The art of rewriting

The art of rewriting photoPhoto by Matthew Payne at Unsplash

First drafts are supposed to be awful.

That’s what they are for. You simply give yourself the permission necessary to write badly if you have to, for the purpose of getting the bones of the story down on the page. There will be time for fix-ups later.

So you do this thing, and the story comes out, and there it is, staring at you. And yea, verily, in your mind’s eye it was ever beautiful – and it’s still marginally lovely – but now that it is outside of you it begins to be glimpsed in its true shape.

And there…are..imperfections.

Let’s see. This can be tweaked. That can be fixed. This other thing needs to go, really. Something else needs to be written, and added in, to add clarity.

You know the drill.

For most of us, the architecture of the town of First Draft is familiar, and I have no real doubt that we’d probably recognize one another’s FirstDraftTowns fairly easily. But a strange thing happens when each individual writer leaves the city limits, en route for the wilds of SecondDraftia. It’s a dimensional portal that sends everybody to a different place, unique to themselves, full or peculiar traps and difficulties that are never quite found in the same shape or form in any other writer’s world.

i.e. All first drafts are rotten in a similar way. Every second draft has its own unique problems.

Different writers react to the art and the craft (and it is both) of rewriting in their own peculiar ways. Some tell me that they enjoy the act of rewriting and editing far more than they enjoy the actual storytelling – because for them the telling of the story is the hard part, and now that they have that, in however awful a shape, for them the real fun begins, and that is actually chiseling this raw and barely recognizable slab of marble into a real Michelangelo’s David, chipping away one tiny flake of marble at a time until it is all perfect and polished.

Others, – and oh dear GOD I fall into this category – want to tear their hair out at the roots at this point. Because the story, you see, has been told, and yes we who feel this way can see that it isn’t without flaw, nothing ever is, but in some senses it is perfect, it has a shape and a form and a balance inside our heads, and changing anything tends to have consequences everywhere, and you are faced with continuity issues from hell itself, and AAAARGH.

It’s the difference in tone – having a character say something as simple as “I’m sorry” in a different tone of voice, an inflection that might change it from an empty phrase of cold indifference (I’m sorry but I couldn’t care less really) to a genuine and sincere sympathy. It changes that character. And it changes the way other people respond to that character. And that changes other conversations. And that changes what people might have known, and when they might have known it. And that changes the flow of the story. And that…

Well, you get the idea.

Before too long, you pull out one thread and you realize that it’s all falling apart around you and you’re scrambling to hold together in a coherent whole something that looked perfectly solid just a moment before. It’s like the cement holding the story together suddenly turns to jello on you and the edifice starts tottering precariously and oops, there goes a piece you really didn’t want to lose but argh it doesn’t fit any more, and dammit, there’s all those words on the cutting room floor and wasn’t there something important there that you absolutely need to salvage – or rephrase – or do something constructive with…

Pardon the mess.

And you know what the worst of it is? It’s that if you’re good enough you’ll end up with a seamless piece of prose that doesn’t look like it’s been tinkered with, that looks like it’s always been perfect, that it was born this way. A reader who never saw the original will never know.

And they shouldn’t, that’s part of the point, but while you’re in the throes of working as hard as you know how, trying your damndest to change your beloved tale from passable to good or maybe even from good to great, you know that this part of your job is always going to be done alone and in the dark and without reward. It’s just a hard slog. Yes, knowing that there is something worthwhile at the end of it all helps but in the meantime you’re working on your own in the dark with a flashlight held between your teeth and with the right tools always just out of reach in the shadows.

I’ve just started writing a new novel now, a story that excites me and could be even be something transcendent, an eagle, soaring high and powerful up there in the open skies.

It’s not even a first draft yet, but all too soon it will be. And then the dreaded rewriting starts all over again.

However much of a mess that first draft is going to be, the basic good story will be there. In the rewriting I will have to make it better, and it can always be better, I know that.

But still – it is one of those things that I will be glad to have done even though I will be far from happy doing it. With luck, those of you who might read it one day will never know what I changed, how I tweaked, what I had to lose and what it was necessary to graft on.

And please, for the the sake of everybody involved… if you should happen to see a little dust, or a stray broken bit of a past imperfection littering the floor at the feet of the completed story statue, be merciful, and forgive. And kick it discreetly someplace out of sight.

