Tag Archive | other authors

Mental Illness is in the writer’s genes.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.

–E. L. Doctorow

Totally! :D

What makes a classic.

A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.

~ Edith Wharton

Do not laugh at the science fiction writer.

Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. …Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about.

Ray BradburyBrown Daily Herald, March 24, 1995

I’ve never actually read anything written by Ray Bradbury. (I honestly don’t have the time at the moment.) However, between this and how he defines science fiction, I think he may be very interesting.

Use your brain!

I encourage you to please seriously consider these words, because more often I am finding in movies the existence of plot holes that should have been addressed and yet are left unattended like an open sore. Know this: Few manuscripts with a plot hole will survive much longer than ten years.

Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them.

Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, 1820

Struggles with writing.

In keeping with my series this week of formal writing, I have collected a series of quotes from other writers that may or may not be applicable.

For all those people who stare at the screen, not sure where to start.

A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God.

–Sidney Sheldon

For all those wondering what on earth you’re suppose to cite.

When you take stuff from one writer, it’s plagiarism. But when you take it from many writers, it’s research.

–William Mizner

Now, in case you were wondering about the editing part of it.

There is no great writing, only great rewriting.

–Justice Brandeis

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.

–Thomas Jefferson

And then if you are ever wondering if you will get it right.

The moment of recognizing your own lack of talent is a flash of genius.

–Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I’m one of the world’s great rewriters.

—-James A. Michener

So just remember, all writing takes time, patience, energy and a good portion of you wanting to learn and edit.

And if you want some more help “Things I’ve Learned From Editing Other People’s Papers” is advice I’ve written up from one of my jobs, and may be of help.

The Burden of Writing

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.
Z.N. Hurston

Everyone’s Writing Stinks.

So although I normally post links on Thursday, and interesting facts on Wednesday, I’m breaking from my usual routine for a very simple reason. (Well, two simple reasons.) First, I’m much too tired to put any energy into writing a decent post tonight. Second, I really would like to write a post about my bus trip, since buses are commonly used in fiction and I think an accurate portrayal of them makes sense to explain.

That being said, my friend shared this funny page  about one star reviews for classic books on Amazon. This is as a reminder that even the best writers are told their books are bad.

Some from the books I’ve read/know:

The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

Author: John Steinbeck

“While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.”

The Great Gatsby (1925)

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

“It grieves me deeply that we Americans should take as our classic a book that is no more than a lengthy description of the doings of fops.”

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)

Author: C.S. Lewis

“I bought these books to have something nice to read to my grandkids. I had to stop, however, because the books are nothing more than advertisements for “Turkish Delight,” a candy popular in the U.K. The whole point of buying books for my grandkids was to give them a break from advertising, and here (throughout) are ads for this “Turkish Delight”! How much money is this Mr. Lewis getting from the Cadbury’s chocolate company anyway? This man must be laughing to the bank.”

1984 (1948)

Author: George Orwell

“Don’t listen to anyone who tries to distinguish between “serious” works of literature like this one and allegedly “lesser” novels. The distinction is entirely illusory, because no novels are “better” than any others, and the concept of a “great novel” is an intellectual hoax. This book isn’t as good as Harry Potter in MY opinion, and no one can refute me. Tastes are relative!”

The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
Author: John Steinbeck

“While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.”

To Make Writing Both Interesting and Original

C. S. Lewis is perhaps one of my favorite authors. He wrote Chronicles of Naria (which I love. Don’t go after the recent movies.) and The Screwtape Letters are very good. So it makes sense that I would eventually quote him here.

C. S. Lewis

Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

— C. S. Lewis

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

— C. S. Lewis

bookstore = desire to write

So, if you are new to my blog you might not know that I live in small town South Dakota. Due to this slight location difficulty, I can get to a book store perhaps once every couple months, due to it being an hour away. But, bookstores are always a source of interesting emotions to me.

Being a science fiction writer, I often find myself checking out the recent release and other books that appear good in science fiction/fantasy section. I never buy books in the store and rarely do I buy books off of Amazon. The reason? A lot of it has to do with I’m too worried about getting a bad book. A lot of it has to do with my strict determination to maintain a sense of morality in what I read, that sense of morality being low swearing and low on sexual references/sex, if any.

But worse is that recently I haven’t found anything that I have actually wanted to read. I’ve liked some Orson Scott Card books, so I think I’m going to see what he does outside of Ender’s universe. (I saw Treason today and it looked interesting.) And actually Asimov looks very interest in some of his other books, so I’ll look at those. But in general, the new books are rather dull.

Which leads me into why bookstores are very unique for me. They make me want to write. Either I am incredibly unique in my interests, or there are other people out there who want to read what I want to read.

