Friday, February 10, 2012

First Newsletter from Nadia Feb 2012

Hi everyone, here is our first newsletter with a selection of things and links you might find handy. Please feel free to add to it. :)

1. Attachment: Short Story Writing book - download and use, even if you are not writing short stories, some rules apply everywhere!
*And a beautiful image for your mood* - Shakespear and Co. bookshop in Paris

2. Video: Paolo Coelho's video podcast. There have been six so far...

3. Tips for Writers from: Joanne Harris (author of 'Chocolat')

- You're ready to edit your manuscript when the prospect of cutting an entire chapter fills you, not with anguish, but joy...

- When editing, try changing the font. It gives a fresh perspective and makes it easier to spot mistakes.

- Deadline (n): object approaching at warp speed. (n) ii: line to be reached, crawling if necessary. Being dead no excuse.

- Get used to the fact that, from now on, for you, there is NO SUCH THING as a weekend or a holiday...

- The most important test of all: the "So what?" test. Apply it daily. Remove anything that doesn't pass...

- Attack of the Killer Plot Device. Characters do not exist to serve your plot, however convenient that may be... :-)

- The "cup of tea" syndrome - when a writer rushes headlong towards the end of a scene in order to get it finished. Avoid.

- Teach your children to forage for food AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Choose a husband who likes toast.

- Live in a self-cleaning house.

- Learn to tell the difference between the people who like you for WHO you are, and those who like you for WHAT you are.

- Other writers are your colleagues. Persistent bad-mouthing of colleagues just makes you sound like a nob.

- You are not a writer until you have actually WRITTEN SOMETHING. Having potential doesn't count...

- Write because you want to write, not because you want to make money, gain friends, be famous or get laid. (You won't:-)

- This one was given to me when I was just starting out. "Writing is easy. It's the author shit that's hard."

- In the steakhouse that is publishing, the writer is the head chef. In Hollywood, you're just the cow.

- Live with the fact that whatever you do, someone, somewhere will hate you.

- When the magic runs dry, use blood. People rarely spot the difference.

- Only write if there is NOTHING BETTER you can do. If you can fight the compulsion, do it. Life awaits.

4. Exercises:

First lines.  Authors often try to make those as memorable and compelling as possible. Write ten first lines of your own—funny, sad, suspenseful, surprising, or intriguing.  Share what you have written and discuss how yours compare to your favourite author's first lines. Then each person can choose one of his or her opening lines and write a short story following it.

Film director. Analyse your own or your favourite book and cast it as a film director. Explain their casting choices in one to two paragraphs based on the characters of the story, they general mood of it, etc. 

5. Some Fun stuff: Warning! Strong language (but very honest)

6. Useful websites: 

7. Craft: 20 Common Grammar Mistakes + some in the comments 

Nadia Gativa

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