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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Start Anywhere

This is one of the best self-critique exercises I've ever read, no matter what form you're writing in, from Bill Roorbach's wonderful blog, Bad Advice Wednesday:
"Here’s a test exercise to invoke as you’re writing a book or story, a play or essay, really anything: flip to any page thereof and declare any paragraph or scene you find there the first paragraph or scene of the work in hand.  And read as if it were.  Read it aloud.  Does it rise to the occasion?  It should.  Does it inspire a new way of thinking about your material or story?  It might.  Does it seem to cast a different character or idea or storyline in a newly leading role? 

I'll be following this blog! I'm done (I think) with my novel about travelers in Northern Italy, but of course the editing is never over until they grab the file out of your hands forcibly. Happy writing!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Juggling with the Muse

Have you ever seen two jugglers work at keeping the same six or eight balls in the air together? They face each other, but they never look at one another, only at the balls in the air (that's the whole trick of juggling, keep your eye on the ball). I juggle with the Muse some days, most days. Ideas are the balls in the air, my stock in trade both as a grant writer and a creative writer, so it's like being in the midst of a hive of bees a lot of the time. But that's another metaphor. I keep the many balls of idea aloft by being willing to be distracted from one by another, and also having great ways to quickly record them and remember where I put them. Enter the Smartphone -- in my case, an iPhone with dictation. A few words into my phone become a note becomes an email to myself, and I don't even have to slow my walking pace. More ideas that were central to some project came through this way!

What's your favorite device to catch the flying ideas on the wing?