So my solution? I’ll write what I want to read. Obviously, that isn’t the best solution in the world. For one, it means that my writing skills don’t really improve with what I read. But in all honesty, is what is put out right now worth basing one’s writing skills on? I learned almost more about characters from reading a Charlotte Yonge (circa 1850) than I have from anything else. And I don’t see what people are doing thus far in science fiction. For all I know, someone has already written every story that I want to write. (Although my opinion is that by writing something that may have a little bit of three or four authors ideas, along with some of my own, it automatically becomes all mine. That is a whole entire blog entry.)

I would like to be able to read the kind of stories I like but I don’t know how to find them. Actually, what’s really bad is sometimes I want to just sit down and read a story that hasn’t been written at all, just to know where it ends up. But I like the idea of writing and by seeing how much  there isn’t in Barnes & Noble to read, it makes me want to write, and get published all the more.

On one other note, there seems to be a lot of fantasy published right now. I’m not sure why. Maybe it has to do with the Twilight craze or something. But my (probably faulty) logic is that eventually publishers are going to stop wanting to publish fantasy and go more towards science fiction again. I need to be there with my book, sooner rather than later, because if this happens, I want to have a shot.

Since, another one of my (probably faulty) logical deductions is that recently publishers have been accepting younger authors’ works. It used to be the case that authors were generally in their fifties or sixties and now they can be younger. If, for some reason, they see this as a bonus (more stories to be written by a younger author = more money maybe?), then I also have an advantage. (Although being the eldest of four, turning twenty-two this year and still hardly anything done in life, I’m questioning my youth on occasionally. Mentally, I’m still very young but age wise… ? Yeah, okay, I still look like I’m a teenager.)

So, this ended up being a giant ramble but to summarize so you’re not completely lost, I want to read good books. But good books are difficult to find, even in bookstores. So I write the books I want to read and hope that someday (preferably sooner) they’ll be published so others can read them as well.

One thing that I would like to ask published authors if you are reading this. I would be much more likely to read your book if I knew what I was getting into with morality before I began reading it. Don’t need to know the details like how many times they say F***. Just general comments would suffice. Thank you.

books vs. movies

Supposedly, Americans watch 28 hours of TV per week. I find that slightly hard to believe, consider that I watch about six and think that is high and I should be watching less. Then again, I barely watched thirty minutes when I was a child.

Anyway, I don’t mind TV. One thing that’s really nice about TV is that I can do something while watching it. I like knitting but to sit on the couch and knit for forty-five minutes seems like a waste of time. However, sitting on the couch for forty-five minutes knitting and watching TV does not.

What I don’t like is when people decide to make books out of movies. Yes, there are some really good books to moves out there. Princess Bride is very good. (But what do you expect with the author, who had previous screen writing experience, writes the script?) Lord of the Rings is good. I’m sure if I thought harder, I could come up with other good ones. However, the fact is they aren’t all that common. (Well, neither are really good movies.)

Now, what I have seen happen is a really good movie is out there and I find out it’s a book as well. Never would have guessed and probably don’t even want to read it. It would ruin the movie. In all practicality, books and movies should never cross.

So why do I bring this up now? I was reading an article about “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is going out to movie (never heard of the book to be honest) and it reminded me of all the really bad books to movies out there.

Ever read Eragon? I, will admit, was being hard on the book due to the negative reviews I’ve heard but it was not that wonderful. Maybe a 2 on a 5 star scale. The movie was worse. It didn’t even resemble the book and they felt like they had to add tension by showing what was going on with the bad guy, only, it came up lame and like an evil maniac.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of any more really bad book to movies right now besides Sense and Sensibility, and I have to take my sister’s word on that one.

The fact is though that books-to-movies don’t really come out. This becomes hard because sometimes, as i write, I can almost imagine my story as a movie form. Natlie’s there, in the pouring raining, trying to rebuild the crossbows and the dragon lands behind her. The poor little creature looks so miserable. She cautiously steps towards it. It would just be so perfect!

Never will happen though. Why? Because I’ve seen too many good books ruined by bad movies. Moreover, movie makers want to ruin your book. I’m convinced of it.

I heard a book intro from Orson Scott Card about trying to get Ender’s GAme made into a movie. Besides the problem of there isn’t enough children actors that are good, movie companies want to make Ender about 16, instead of the 12 he is in his book. Card is determined to have Ender be 12, because otherwise the story doesn’t work well and they want to have him have a love interest. A love interest in that book will not work.

So, from my position on my living room couch as an unpublished, unknown writer, I don’t think I’ll never agree to get my book turned into a movie, no matter what they say to me.

What I do think would be awesome to do, however, is take some of those older books that were writing in the 1800s, and make them into a TV show, one season for one book. Books by people like Charlotte Mary Yonge, that took my mom almost a month or two to read to use aloud every school day. (You can download a copy of one of her books there. Highly recommended, especially if you like Jane Austin.) If they were done well, there just might be enough people watching it.