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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A Farewell to Agamemnon from Clytemnestra

Several year ago, I wrote a Greek myth, historical fiction Nanowrimo novel about Clytemnestra, the twin sister to Helen of Troy called Betrayed. Recently I’ve come back to it and have been revising it — and I have to say that I’m having a lot of fun. There are parts of this novel that I think are fantastic. Of course, there are other parts that still need work, but I’m getting there.

I’ve also been going over some poetry I wrote awhile ago and, funnily enough, came across this one about Clytemnestra. It’s not too bad, so thought I’d share it here.

Murder of Agamemnon, painting by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin.

A Farewell to Agamemnon from Clytemnestra

“Farewell,”

I say to Agamemnon, my husband,

Who today returned home,

Victorious,

From the Trojan War.

Tonight the victory is mine.

His eyes grow wide, he sits up,

Sloshing water from the tub.

I throw the net over his naked body,

And watch him struggle,

A fly in a web.

The knife at his throat

Stops his fight.

“Why?” he gasps,

Like he really doesn’t know.

I laugh.

“To gain a kingdom,

You ravaged me on the night you made me

A childless widow.

You shredded my life with your knife.

But that wasn’t enough for you.

Hate festered when

You traded a ten year battle

Leading the thousand ships,

To return Helen, my beautiful, fickle sister,

To the husband who couldn’t keep her

In the first place,

For the life of our daughter.

Iphigenia was an innocent sacrifice.

Though you have blood on your hands,

I sacrifice you to Nemesis,

The goddess of revenge.”

I look up and meet the eyes of my lover,

The usurper, Aegisthus,

And pull the knife across my husband’s throat.

“Farewell.”

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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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Summer Newsletter & Sale

Hello Everyone,

I know it’s been a little while, but the end of the school year caught up with me. I was also getting ready to sell my book and some felting I’ve been working on at our local Art in the Park — an annual event here in Kamloops on Canada Day. It was super fun. Here’s a picture from my booth.

Working on Betrayed

As much as I love Antigone, I am finding that I need a break from her, so I am going to spend the next little while working on another novel I have in the works called Betrayed (working title). This one is most definitely aimed at adults and is about Clytemnestra, who is the sister of Helen of Troy and was married to Agamemnon (the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War). She’s an interesting character who is villianized in most of ancient literature because she took a consort while her husband was away at the Trojan War, then killed him upon his return. But, she does have her reasons… Her story has a lot of fantastic avenues to explore. Read more

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