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Wired asked writers to create 6-word SF stories.

Easy. Just touch the match to
– Ursula K. Le Guin

More from Wired HERE

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No women or girls

At The Huffington Post, Claire Fallon notes that books about women don’t win major prizes, and asks:

“How Can We Change That?”

Man, woman, cyborg — no matter what kind of writer you are, Fallon says, if you want to win a major literary award, there’s just one thing you have to do: Make sure your main character is a man.

Okay, it still helps to be a man, writing about men, but a woman writing about men will fare far better than a woman writing about women, at least if she wants to be a contender for awards such as the Pulitzer for fiction or the Man Booker Prize.

Nicola Griffith, the acclaimed author of Hild and Ammonite, recently broke down the last 15 years of major fiction prize-winners by the gender of the author and the main character, and the resulting pie charts are pretty startling.Pulitzer Prize chart
Read the whole story HERE

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How White and Male is the Media?

The media has long been a white boys club, my husband, a former newsman, often pontificates…errr, says. A new Women’s Media Center report on gender in media — film, TV, and print — backs him up.

The report notes, for example, that newspaper editorial boards of the ten largest newspapers on average, were comprised of seven men and four women, and newsroom staffs are incredibly white.Media gender biasAt Flavorwire, Sarah Seltzer takes a detailed look at the situation.

Read the whole story HERE

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Elementary School Boys Fight BullyingKids on bullyingThere is a particular joy in reading a story of kids banding together to help and support a weaker member of the herd rather than taking the path of lesser resistance and ganging up to ridicule that poor victim’s inadequacies. These five boys give me hope for humanity.

As someone who wrote a book in which issues such as bullying and discrimination play a major part (RANDOM, in The Were Chronicles), I was drawn to this story – and then I just sat there and grinned and cheered as I watched that video, those kids. The kids who chose the power of love over love of power. Well, DONE, all of you. I am sitting here and applauding.

At littlethings.com, Catie Keck gives us a full report.

Story and video HERE

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My recent appearance on John Scalzi’s Big Idea slot on his very popular blog really showed the power of a following. For a couple of days I basked in the reflected glory, as visits to my own blog quadrupled from that one posting I guest-made on Scalzi’s – and even now there’s a trickle down and I keep on seeing visitors who come to me through him.

For the sake of the books which have been the recipients of this spike in attention, I am very happy. For my blog – hey – Scalzi folk who might have moseyed by – do stick around 🙂

ICYMI, That post on Scalzi’s site HERE

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21 Famous Authors’ Favorite Books

At Mental Floss, Sonia Weiser notes that one key to being a good writer is to always keep reading—and that doesn’t stop after you’ve been published. Here are 21 authors’ favorite reads. Who knows, one of these books might become your new favorite.

Not suprisingly, I was intrigued by Ray Bradury’s choice(s):

Ray Bradbury

US science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Bradbury discussed his favorite books in a 2003 interview when he was 83. Among them, he said, were “The collected essays of George Bernard Shaw, which contain all of the intelligence of humanity during the last hundred years and perhaps more,” books written by Loren Eisley, “who is our greatest poet/essayist of the last 40 years,” and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

The books that most influenced his career—and are presumably favorites as well—were those in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter, Warlord of Mars series. “[They] entered my life when I was 10 and caused me to go out on the lawns of summer, put up my hands, and ask for Mars to take me home,” Bradbury said. “Within a short time I began to write and have continued that process ever since, all because of Mr. Burroughs.”

Read the whole story HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

In the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s Spock!

Asteroid Named in Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

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Bookindy Allows Users To Browse Amazon, Buy Indie

Read the whole story HERE

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Seattle Tops Amazon’s ‘Most Well-Read Cities’ List’

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Quote of the dayQUOTE Vincent van Gogh~~~~~
Alma Alexander      My books      Email me

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I will walk with you…

When I was a little girl one in my family’s extensive collection of 45 rpm singles — remember those? turntables? vinyl? — was a record of Grieg’s Peer Gynt suite.

