New Writing Practice

Yesterday, as I was scanning my Facebook feed, I found this article called How to Write Your Best Story Ever With One Epic Exercise by Jennifer Manuel.  My curiosity was piqued, and I have to say the article really resonated with me. Basically, she advocates finding a book you enjoy or admire the writing of and copy it out by hand every day before your other writing.

By Unknown – Original: Blades, William: Pentateuch of Printing with a Chapter on Judges (1891)

The idea fascinates me. I’ve always thought about how painters learn to paint by copying the masters, but I had never thought to apply this to writing beyond reading good writers. It makes so much sense to me to physically copy out other author’s writing in order to learn from it. It slows us down and makes us pay attention.

And, Manuel sites a tradition of authors copying out other writers to learn their craft, from Robert Louis Stephenson to Benjamin Franklin.

Manuel said that she has been copywriting for a year and has seen stunning results — and has written the best story of her life during this time. I highly suggest visitng Manuel’s page (click on the link in the first paragraph) as she lays out three different ways of practicing copywriting.

So, I’m going to give it a go.  I also have had trouble lately getting into the creative flow, so I am hoping that copywriting will help by getting my brain gently into writing mode. Even if I have writer’s block, I can still do something towards my writing, which I love.

I’m going to start with one of Thoreau’s essays from Walden because I think he has interesting sentence structure. I started today and found the exercise soothing and meditative. I’ll keep you updated.

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Book Review: Writing the Natural Way

Writing the Natural Way: Turn the Task of Writing into the Joy of Writing

For those who yearn to write but falter at the sight of a blank page, the unique, student-proven techniques in Writing the Natural Way will help unlock natural writing style and storytelling abilities. First published in 1983, this popular classic has been revised with five completely new chapters and a wealth of field-tested exercises. Since 1973, Dr. Gabriele Rico has pioneered a dramatically different approach to writing that releases creative potential by tapping a rarely accessed part of the brain. Writing easily, meaningfully, and spontaneously is a simple matter of flowing with, rather than resisting, the mind’s natural cooperative rhythms. By abolishing formal rules and quelling the painful inner critic, Writing the Natural Way helps writers of all levels acquire the spontaneity and ease of uninhibited self-expression.
Review:
I absolutely love this book. I’ve actually had it for years and have dabbled with it off and on, always finding the exercises useful, but recently decided to read it cover to cover and do the exercises at the same time. I really enjoyed it and found something useful in every chapter, and even ended up with some decent work. More importantly, I kept my creative juices flowing.
Rico bases her work on right and left brain differences, what she calls Sign and Design mind. She uses a process called clustering to access that part of the brain that sees patterns and to (temporarily) bypass the internal editor in order to get ideas down on paper. She is a proponent of playing while writing and trying to re-discover that child-like wonder that many of us have forgotten.
For me, this is a wonderful approach, as I like to get my ideas down, get the words on the paper, play with words, and then edit it later. I found myself often coming full circle and making interesting, just like she said natural writing often does. And most of the exercises take 5 minutes or less.
I highly recommend this book for new and experienced writers. Rico’s approach is fun and easy — deceptively so, teaching us to trust ourselves and our brains to make connections and write from a natural place. As she illustrates in her book, this method works for both children and adults. If you are a writer and have ever experienced writer’s block, don’t know where to begin, or are looking to explore your creativity, I highly recommend checking out this book.

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Spring Writing Newsletter & Free Ebook

Hello Everyone,

I am sorry for my long absence, but I am happy to be back now. As many of you know, I experience mental illness and this last year has been a bit rough; however things are looking up.

International Woman’s Day & Free Book
March 8th is International Woman’s Day!!! How great is that? I was trying to find a way to celebrate and wanted to offer my book, Prophecy, for free that day. In the synchronicity of the universe, I received an email yesterday from Smashwords about an opportunity to enroll my book in a one week sale from March 5-March 11 for Read an Ebook Week! So, now, to receive a FREE ecopy of Prophecy in the format of your choice, all you have to do is go to Smashwords and use this coupon code: SFREE and it’s yours — and Prophecy has a fun, strong, stand up for herself heroine, perfect for International Woman’s Day. There are also hundreds of other books on sale or free this week, so it’s a good time to check them out. If you don’t have a Smashwords account, it’s easy and free to get one. And, if do get a book, please pay it forward and leave a review. Also, feel free to share this with friends.

What I’m Working on Now & Kickstarter Campaign
Currently, I’m working on my historical/mythological fiction called Betrayed, which is the story of Clytemnestra (Helen of Troy’s twin sister). Clytemnestra has been villianized throughout history, so I am telling her side of the story, getting behind her famous murder of her husband. This book is definitely not YA oriented and I’m enjoying the change of pace.

I’ve decided to do a Kickstarter for Betrayed in the upcoming months and am planning to publish it this fall — I am finalizing the details and am working on some fun rewards, and will let you all know when it’s ready. I need a bit of help for editing and production costs. Wait until you see the cover that a friend of mine designed. It is simply stunning, I mean, really beautiful. I have no other word for it. It’s not quite finished, but I’ll reveal it when it’s ready. The image above isn’t the cover, but isn’t it an amazing painting of Clytemnestra with her knife after murdering her husband?

What I’m Reading
Right now, I’m immersed in the short stories of Ray Bradbury. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read them! I knew he was a master storyteller, but these are timeless. I’m being whisked away to the future and other worlds and am loving it.

However, I’m always on the lookout for new books to read. In the spirit of International Woman’s Day, does anyone have any recommendations for books with amazing heroines? I can easily recommend the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore.

The snow is melting in my corner of the world and it looks like the tulips might even come up soon. I hope everyone is enjoying some nice sunshine and spring weather.

Coreena

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Zeus

I’ve been working hard on getting healthier, and one of the things I’ve been doing is reading Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Rico, as well as doing the exercises. I highly recommend this book, by the way — lots of deceptively simple exercises and information about how the brain works. I thought it would be fun to start sharing some of these poems here on my blog.

Today I wrote a poem following the structure of another poem, in this case, Portrait VIII by e.e. cummings. His poem was about Buffalo Bill. I’ve chosen Zeus from ancient Greek myth.

Zeus

 

Zeus is

     king

     who can take any form

     to seduce whoever strikes his

          fancy

     and wield onetwothreefourfive thunderbolts

          justlikethat

     By the gods!

he was powerful

          once

          sitting on his throne in Olympus

               governing all

but where is he

Now?

 

 

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