“These little moments of unlocking, of finding the key to the puzzle, often manifest as first sentences. The first sentence establishes so much as far as tone, verb tense, point of view, even rhythm.”
“Beginnings are a mystery, but to me they’re the most exciting part of writing, when potential seems limitless and all those terrible, thorny problems that will pop up down the line can’t even be imagined.”
—Maggie Shipstead, from Biographile’s Write Start post, Maggie Shipstead on Writers’ Little Moments of Unlocking. Shipstead is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She is also a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her first novel, Seating Arrangements (2013), was a New York Times bestseller, and her second novel, Astonish Me (2014), is now in stores.
“We happen upon ourselves when nothing much happens to us, and we are transformed in the process.”
—Anthony Lane, from his review of “Boyhood” that appeared in The New Yorker. Lane is a British journalist and film critic for The New Yorker. I enjoy reading his quip-filled reviews. He is quite entertaining.
“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.
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.
“You can never overestimate how empowering it is to see someone who looks like you—only older and more successful. That, much more than well-meaning advice and encouragement, tells you that you can make it.”
—Apoorva Mandavilli, from her article, “Alone in a Room Full of Science Writers,” on Medium.com. Mandavilli is a science journalist and adjunct professor at New York University. Her article discusses her experience as a minority in the field of science journalism.
…you can find the strange in the familiar. As long as you’re willing to look beyond what’s already been brought to light, then you can see what’s below the surface, hiding in the shadows, and recognize that there can be more there than meets the eye.”
—Alexa Meade, from her TED Talk, “You Body is My Canvas.” Meade is an artist who paints on living subjects. She takes a three-dimensional creation and makes it appear as two-dimensional by collapsing depth and making her models appear flat.