I’ve always loved that entire set of music – The Hall of the Mountain King, Anitra’s Dance, the Morning Mood air – but my particular favorite has always been Solveig’s Song. It touched some part of me that I could not, when that young, properly articulate, and did not even know why back then – understanding came well after I first heard the piece of music, and actually read the Ibsen play.

The epiphany explaining that bittersweet, noble, pure, high-minded *joy* of Grieg’s music came when I read the exchange between a remorseful, grieving, bereft Peer Gynt to Solveig, his lady, his love, and he cries out to her, in his anguish, “when have I ever been all I can be,  when have I ever been entitled to call myself honest, true, a *man*?”

She answers, “In my faith. In my hope. In my understanding.”

That piece of absolution rang for me like a bell.

What it means is simply this: it is human to blunder, it is human to make mistakes, it is human to be afraid. But if you are brave enough and honest enough to admit to these human flaws, then there is faith, and hope, and understanding.

In the aftermath of the Hugo drama unfolding this year, writer Vonda McIntyre just wrote a short note which put Solveig’s words into a certain context.

It may not be pure understanding – it is certainly not implied that there is, or will be, complete acceptance – but she is offering herself as a buffer between anyone who is afraid, and all the shadows which are starting  to look as though they might haunt the halls of this year’s Worldcon.

Here’s what Vonda McIntyre said:

“I will walk with you at Worldcon.

I’m not very fond of confrontation. I’m a courtesy 5’1? and my 67th birthday (how did that happen?!) is just after the convention and I’m walking with a hiking pole while recovering from a hiking fall, an injury that’s taking way longer to heal than when I was a pup.

On the other hand I’m a shodan in Aikido.

On the third hand, which I can have because I’m an SF writer, shodan — first degree black belt — is when you realize how much you still have to learn.

But I’m thinking that maybe it would make folks who feel threatened feel a little safer to have someone at their side, maybe even someone with a bunch o’ fancy ribbons fluttering from her name badge, even if that person is shorter, smaller, and older than they are, white-haired and not physically prepossessing. It’s another person’s presence.

It might cause some abuse not to happen.”
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I am no less scared by some of those shadows than the next vulnerable con-goer – but if my presence will help someone else walk a little taller past a threatening shadow in some dark corner, I am stepping up with the same words.

I will walk with you at Worldcon.

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VB RandomA Random treat

“Books are great, no question,” my favorite local bookstore, Village Books, says. “But books signed by the author? Now that’s some exceptional reading material right there.”

My Random, Book 1 of The Were Chronicles, is featured here. If you haven’t read it, hurry up. Book 2, Wolf, is coming out next month.

Order Random from Village Books HERE

Or go to MY BOOKS in the masthead menu above for more options, including the chance to pre-order Wolf.

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Or don’t forget your library. And if they don’t have a copy of Random, ask why not?

The Best Books about Libraries and Librarians

At Off the Self, Caitlin Kleinschmidt  offers some intriguing books in time for National Library Week.

One you might not put in this category until you think about it…

Time Traveler's WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger:

This untraditional love story is the tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course.

Their passionate affair tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.

 

 

Read the whole story HERE

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25 Beverly Cleary Book Covers on her 99th Birthday

Beverly Cleary book covers are classics, Alison Nastasi writes at Flavorwire.

Often, there was nothing more exciting than getting a new Cleary book and seeing what kind of young adult dramas were playing out on the page, lovingly illustrated by artists like Louis Darling and Alan Tiegreen. The Newbery Medal-winning author celebrates her 99th birthday today. We’re honoring Cleary’s memorable characters — Ramona Quimby, Beezus, Ralph S. Mouse, and friends — with a look back at some of the best vintage book covers.
socksRead the whole story HERE

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Writing a great female character

Justine Graykin blogged some sterling writing adice:

In a recent discussion, a fellow writer said, “This is how to create a good female character: Write a good character. Add female pronouns.”

Brilliant.
pronounsAnd I say, ‘Amen.’

Read the whole story HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

I can finally go into space.

The International Space Station Finally Gets an Espresso Machine, and It’s Called ‘ISSPresso’

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Quote of the Day
QUOTE Words you speak~~~~~
Alma Alexander     My books     Email me

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Ever heard me?

