Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmiths Collective Thursday – 16 Weird & Strange Habits of Writers

May 14, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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The strange habits of some famous authors has always interested me. I cannot lay claim to anything this weird, mores the pity. Maybe I can cultivate something? Are you willing to share your ‘strange’ habit?

1. Demosthenes

The ancient Greek writer shaved half his head. Ensuring that by looking so idiotic, he would stay home and work, instead of facing ridicule in public.

2. Henrik Ibsen

The A Doll’s House playwright hung a huge oil painting of his greatest rival on his study wall. Inspiring him to strive to better his enemies.

3. Franz Kafka – Too Much Cake

Kafka allowed himself to eat a whole pineapple upside down cake when he finished a story. He did not share any of it!

4. Mary Shelley – Pet Snake

Shelley’s pet 23-foot-long boa constrictor was housed in her writing studio. With the snake wrapped around her shoulders she would write until the snake became restless and began to squeeze, then she stopped writing for the day.

5. Agatha Christie – Ate apples in the bath.

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6. Isabel Allende – starts every book on the same day January 8.

7. John Steinbeck – needed two dozen sharpened pencils.

8. Patricia Highsmith – ate eggs and bacon for every meal.

9. Virginia Woolf – wrote at a standing desk.

10. Charles Dickens – slept facing north.

11. Dan Brown – hanging upside down inversion therapy for writer’s block.

12. Victor Hugo – wrote without clothes so he could not leave the house to met a deadline.

13. Francine Prose – writes facing a wall to limit distractions.

14. Truman Capote – never started or finish writing on a Friday. 

15. Anthony Burgess – use random words from opening a page in a dictionary to complete a descriptive passage.

16. Lewis Carroll – wrote in purple ink.

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Wordsmiths Collective Thursday – Virtual Writing Groups

April 9, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Peach Photo Women Quote Instagram Post

Yes, we all know writing is a solitary pastime, however we do need to connect with others writers from time to time. In this virtual age many of us have connections across countries as well as in our own place in the world. This is achieved with local writing groups or through the wonders of the internet.

With our imposed isolation those precious moments of physical connection have been extinguished for the time being and ‘virtual’ has become the norm. We have all seen the virtual book readings, book launches and promotions. The greatest thing as far as I am concerned are the growing number of virtual writing groups.

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I have such a group, who link up on Sunday’s for three hours of writing. We can see each other and there is a brief hello and details of what project we are tackling. Then it is heads down and write! At the end we report on progress and feel accomplished. We may not be ‘together’ but we are!

The added benefit is that we are accountable and that drives us to write. No matter the circumstances there is always a way to stay connected.

Happy writing!

Have you found an online group to write with?

How did you discover it?

Did you start one?

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Has Isolation Been Productive or Not?

April 2, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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As we try to occupy ourselves in isolation, has it been productive for your writing or not?

There is an emotional component to this particular imposed isolation that is subduing creativity. Our emotions have always influenced our mood and in turn our writing. Strong emotions, such as anger or depression subdue our creativity while feelings of love and happiness enhance it. Our concentration is in short supply or our focus limited. To pour out these feelings in words can dispel some of them.

You may find it is helpful to journal at this time to help lessen your heightened state of anxiety. It is also a record of our experience for future generations but maybe, also, the genus of an idea for a future work/narrative/story.

As writers we use many influences, experiences, emotions and personal knowledge in our narratives and this extreme situation may give us remarkable ideas. Think positively and use it for inspiration.

I think this particular writing tip is also relevant. With some sort of goal or deadline, even if it is only 20 minute sprints in writing can help us.

Writing Tips:

Set your writing goals for every writing session

Outline your aims for a writing session in order to keep yourself focused. It may help to write down what you want to achieve in the next chapter or scene. However, remember,  to give yourself elbow room. It is okay to depart from your scene summary if you feel the story should go (or wants to go) in a new direction. Personally, I let the story flow but some writers find writing a pre-scene enables them to maintain a clear sense of direction for each scene in relation to their story arc.

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Maybe hook up with another writer and set a time to write virtually. Find a writing prompt and time yourself. There are ways to encourage your Muse, find the one that works for you.

Take care & stay safe. Stay well.

 

Do You Supersede One Story for Another..?

July 9, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Supersede – definition: 1) to be set aside ; replace 2) to take the place of in a position of power, authority

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It is a writers bane to have numerous ideas clamoring inside our heads. Scribbled notes, outlines and partial stories populate our space, whether in our minds or a physical ‘filing’ system of some sort. These ideas tend to reveal themselves when we are in the midst of another project. Why is that? If we are lucky we can jot down the details and carry on but sometimes the new idea will not take second place.

We then have to make the decision whether the new idea should supersede the current work in progress or find a way to ‘ignore’ it’s incessant chatter. Sometimes after writing a simple story arc we are left in peace. However, other times no matter how much we try to disregard the formulating idea it wears us down.

This  phenomenon is not confined to new ideas, however. How many of you have been ‘reminded’ of an older project out of the blue? The project may have been set aside for a number of reasons and quite suddenly the answer to the problem becomes clear. A plot line reveals itself or a character is perfectly defined. With renewed enthusiasm  we return, excited to have found the answer after what can be weeks or even months.

Can you share an instance you experienced?

Conciliating Techniques…

July 5, 2013
mandyevebarnett


ConciliateConciliate – definition: to overcome distrust or hostility : to reconcile

I’m sure several of us have experienced hostility of one kind or another in our lifetime. Whether it was bullying at school, a unpleasant neighbor or suffering conflict in our country. This quote says it all.

http://chalkboardquotes.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/indifference/

To find a way to conciliate is the hard part. Between countries with all the hidden agenda’s obviously takes many years on both sides but on a personal level, can it be easier? Emotions come into play and more often than not ‘fog’ our decision making.

When corporations have issues they use a conciliation process, whereby the opposing parties use a conciliator. It is this conciliator, who meets with the parties separately attempting to resolve the differences. The techniques used lower tensions, improve communications, interpret the issues, provide technical assistance, explore potential solutions and bring about a negotiated settlement.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? But on a personal level do you want someone to be a conciliator? Couples have the option of counselling and family conflicts can be resolved through a similar method. If the relationship is important enough we find a way to reconcile and hopefully in the process learn something about ourselves.

Have you used conciliation in a story? How did you alter your characters thought processes?

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