Guest Post: Miri Castor

With this post, I’m introducing a new feature: Guest Posts! I think this will be a great way to broaden the scope of my blog, introduce bloggers and authors, and discuss things I’m not well versed on or do not usually mention on here.

The first person to be featured is Miri Castor, author of the young-adult fantasy series Opal Charm, who will share what it took to write the first novel in the series, The Path to Dawn.

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thoughts on writing from Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami quote

“Writing is similar to trying to seduce a woman. A lot has to do with practice, but mostly it’s innate. Anyway, good luck.”

“….You have to be mindful when you’re writing something. I keep in mind to ‘not have the pen get too mighty’ when I write. I choose my words so the least amount of people get hurt, but that’s also hard to achieve. No matter what is written, there is a chance of someone getting hurt or offending someone. Keeping all that in mind, I try as much as I can to write something that will not hurt anyone. This is a moral every writer should follow.

But at the same time, when you need to fight a battle, you also need to reserve energy to be able to fight. Something like what you use to tighten your stomach. But that’s only when you really need to. If you recklessly make the pen mightier than the sword, you’re putting yourself in danger. That’s my personal opinion. Some may think otherwise.”

Haruki Murakami, from Vulture’s collection of the best advice Murakami posted in response to reader-submitted questions. The interaction took place on the author’s website, Mr. Murakami’s Place (Murakami-san no tokoro), most of which is in Japanese, but Vulture translated the ones included in its column. Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer. His most recent novels are Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and IQ84.

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thoughts on Fiction Writing from Annie Weatherwax

quote from Annie Weatherwax

“I learned how to write fiction by understanding the language of visual art.”

“Fiction writing for me has much more to do with the disciplined skill of seeing than with the study of literature. Seeing has little to do with language. In fact, true seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees. It is looking at a piece of paper and seeing a tree, then seeing the man who chopped it down, his hands, his face, how he walks. Hidden inside those visual details is the story of his life.”

“Body language can reveal more about character than almost any other detail.”

“The process of finding a character in a hunk of clay is the same as finding a story on a blank page. You must work a piece from all angles and recognize the danger of focusing too quickly on details when the structure and form have not yet been fully established.”

—Annie Weatherwax, from her Op-Ed piece, “The Art of Fiction Writing,” in the Publisher’s Weekly’s Soapbox section. Weatherwax is a visual artist and writer. She spent most of her career sculpting superheroes and cartoon characters for Nickelodeon, DC Comics, Warner Bros., Pixar, and others. Her debut novel, All We Had, will be published by Scribner in August 2014. Visit her website to see her work.

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“Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” by Mason Currey

Daily Rituals

Available on Amazon and at you local bookstore.

What is your daily routine?

Me? I wake up and get dressed while listening to NPR then dash out the door to race up the street to catch the bus (I’m usually running late). Then I read or play a game (Lumosity to improve my memory) while riding the bus to the train. Once on the train, I read or catch up on any vestiges of sleep I missed when I jumped out my bed at the ring of my fifth alarm.

I grab breakfast on my way to work (bagel and hot chocolate, or, if I’m in the mood to be nice to myself, French toast) and eat while working. Break for lunch at 2 or 3, read while eating, then back to work. The afternoons are for pleasing myself, which may consist of hanging with a friend, visiting a bookstore or museum, walking and musing to myself, or more reading while travelling. My nights are spent trolling the internet or bingeing on Netflix before turning in to bed.

The weekends aren’t much different the exception being that I don’t move around as much. I wake late, read in bed, and binge on Netflix all day. I may take a walk/hike or call a friend and, if the inspiration hits, write. Otherwise I spend the day prone with my eyes glued to my laptop, numbing my brain.

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“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon

Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes, books, cups, t-shirts, shoes, hats, anything. If it has words of encouragement, I want to buy it. If it’s meant to cheer you up and get started on creating something, I want to get it. If it’s to help build your creative confidence, I want to read it. So it should be no surprise that I bought and read Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. I think I first read of this book in one of the many posts on Maria Popova’s website, Brain Pickings (I love that website! It’s a source of inspiration for creativity). After looking up the book on Amazon, I decided that I must get it.

The first thing I love about this book is the presentation. I don’t know what the cover is made of but it’s that smooth but thick, jacket-like cover that I find on most YA novels. I like the texture so I keep touching it. I also like that it’s made to look like a blackboard with the writings in chalk. There are doodles by the author throughout its pages to give it a fun appeal, which is certain to tickle the creative spot.

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advice to Aspiring Authors from Junot Díaz

Junot Diaz advice to authors

“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.”

—Junot Díaz, from The Daily Beast’s “How I Write” interviews. Díaz is a Dominican-American author, who is known for his best-selling novel, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His latest book, This Is How You Lose Her, is a collection of short stories that was a finalist for the National Book Award.

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