I mean heard my real voice, not the one you hear in your head when you read one of my books? No? Well here’s your chance.The Skiffy and Fanty podcast is a, deservedly and perennially, award-nominated podcast show that I’ve been listening to for ages.
podcastI’ve heard their interviews with writers I’ve long known and loved, and sometimes writers I didn’t know but whose personalities and insights as they shone through these online chats made me sit up and become interested in what ELSE they had to say, in their books. And then, one day, like in ALL the best stories, it was my turn in the Skiffy and Fanty spotlight:
We talk about her werecritter culture, the immigrant experience, language, and much more!
I enjoyed this chat immensely; I hope you do too.  
Listen to it here
 
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In the dark of winterThe days seem impossibly short and the nights never ending, Emily Temple writes at Flavorwire, and suggests that it’s a great time for reading dark books. After all, there’s nothing better to cut through the literal gloom than to curl up with some intellectual doom. All you need is a tiny light to see your book by.  She offers 50 of them, starting with the REAL Grimm fairy tales we’ve been talking about recently.Then there is:
Wittgenstein’s Mistress

Wittgenstein’s Mistress, David Markson
A series of missives from the typewriter of the last woman on earth as she mulls over art, literature, life, and her own tragedies.
Or pick one of the other 49
 
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But to lighten the mood, The Stylist offers…
20 opening lines from our favorite Christmas books
My favorite is, of course…
The Grinch Who Stole ChristmasEvery who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot.” 
See the rest
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50 Writers You Need to See Read Live:  It’s a pleasant surprise when a writer is dynamite in person, Elisabeth Donnelly  writes at Flavorwire, “whether they’re reading their work or answering questions with confidence and something like charisma. The best live appearances by writers are able to cast a spell over the audience — through a variety of elements — and here are 50 writers make that achievement look easy.”e.g.
Gary ShteyngartGary Shteyngart
He’s very, very funny and quick-witted and he’s written scarily accurate speculative fiction about our future world. Your ribs will hurt from laughing after seeing him live.

See all 50

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A holiday reminder

Books make Great Gifts

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THIS ‘n THAT

Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and a practice of an art,” Ursula K. Le Guin said at the 2014 National Book Awards.

And she had some thoughts about Amazon, the “profiteer” trying to “punish a publisher for disobedience.

“…I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds. But, the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.

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An Upstate New York Home Gets the World’s Most Colorful Makeover
Rainbow housePhoto: Kat O’Sullivan

See ALL the photos here

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Quote of the Day

QUOTE Astrid Lindgren~~~~~
Alma Alexander     My books     Email me

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Women on Mars?

Women on Mars.Photo illustration by Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo

Is an All-Female Mission to Mars the best way to go?

Medical studies at the start of the space race showed that women have stronger hearts, could better withstand radiation, and coped better than men in isolation. And because of their size, they’d be cheaper to launch and fly than men.

That didn’t cut any ice in the macho 50s during the all-male moon missions, but now?

Well, NASA has done some new studies, Kate Greene reports in Slate, that verify much of the earlier tests. And with the astronomical costs of a Mars Mission, maybe we’ll take another look at the value of an all-women crew?

I’m not holding my breath.

Read the article

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If NASA had believed in merit: The terrible injustice of Jerrie Cobb,

The first American astronauts, dubbed the Mercury 7, were certainly well-qualified, but the best candidate was constantly passed over — and for all the wrong reasons.
Jerrie CobbWhen the space race began, Jerrie Cobb, 26, seemed like the perfect fit for astronaut. Thirteen American women — today known as the Mercury 13 — were selected to participate in the three phases of testing as astronauts. Cobb was the only one who passed them all.

Not only did she pass, her scores placed her in the top 2% of all candidates, meaning that if the same criteria that were applied to the Mercury 7 were applied to her as well, she would have been selected. But without official NASA backing, the testing and training programs for women were shut down. Cobb never made it into space.

Read the article

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Mercury 13There’s a commemoration poster in the honor of the Mercury 13, the women selected for astronaut training in the early days of space exploration., that contains an excerpt from a poem of mine.

For the first incandescent moments when NASA asked if the could use my poem, all I could do was sit and stare. And then I screamed. And then I cried. And then, after I tapped out a permission slip, it began to sink in for real.

NASA WANTED TO USE MY POEM.

