinking UTI. The girl has a urinary tract infection."
-Romance reader
"I had bone cancer when I was 16 and I read romance through that entire year of chemo, which sucked. Hard. Romance has gotten me through the tough times in my life. Because when you can't get your own happy ending, reading that happy endings are possible…"
-Romance reader
"For me, coming from a divorced family and not having that (happy ever after) dynamic, It taught me normalcy and it taught me, you know, you don't have to date your married boss. You don't have to meet men in bars and you can demand, you can have a man who loves you unconditionally and treats you like a princess and I held our for that and I wouldn't settle for less and I demanded no less."
-Kim Castillo, Author's Assistant
All three of these quotes come from a conversation about romance among a group of women who are fans, hobbyists, and/or industry professionals. They illustrate the value of romance to readers as well as what they're looking for. Do readers want or need escapism? Sometimes, yes. But they want a Happy Ever After (HEA) that feels real. Love shouldn't have to be a fantasy. And a relationship can be great even if no one has sex three times in an hour.
Watch Love Between the Covers and post your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Keep A Pushing On....

Life moves like the speed of lightning!

One minute your moving right along, then the next second you realize hours have
 been speeding by and you still have so much to do! I tell my self, I'll just finish this page and break for the evening. Then Wham! The light is fading out my window a glance to the unseen clock and it's almost eight pm! Did I accomplish anything? I suppose I have but the proof will have to come back to me in time and I'll know then it was well spent! 

Blessings and Starry Nights to you! Zee

Friday, July 15, 2016

25 Inspiring Alice Munro Quotes on Writing

Happy birthday to Alice Munro, the acclaimed Canadian short-story writer who won the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013. "Munro's stories are short and narrowly drawn that makes them so precise and thus able to cut like a very well-honed knife," our own Michelle Dean wrote in 2013. "Munro stands, generally, for the idea that just because the ostensible subject of your story is small, that doesn't mean it's without big implications, or even big effect." Over the years, Munro has had a lot to say about her writing process and how her stories have developed over time. Here are 25 quotes from the author about her personal writing habits, obsessions, and more.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ringo Starr quotes: 10 Sayings About tune, Peace And like to rejoice The Beatle's Birthday - international enterprise times

Thursday is former Beatles drummer, solo musician and noted emoji fan Ringo Starr's seventy six birthday. The legendary artist became born July 7, 1940, and Thursday he deliberate to celebrate via spreading peace and love, which in contemporary years has become his motto.
Starr became a Beatle in 1962, helping to pen songs like "With a bit help From My chums," "Octopus' backyard" and "The No No track." The noted English rock band broke up eight years later, however their vicinity in pop culture was set. during the last few a long time, Starr has won 9 Grammy Awards, published three books and launched greater than 15 studio albums. He become inducted into the Rock and Roll corridor of reputation final 12 months.
For his birthday, Starr will host a live #PeaceAndLove experience in los angeles at midday PDT. fans can meet up with Starr and his spouse, Barbara, at the Capitol statistics Tower, in keeping with his web site.
in case you cannot make it out, spread the peace and love on social media via sharing these Starr fees, accumulated from PBS, Rolling Stone and BeatlesQuotes.com:
"I truly accept as true with that, you comprehend, the realm would be a higher area with peace and love. And my dream, and on my birthday, we've the peace and love moment at midday. anywhere you're, go peace and love, that someday every person will do it. It's like a sci-fi film. every person will go 'peace and love.' besides the fact that you don't say it loud, the notion's splendid."
"Of direction i am bold. what's wrong with that? otherwise you sleep all day."
"i would want to end up kind of... unforgettable."
"americans simplest analyze me as a Beatle, however my chums study me as an entire person. it really is how lifestyles works, but it surely's now not bugging me anymore."
"america: it's like Britain, most effective with buttons."
"i could say it again: i really like being in a band, i like fiddling with different human beings. I've in no way practiced drums until there turned into one more individual in the room. if you might play, i'd play with you all night. but when i am just playing on my own, it receives boring fairly short."
"a few of us made it to the other side. Others didn't. Who knows why?"
"life is a great schooling."
"neatly, they instructed my mom three times, 'He'll be useless within the morning.' So God has amazing plans for me. I don't know. It's such as you reside your existence, that's what you do. on account of an illness, i wished to be a musician. That's how I started playing, and i handiest wanted to play drums. You be aware of, I'm blessed because I'm nonetheless enjoying."
"The Beatles were simply four guys that adored each different. it is all they will ever be."