I was, at least vicariously, finally going into space.

Read the article

See the poem here

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Writer’s tics

My first reader and editor (aka husband) often exclaims “Weasel Word” as he gleefully slashes from my copy such modifiers as “sort-of”, “probably”, “perhaps”.

Sometimes, I concede, he’s sort of got a point.

Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich admits that she has a writing tic: colons.

I love colons. A colon is more emphatic than a comma, tidier than a dash. It’s a tiny drumroll that tells the reader: Get ready. Something important or shocking is on the way. Because I love colons so much, it pains me to acknowledge that my attraction to them borders on addiction.

She asked several other writers “What tic (or call it a habit) would you like to change in your writing?”

Gillian FlynnShe got some fascinating replies, including one from Gillian Flynn, author of the phenomenon known as “Gone Girl:
“I’m trying to wean myself off my very Gen X abuse of the word ‘literally,’ ” she said. “Gone Girl contains at least 33 uses of the word, which is 32 more times than any single novel needs. … I basically (literally) use it instead of an exclamation mark.”

Read the article

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Must reads for Feminists

The other day we talked about the books by women that all men should read. Now Emma Cueto at Bustle gives us:

13 Contemporary Novels All Feminists Should Read
Feminist booksFeminists and books go together, Cueto says. Whether feminists are writing books or reading them or both, the literary world has long been a place for women to tell their stories, in both fiction and nonfiction. It’s been a place for women to do so on their own terms, not through male intermediaries. And in today’s literary landscape, that is more true than ever.

Read the article

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THIS ‘n THAT

The Literary United States: A Map of the Best Book for Every State
Book mapillustration by Sarah Lutkenhaus

Read the article

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The 10 Best Mark Twain Books

Read the article

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11 of the Most Chilling Book Covers Ever Published

Turn of the ScewRead the article

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Quote of the Day

I would give my life to fly in space. It’s hard for me to talk about it but I would. I would then, and I will now.” ~ Jerrie Cobb

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Alma Alexander
My books

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A character tells me off

It started last night.

He turned up in my dream, Chalky, the protagonist of my current WIP. He’s nineteen years old, pushing twenty. He’s a kid who has had a helluva twisted childhood (of course he did, he’s one of my characters) and he’s never really been a ‘kid’, he’s cocky, and he’s vulnerable, and he’s a wretched little know-it-all, and there he was, sitting on the side of my bed, kicking his heels on the bed frame.

“You’re doing it wrong,” he said.

“Oh, what now?”

“That scene, The new material. You’re *rushing* it. I have to know certain things but you haven’t given me time to learn them.”

“Am not rushing it. I need to…”

He interrupts me. “It’s nothing but a synopsis,”

Dammit, he’s right. I’m unpacking the the scene in my head. There are four pages worth of material behind a single paragraph there. I growl.

“What if you…”

“Shut UP,” I snap. “Did I ask you for advice?”

He shrugs, “Just thought I’d point it out. And another thing.”

“What?”

“You need to figure it out.”

“Figure WHAT out?”

“What I want. What my motivation is.”

“Now you go all Galaxy Quest on me?”

“But I”m not a rock,” he points out helpfully.

I growl again. I seem to be doing a lot of growling. But I”m still kind of asleep. At this point stuff happens (cat sticks nose in my ear) and I come wide awake, and he’s gone, of course, with just that smarmy voice left: ‘You’re doing it wrong.’

That voice stays in my head like a gnat. I barely choke down breakfast. Then I take a cup of coffee down to the computer thinking that maybe it might help me clarify things.

He’s RIGHT the little sod. It IS a synopsis. I had to have him visit me in my dream to tell me I’m screwing up the book??? That’s just *rude*.

Whatever. I go back to the beginning of the problem.

Then I discover that isn’t the beginning of the problem, and go further back. Then something else falls down in a heap and mocks me. I take a large swallow of coffee, crack my knuckles over the keyboard, and hit “delete”. This scene needs to die.

I start again from the beginning. A different beginning.

This time there’s… something. There’s a note of truth in it (yes this is a story about Were-creatures. Yes, every word of it is ‘true’. Why do you ask?) I keep typing, scowling at the scene. The dialogue comes down the riverbed of story like somebody just blew up a dam upstream. Yeah, Chalky, I saw the fuse string dangling from your pocket.

But this water is clean. it is clear. it is deep.

I keep scowling. If there’s something I always resent it’s when my characters refuse to cooperate with me until I finally agree to cooperating with them, and withhold their participation in my story until this is accomplished.

I mean, I can write scenes for them. I can write dialogue for them. They’ll say it because I said they must say it. But they will say it without inflection, without passion, without any kind of feeling, and they’ll sound like robots until such time as I grit my teeth and let them say what they want how they want. And then all of a sudden they’re frigging Shakespeare and everything they say sings. I hate it when my characters are better writers than I am.

I really hate it.

Particularly when they haunt my sleep to tell me so.

I lift my hands from the keyboard. The coffee’s long gone and the light is different outside. It’s a beautiful scene.

He’s sitting there on the edge of my desk, kicking his heels against the side and smirking.

“Didn’t I tell you so?” he says.

“I want to SLEEP tonight,” I snarl.

He grins. “You did well. I might let you.”

The Were Chronicles

 

The Were Chronicles

by Alma Alexander

 

 

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Alma Alexander
My books

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Amazon Manifest Destiny?

“I’m here to tell you that working with the power who is out to destroy you will never, ever end well,” Aaron John Curtis says. Mohawk by birth, he offers ten reasons why Amazon’s takeover of online retail mirrors the slaughter of Native Americans.
tobacco-david-and-goliathThe “Threat” Will Take Care of Itself

Some tribes, upon seeing the European’s appetite for tobacco consumption, believed there was no “white problem.”  Left to their own devices, Europeans would smoke themselves to death before they did any permanent damage.

When Amazon began gobbling up book sales, some indie booksellers opined that Amazon was too large.  It would overreach, expand too far too fast, and succumb to the sprightly indies who could respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

Hey, guess what?  The spry booksellers and Just Say Nohawks were both wrong.

mexico-cityUrban nightmare (Mexico City)

The End Game
    “Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.”Alanis Obomsawin, Abenaki Nation

Amazon’s Manifest Destiny

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The Power of Cherokee Women

Cherokee Mother-and-ChildEuropeans were astonished to see that Cherokee women were the equals of men—politically, economically and theologically, Carolyn Johnston, author of Cherokee Women in Crisis, says.

“Women had autonomy and sexual freedom, could obtain divorce easily, rarely experienced rape or domestic violence, worked as producers/farmers, owned their own homes and fields, possessed a cosmology that contains female supernatural figures, and had significant political and economic power,” she writes.

“Cherokee women’s close association with nature, as mothers and producers, served as a basis of their power within the tribe, not as a basis of oppression. Their position as ‘the other’ led to gender equivalence, not hierarchy.”

Cherokee Women

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This Is Your Brain on Writing

alma writing rik-Durham-reverse-layup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A novelist scrawling away in a notebook in seclusion may not seem to have much in common with an NBA player doing a reverse layup on a basketball court before a screaming crowd, Carl Zimmer writes in the New York Times. But if you could peer inside their heads, you might see some striking similarities in how their brains were churning.

That’s one of the implications of new research on the neuroscience of creative writing. For the first time, neuroscientists have used fMRI scanners to track the brain activity of both experienced and novice writers as they sat down — or, in this case, lay down — to turn out a piece of fiction.”

Your Brain on Writing

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Rejected Princesses

Wu ZetianWu Zetian

Introducing Wu Zetian, first and only Empress of China — seen here poisoning her infant daughter, Imgur tells us.

Now, that’s actually a bit of a historical inaccuracy, we’re told: the generally-accepted truth was that she *strangled* her young daughter, to frame the old queen and get her out of the way. It worked — both the old queen and the old queen’s mother were executed.

From there, she ascended to be Emperor Gaozong’s predominant consort, and set about eradicating all other claimants to the throne. Early on, her method of choice was a slow-acting poison. As time went on and her influence grew, however, she took to engineering treason charges for her opponents, summoning them to the throne room and making them kill themselves in front of her.

More Rejected Princesses

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Quote of the Day

The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.” ~ García Márquez , Love in the Time of Cholera

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Alma Alexander
Check out my books
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Comments welcome. What do you think?